European Union Amendment Threatens UK Boating

Issue date: 1st November 2012

What was looking like an innocuous directive to harmonise standards between boat designers in the EU and to standardise and simplify safety arrangements has developed into a potentially huge issue for boaters throughout the EU but particularly in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

An amendment by a Dutch MEP at the tenth draft stage has introduced a request that a further directive be developed  because:

"There is no harmonisation or level playing field with regard to water craft licences or technical checks, and tax evasion can still take place through the use of agricultural diesel. Therefore the Commission should consider submitting proposals to harmonise water craft licences at Union level, to encourage regular technical checks and to prevent tax evasion by discouraging the use of agricultural diesel."

This amendment if unchallenged would have major implications for all UK boaters as it introduces the idea of compulsory driving-type licences for boaters, the potential for more and wide ranging compulsory checks on boats and yet again threatens the supply of red diesel which could lead to problems maintaining waterside fuel supplies in extreme cases.  All of this could limit access to boating, prevent current boaters going boating or using their boat and add to the general cost of boating.

The internal market coordination committee Rapporteur is, perhaps ironically, a UK MEP Malcolm Harbour (Cons) West Midlands.

IWA is arranging high level contact with both the Rapporteur and also UK Government on this matter to raise our concerns and see if we can avoid this matter proceeding any further.

The danger, if ignored, is that it will fall in to the bureaucratic process of the EU and end up as a draft Directive by which time it will be too late to do anything about it.

IWA campaigns team is asking all concerned waterways supporters to lend their weight to the campaign.

Please write to your own MEP and as a ‘constituent‘ let them know of your concern and ask that your MEP in turn write to the Rapporteur and take the issue up with him.

You can find out who your MEP is here www.writetothem.com and write directly to them.

Supporters will notice that the link may list several MEPs – in which case please feel free to write to all of them as all of them represent your constituency.

If you wish to use a template for the basis of your letter please feel free to use or adapt this form of words.

Dear ( insert your MEP’s name ),


Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on recreational craft and personal watercraft
(COM(2011)0456 – C7-0212/2011 – 2011/0197(COD))
Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection


I am writing to you as a concerned constituent and as a supporter of  the  Inland Waterways Association. We are a campaign charity and the leading representative for Inland Waterway users in the UK. 


I am aware that  there is a new  version of this draft , I am very concerned to learn that at this late stage an MEP has made the addition of:

Recital 26a ( new)


‘There is no harmonisation or level playing field with regard to watercraft licences or technical checks, and tax evasion can still take place through the use of agricultural diesel. Therefore the Commission should consider submitting proposals to harmonise watercraft licences at Union level, to encourage regular technical checks and to prevent tax evasion by discouraging the use of agricultural diesel.’

I believe that this has absolutely nothing to do with laying down essential safety requirements that manufacturers need to consider and follow, and would cause potentially limitless and unnecessary administrative and cost problems for the millions of  yachtsmen and  boaters in the UK and on the continent, as well as being to the detriment of the very successful UK leisure and hire boat industry .


Can you help me understand how and why these additions have been made and what if anything you as my MEP can do to help remove this clause?

Yours…