American Sports Boats
American boats have always been cheaper in the US than Europe but with the current low dollar, there has never been more boats crossing the Atlantic. For the most part, the imports are used sports boats.
Grey Imports are perfectly legal provided the official inspections and the documentation are carried out correctly. This means making sure your boat is certified for CE Marking as well as paying VAT and Import Duty. It is widely known that you can ‘grey’ import a car for instance but before you can register it you have to have various checks carried out. It is not that different for boats. Remember that a grey import simply means it has not been routed through an officially appointed dealer or distributor.
If a boat is not certified for CE Marking when it should be, it is no longer a grey import, it is quite simply illegal. If you put an illegally imported boat into service or on the market within the EU you are committing a criminal offence with the maximum penalty being a £5000 fine and / or 3 months in prison. In some countries you run the additional risk that the boat will be impounded until CE Marking is carried out.
The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) has been in operation since the 16th June 1998, but on the 1st January 2006, amendments to the Directive came into force. There are now specific rules about how CE Marking is to be carried out on existing and second-hand boats and now there is the need to obtain a report from a verification organisation known as a Notified Body. Additionally the boat must comply with new limits on noise levels and engine emissions. The effect of these changes is already leading to an increased level of surveillance from the industry itself and the regulators. Remember, if you break the law, you could end up with a criminal record. This is very different from paying a civil penalty like a parking fine.
Regardless of the legal implications, it makes a great deal of sense to have CE Marking, because without it, your asset is seriously devalued. More and more people are finding out that they have a boat that they cannot sell through a broker or dealer when they try to trade up. Many unsuspecting private buyers have landed themselves with a problem by accepting an illegal boat. Don’t be one of these people.
How do I know if I need CE Marking?
Get good advice and do your homework. Answer the following questions:
o Does the boat already have CE Marking? (It only ever needs doing once).
o Is the boat less than 8ft (2.5m) long?
o Is the boat designed and used exclusively for racing?
o Is the boat a hydrofoil, submarine or a hovercraft?
o Is the boat a one-off or individual replica designed before 1950?
o Was the boat in the EU / EEA before 16th June 1998?
If the answer to all the above questions is No you need CE Marking. You can see that the age of the boat only makes any difference if it was designed before 1950. Any other advice is not accurate.
6 Steps to CE Marking an ASB
1. To find if your boat qualifies as an ASB, does it have ALL of the following parameters?
* Hull length between 2.5m and 9m (8’ 2” and 29’ 6”)
* Glass Fibre construction (GRP)
* Hard Chine hull
* Powered by sterndrive(s) or outboard(s)
* Design Category C or D
* Built or re-engined in 1996 or later
If your boat has all of these characteristics, then it qualifies as an ASB and we can process your boat with standard procedures and at pre-set prices and you can move on to step 2.
If any of the above characteristics do not apply to your boat, contact us for advice and a price.
2. Refer to the ASB table below*
|Boat Length (ft)
||Boat Length (metres)
|Bow Rider & Cuddy
||2.5 up to 12.0m
||Price on request
||Up to 12.0m
||Price on request
Trade discounts are available. Please contact us.
4. By law, each boat has to be individually inspected so we come along make sure that your boat is a standard production model. We make a list of any items that might need to be added or modified in order to meet the requirements of the RCD. It is your responsibility to make the necessary changes and advise us when they have been done. To save the costs of a second visit we ask you to send us copies of invoices and photographs as evidence that the work has been done. You will also be signing a note to confirm this.
Our experience shows that the modifications are usually very simple to carry out. The most likely non-conformities are:
* Reduction in maximum number of persons allowed to be carried (Crew Limit)
* Extra manually operated or portable bilge pump
* Fire extinguishers
* Fuel filler inscription changed from Gas to Petrol
* Non return valves to discharge hoses
* Additional labelling
5. We will then collect the second payment together with any travel charges that have been agreed. Within 7 working days of receiving the final payment we will send your new Certificate of Conformity, Owners Manual, Declaration of Conformity and CE Marking plate. You are now legal and free to have the boat in service or to sell it anywhere in Europe.
6. Relax and enjoy your boat:
* We have looked after all the requirements of the Notified Body
* The new rules for Sound and Emissions have been covered in our documentation
* The CEproof logo is recognised worldwide as a sign of high quality certification