With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for watersports enthusiasts.
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European rivers, lakes and seas offer plenty of opportunities to practise watersports. Swimming is by far the most popular activity, but you can also dive, surf or sail, or paddle in a canoe or on a stand-up board.
None of these activities would be enjoyable without clean water. Thanks to EU rules, the vast majority of sites in the EU boast good or excellent bathing water quality.
Diving and boating also provide a unique opportunity to enjoy nature and observe marine wildlife such as birds and fish. To preserve this natural heritage, the EU has established the ‘Natura 2000’ network of protected areas that allow for the coexistence of wildlife with human activities.
To have an enjoyable and safe watersports experience, you need the right equipment, from swimwear to boats and paddles. Thanks to the EU internal market, you have a wide choice, as a product available in one EU country can be sold in all the others as well. Furthermore, under EU law, defective products must be repaired or replaced within a legal guarantee period of two years, without cost to the consumer.
When you venture out in a boat or with diving gear, your life and safety depends on the equipment. EU rules require watercraft and personal protective equipment sold in the EU to bear the CE label which shows that they conform to safety standards. For the safe and effective use of watersports equipment, such as life vests, it is essential that you understand the instructions. That is why EU rules require the manual to be available in the language of the country where you buy the equipment.
- European Commission website on bathing water quality, europa.eu/environment/water/water-bathing/
- European Commission website on Natura 2000, europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/
- European Commission website on CE marking, https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/ce-marking_en