Most outboard engines feature logos such as ‘EU 2006’ and CARB 2008’ that refer to different engine emission standards. So what do these actually mean to the British consumer?

Most outboard engines feature logos such as ‘EU 2006’ and CARB 2008’ that refer to different engine emission standards. So what do these actually mean to the British consumer?

Recreational craft directive (EU 2006)

Commonly known as the ‘RCD’ or ‘EU 2006’, this European Directive was introduced into the UK in June 1996, becoming mandatory in June 1998. It covers the design and construction of recreational craft measuring between 2.5 and 24 metres in length and was introduced to standardise safety regulations across the EU. It is the only regulation that is obligatory in the UK and EU.

For the purpose of the regulations, craft are split into four categories. They must then be designed and constructed to withstand parameters set out in each category with respect to stability, buoyancy and other essential requirements. Craft must also have good handling characteristics before they are placed on the market in the EU and put into service for use.

Any product within the scope of the RCD must have accompanying documents. These include a technical file, an owner’s manual and where relevant, a written declaration of conformity. The product should also be CE marked, usually on the builder’s plate.

In June 2003, the European Council amended the RCD to include exhaust gas and noise emissions from both inboard and outboard engines, but excluding engines used for racing or commercial purposes. The exhaust requirements take the form of limits of acceptable emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide and, in the case of diesel engines, particulates. The noise emission requirements are presented in terms of maximum acceptable sound pressure levels determined by a pass-by test.

For compression (diesel) and 4-stroke ignition engines, these measures will take full effect from January 1 2006. In the case of 2-stroke engines, they will not be mandatory until January 1 2007. This means that 4-stroke and diesel engines are required to meet the standard a year earlier than 2-strokes. Although most 4-stroke and diesel engines should have little problem meeting the EU 2006 standard, only new technology (direct injection) spark ignition 2-strokes will be capable of meeting the standard. Most of Honda’s outboards already meet the EU 2006 criteria and 100% will be compliant by January 1 2006.

The RCD has no effect on motors in use prior to the implementation of the new standard – these can continue to be used until they fall apart – and doesn’t affect the sale of second hand units. You will also be able to buy an engine banned by the EU2006 standard after 2006. The regulations state that any engine held in stock by EU importers or dealers are exempt, as if they had been sold before the standard was imposed.

For further information visit www.dti.gov.uk/strd/recreat.html

In addition to the EU 2006 directive, a local authority can also impose its own engine regulations. This is especially common on inland waterways and reservoirs.

Bodensee Shipping Regulation Stages 1 and 2

Bodensee or Lake Constance covers 207 square miles along the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Bodensee Shipping Regulations of 1993 and 1998 were introduced to preserve the lake’s water quality by imposing low hydrocarbon and noise levels on recreational marine engines. Although the Bodensee regulations have no jurisdiction in the UK, the standard has been adopted by many engine manufacturers as proof of their environmental credentials. All of Honda’s outboards comply with Bodensee step 1.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2006

The EPA 2006 exhaust emissions regulations are the US equivalents of those that constitute the EU 2006. The EPA’s aim is to reduce hydrocarbon emissions in the US by 75%. As in the EU, conventional 2-strokes cannot meet 2006 standards. All of Honda’s outboards comply with the 2006 EPA regulations, even though EPA has no official standing in the UK.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2008

The California Air Resources Board sets ambient air quality standards for the State of California. Its regulations regarding hydrocarbon and nitrous oxide emissions are the toughest in the world. However, CARB doesn’t legislate regarding carbon monoxide and noise. Although CARB’s official status is only state-wide, many engines promote their compatibility as proof of their environmental credentials. A two star award means an engine complies with CARB’s 2004 standards (20% lower than those of EPA 2006) and therefore boasts “very low emissions”. A three star award means an engine complies with CARB’s 2008 standards (65% lower than those of EPA 2006) and therefore boasts “ultra low emissions”. All of Honda’s outboards comply with CARB 2008, even though the standard has no official status in the UK.

E-spec

‘E-spec’ is a Honda-specific tag that stands for ‘Ecology conscious technology’. It is used to identify those products which adopt the highest levels of environmental technologies developed by Honda. All of Honda’s outboard engines proudly carry the tag ‘E-spec’.