A wide body of EU environmental legislation applies to the boating industry and its users. From industrial emissions to the protection of biodiversity, recycling, waste disposal, restrictions on chemicals used in the building process and water quality, all environmental legislation needs to be assessed to determine the appropriate measures to be taken during the manufacturing process, navigation and eventual disposal of boats at their end-of-life.

While recreational boating has a high visibility on lakes and coastal areas, it is not a major source of pollution to the marine environment. Boating accounts for less than 1% of overall pollution affecting the marine environment (compared to almost 80% originating from land-based activities). Boating is dependent on a good marine environmental for users, which is crucual for the boating industry itself. Many national boating industry associations, as well as individual companies, have adopted voluntary programmes with practical measures to prevent pollution and protect the environment.

To find out more about the environmental impact of boating, take a look at the European Confederation of Nautical Industries’ 2009 study, ‘Nautical Activities: What impact on the environment?’.


Our main areas of work include:

Fresh water & marine environment

Adopted in 2000, the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC establishes an integrated, ecosystem-based approach to the protection of water. It applies to all water bodies, including rivers, estuaries, coastal waters, canals and docks. The original target for achieving good status was 2015, but further deadlines are set for 2021 and 2027.

In a similar vein, the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC aims to achieve good environmental status of marine waters in Europe by 2020, whilst also trying to maximise the economic potential of the seas and oceans. The Directive was adopted in 2008 and the areas of interest for the boating industry include marine litter, underwater noise, non-indigenous species introduced by human activities, biodiversity, and human-induced eutrophication.

European Boating Industry is a member of PIANC’s Navigation Task Group on Water Framework Directive & Marine Strategy PIANC LogoFramework Directive. The Navigation Task Group is a thematic cluster of 14 organisations representing a wide variety of commercial and recreational, maritime and inland navigation interests.

To find out more, please visit the PIANC website.

Marine protected areas & the Natura 2000 network

Natura 2000 is a network of nature protected areas, which lies at the heart of the Habitats and Birds Directives. Natura 2000 sites are designated to ensure the survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats and currently cover approximately 20% of Europe’s land area and surrounding seas. Whilst human activities are not completely excluded from Natura 2000 sites, activities are limited to ensure the sustainable use of the area and to safeguard biodiversity. Natura 2000 also covers the marine environment. The development of the Natura 2000 network and its marine component is of interest to the boating industry due to the potential impact on water based recreational activities and navigation.


European Green Deal

The European Green Deal is the strategy of the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral by 2050. It will impact across policy areas, including biodiversity, sustainable industry, sustainable mobility, eliminating pollution and climate action. Given its cross-sectoral approach, the Europea Green Deal will also impact the recreational boating industry. One of the cornerstones of the European Green Deal, will be the development of a "sustainable blue economy". More information can be found here