The Brexit transition period will come to an end on 31 December. After this date, EU legislation will cease to apply in the UK. Although the new EU-UK relationship will depend on the agreement reached (if any), stakeholders in the boating industry will be affected in any case and should therefore be ready. Northern Ireland will remain within a special situation, staying in the EU Single Market. A notice for boating industry stakeholders on the legal changes resulting from Brexit is provided by the European Commission on this document.
Legal framework for recreational craft
The EU Recreational Craft Directive 2013/53, which sets out requirements for craft, was transferred into UK law as the Recreational Craft Regulations 2017, which mirrors the EU Directive while making necessary wording changes (e.g. removing references to EU bodies and replacing them with UK ones). The full text of the UK’s Recreational Craft Regulations 2017 can be found here, while a guiding document to help businesses that intend to place craft in the UK market (except Northern Ireland) can be found here.
Standardisation and conformity
EU harmonised standards for recreational craft (and for other products), which must be followed by businesses to conform with EU law, will remain unchanged in the UK after 31 December, although they will be now called “designated standards”. Designated standards for recreational craft are published here by the UK Government.
Under the UK’s new conformity assessment framework, notified bodies that are based in the UK will become “approved bodies” without the need to seek re-accreditation, and will be able to assess products for the UK market (notwithstanding Northern Ireland). The list of UK approved bodies can be found here. EU-based notified bodies have to apply for the same status and according to RSG two EU-based notified bodies have applied for the status of “approved bodies”.
In addition, the general rule will be that CE certificates will remain valid in the UK until the end of 2021. From 1 January 2022, CE-marked goods will have to obtain a UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) marking to be placed in the UK market (notwithstanding Northern Ireland, where either the CE marking or the new UKNI marking will be valid). Please check here for detailed information and the specific application.
Manufacturers Identity Code
After 31 December, boat builders will have to register their Manufacturers Identity Code (MIC) on the UK register in order to place vessels on the British market if using the UKCA mark. It is advisable to do so in any case. The UK’s MIC register is managed by British Marine, on behalf of the Department of Business, Innovation and Industrial Strategy. To register a new MIC with British Marine, or to find out the manufacturer associated with a specific MIC, follow this link.
At the same time, vessels with a UK-based MIC can no longer be placed on the EU market, and hence affected manufacturers must obtain a new code from an EU Member State authority.
Tariffs and trade
After 31 December, there will be border requirements placed on the movement of goods between the EU and UK, and businesses importing or exporting goods will have to file customs declarations. In addition, business may need to provide security and safety data.
On top of that, if no trade agreement is reached between the EU and the UK, the UK Global Tariff will replace the EU Common External Tariff for goods entering the UK from the EU. The UK Global Tariff rates can be checked here. Likewise, tariffs will apply to goods moving from the UK into the EU.
There will be no changes regarding the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and EU Member States. For UK businesses trading with Northern Ireland, the necessary information can be found here.
On this page from the European Commission you can find information on getting ready for the end of the transition period, including a comprehensive Commission communication on changes after 31 December, as well as various sectoral guidance notes (on areas such as not only recreational craft, but also chemicals, consumer protection, competition, industrial products, inland waterways, maritime transport or VAT, among others). In addition, this checklist for businesses produced by the Commission also explains how to get ready for the end of the transition period. The UK Government provides information about the end of the transition on this page. Specifically, you can find guidance for EU businesses trading with the UK after 31 December on here.