Deceitful CE marking of pontoons
Updated: Sep 22
For those in a hurry:
Contrary to the popular belief pontoons are not to be marked with CE mark according to the EU law. Marking them without a directive specifically asking for it is an offence punishable by law.
I have time to delve deeper:
European Union legislatives are undoubtedly very useful for unifying the law across the member states, therefore simplifying the process for businesses to reach the market as well as allowing customers to purchase anything they need without restrictions. However, such big legislative apparatus in some cases is still too complicated to navigate. Customers in most cases do not have time to get to know the legal requirements for the products or even what is important safety wise when purchasing the goods, therefore EU has introduced markings - namely CE, which force manufacturers to comply with EU legislative, ensuring that a customers receive a safe to use product. Contrary to the popular belief, not all products must be marked with CE mark. One example of those products are pontoon floats.
EU Blue Guide (EU product rules - document: 2016/C 272/01) gives all the most important information on the rules of the CE marking. It emphasizes that only the products that have a corresponding EU directive, must be marked by the CE mark. These products must also follow certain rules on what compliance to standards the parts need to have to be eligible for CE marking. A lot of products sold in the EU fall under these EU directives, such as construction industry products, toys, electronics, medical equipment, pleasure crafts, and many others. Pleasure crafts you say? And what about pontoons? .
All the rules governing pleasure craft building, materials, registration and so on are laid out in EU directive 2013/53/EU. Directive specifies that pleasure crafts must be made following standard or equivalent procedures, to prove safety of the product. As an example couple of the standards that can prove safety of the hull structure are EN ISO 12215-3:2002 (Small craft — Hull construction and scantlings — Part 3: Materials: Steel, aluminium alloys, wood, other materials), ISO 12215-5:2019 (Small craft — Hull construction and scantlings — Part 5: Design pressures for monohulls, design stresses, scantlings determination). Vessels built following relevant standards, could be considered safe and by Blue Guide and EU directive 2013/53/EU requirements should be marked with CE mark.
Our pontoons are compliant to international ISO 12215-3:2002 requirements, therefore a vessel built with our pontoon floats can be marked with CE mark and relevant pleasure craft documentation can be issued, obviously considering that all the other requirements were also met. Although, a vessel built with pontoons can be CE market, that does not mean that pontoons themselves are CE marked, nor that they should be. Such claim and physical mark on the product or its documentation is an offence. The severity of punishment depends on the level of harm done by deceitful marking and can even result in imprisonment. This fact is specifically noted n EU Blue Guide.
Does this prevent some companies claiming that their product is CE marked? Of course not! During our long time in pontoon business we have seen many examples of such practices. Clients get deceived and get lied to, offenders use it as a tactic to get advantage (more on this maybe at some point, stay tuned), the misinformed help spreading the deceit. Seeing all this we feel obliged to try to fix this issue by educating all our clients and anyone who is looking for answers. Don't fall for the lie - be informed.
And now let's look into some examples of other companies claiming their pontoons have CE markings. Please note, the examples are not of Asian origin, but German and Lithuanian companies.
e.g No 1.
Manufacturer form China claims that their products are CE marked based on a standard BS EN 15649-1. This is wrong, the noted standard is for inflatable toys and the claim that pontoon is CE marked is blatant lie. Can you build houseboats with such floats? Doubtful. Also let's not forget that CE mark is for following a directive and not a standard.
e.g No 2. (Added on 2021-03-05)
This picture shows a claim that pontoons are CE marked It also appears that the basis for it - environmental and quality management standards. We have asked this company to remove the claim, they have agreed they were wrong.
e.g No 3.
German manufacturer says all the workboats are DGUV tested, which probably absolutely true, however the claim that all the products are CE marked is questionable. As we already know, pontoons are not CE marked, but this seller says all their products including pontoons are.
e.g No 4. (Added on 2021-03-15)
Not so long ago, a new competitor selling pontoons, floating docs, and platforms arrived on our market. Once again we see a claim of pontoons marked with CE marks.
e.g No 5. (Added on 2021-04-01)
It seems that internet is littered with many companies selling CE marked pontoons. Here is another one from Germany.
We do not agree with such practices. We hope that the client will act as a market controller and would not approve, nor support a business which misinforms.