...who, as a British citizen, sailed his Baba 30 into his old home town in England
after departing British Columbia
. His experience was the same as any owner of a non-EU boat who might want to sell their boat inside the EU. Instantly, it must comply with the RCD (Recreational Craft Directive). Ian's write-up on this episode was in a fall copy of Yachting Monthly.
The RCD worked exactly as planned, at least in Ian's case: it serves as an import
barrier that prevents non-EU built boats from finding their way onto the EU boat marketplace. The EU folks in Brussels would tell us that the RCD was established for two reasons: to implement a standardized rating system (A thru E) that indicates the intended use to which the boat was built (inland lakes - E; offshore
passagemaking - A), and to create common design and build requirements across the different countries and their very different builders. Ironically, every single
boat everywhere in the EU was automaticalliy grandfathered into this scheme and exempted from having an RCD rating, while the next boat to come along - one like Ian's Baba 30 - must be inspected by an authorized EU inspector, even tho' the standards are not yet finalized. Ian has decided to get an 'E' rating because it's the only one that can be accomplished solely by the owner, and it will eliminate HM Customs threat of fining his thousands of pounds and being thrown in jail.
This episode is a good case study of how the EU works. They believe that the answer to many things, including trade
barriers, is bureaucracy, relying on legislation and the regulatory process. My own impression is that this is one of the main reasons the EU will fail to be a significant world economy despite their increasing size. Coupled with the unsustainability of the wage scales and social programs in the W European countries, which are going to be forced to change, expect a lot of change in most of the EU countries over the next decade...which will only lead to more protectionism, I suspect.