EBI's positions

This section provides the position of European Boating Industry on a number of key issue areas.


Environmental Sustainability:

  • Maintaining healthy marine ecosystems is crucial to the recreational boating industry.
  • Fibre-reinforced polymer, which most recreational boats are made of, is hard to recycle. The sector's circularity should be enhanced by improving recycling technologies for these materials, researching new materials, and cooperating with other sectors that use the same materials.
  • The impact of anchoring on the seabed (including on seagrass) should be addressed by raising awareness and rolling out eco-friendly mooring solutions.
  • To reduce exhaust emissions, electric and hybrid engines should be introduced.
  • Sustainable anti-fouling management must be extended to prevent the transfer of invasive species through boat hulls.
  • Efforts should be made to minimise marine pollution.
  • Awareness-raising on the environmental impacts of marine activities is key.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on Environmental Sustainability

EBI responses to European Commission consultations:


Nautical Tourism in the Blue Economy:

  • The nautical tourism sector relies on a stable and favourable regulatory and policy framework.
  • Nautical tourism services are often SMEs that are unable to sustain the necessary investment in research and innovation, which is why EU funding should help address this investment gap.
  • Skipper qualifications should be mutually recognised across the EU, to help them enjoy freedom of movement and to help charter companies meet their labour needs. Likewise, private boating licenses should be harmonised, to the benefit of consumers.
  • To meet labour demand in the sector, it is important to raise awareness about the potential of a career in nautical tourism and the skills required.
  • Europe should be developed as a nautical tourism destination, harnessing the potential for sustainable tourism of places that are not tourism hotspots.
  • Boat moorings should be subject to reduced VAT rates.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on Nautical Tourism in the Blue Economy


Single Market and Industrial Policy:

  • The recreational boating industry would benefit from the strengthening and deepening of the Single Market.
  • To address the need that manufacturing and services companies have for skilled employees, opportunities for a career in the blue economy should be promoted.
  • Skipper qualifications should be mutually recognised across the EU, to help companies that currently struggle to find skilled staff.
  • Private boating licenses should be harmonised (or the International Certificate of Competence should be accepted in all member states), so that consumers can practice boating or water sports outside their country.
  • The EU and the member states should ensure effective market surveillance for the Recreational Craft Directive, to ensure safety and consumer protection, and to prevent distortion in the Single Market.
  • The European Standardisation System should speed up the publication of harmonised standards and improve its regularity, to make planning easier for companies.
  • The sector's SMEs have difficulties accessing finance and investing in research and innovation. The various EU funds have a key role to play in bridging this gap.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on Single Market and Industrial Policy

EBI responses to European Commission consultations: Standardisation strategy.


International Trade:

  • EU tariffs on US goods that affect the boating industry should be eliminated, to prevent threats to growth, jobs and innovation.
  • Technical barriers between the EU and its trading partners should be reduced through closer alignment of standards (e.g. mutual recognition of conformity assessments of recreational boats).
  • The EU-UK trade relationship should be based on zero tariffs and quotas, close regulatory alignment, and a level playing field.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on International Trade



  • Annex III of the VAT Directive 2006/112, which lists items on which member states can apply reduced VAT, does not include marinas, resulting in an unbalanced playing field in tourism. This should be addressed so that marinas enjoy reduced VAT rates.
  • For recreational boats that are sold several times throughout their lifetime, VAT should only be paid on the original first-hand purchase. However, if the original invoice is lost or it is not possible to obtain the required certificate, consumers will be obliged to pay VAT on their purchase of a second-hand boat, if required by the authorities (especially if in a new country). This should be addressed.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on VAT