What is the Marine Equipment Directive (MED / "Wheelmark") ?

The Marine Equipment Directive (MED) is aimed at ensuring that equipment which has to meet the requirements of international conventions (e.g., SOLAS, MARPOL, etc.) agreed at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), additionally meets a common standard of safety and performance. Conformity assessment is through a Notified Body, such as BIS, BV, DNV, LR,  etc., and the compliance mark is the Ship’s Wheel. It also ensures that certificates issued by European Union member states, or on their behalf by notified bodies, are acceptable to each member state through the harmonisation of their approval requirements.


– The directive:

– improves safety at sea;

– prevents marine pollution;

– ensures international safety standards for equipment on EU ships are interpreted in the same way across the EU.

It imposes extra conditions on the national authorities responsible for certifying equipment on ships flying their flag (under international conventions) when issuing, endorsing or renewing certificates.


– The directive applies to all ships flying an EU flag, whether or not the vessel was in the EU when the equipment was fitted.

– Equipment that meets the safety standards is stamped with a certification mark (the ‘wheel mark’).

– Alternatively (instead of the wheel mark), equipment manufacturers may attach an electronic tag to their products. This should make it easier to prevent counterfeiting and to monitor the market.

– Manufacturers must keep all technical documentation for at least 10 years after the initial approval of the equipment is given.

– If national authorities believe any equipment covered by the legislation presents a risk to maritime safety, people’s health or the environment, or if it does not comply with the legislation, its supplier must withdraw it.


International maritime safety conventions require countries to ensure that the equipment on ships sailing under their flag meet certain design, construction and performance standards.
However, countries are given a significant degree of discretion in how they do this, which can lead to varying levels of safety and could disrupt the free flow of goods across the EU.
By implementing standardised EU certification rules, these problems are avoided and the single market works as it was designed to.

On 23rd July 2014 the European Union (EU) published the new directive on marine equipment 2014/90/EU that repealed directive 96/98/EC with effect from 18th September 2016

Source: The European Union publications website: