The type approval thing was bugging me so I got in touch with the VCA, who administer type approval for VOSA and asked. Their response is below-
"I quite understand the confusion regards this matter, I found one such article dated 2012 which was based on advice given at the time by ourselves and the Department for Transport. Subsequent to that our technical interpretation branch (TSG) have issued this guidance (dated February 2013) regards BOAT TRAILERS, as coming under the category of SPECIAL PURPOSE VEHICLES:
The legislation defines an SPV as one with “specific technical features in order to perform a function which requires special arrangements and/or equipment”. Having decided whether a vehicle is an SPV, then the concessions in the SPV Annex are applied. So an SPV could actually have no technical concessions. The legislation does not say that a vehicle can only be Special Purpose if there is something about its special features that prevent it complying with one or more elements of the legislation.
The question is how to interpret “special purpose” in this context and VCA believes that it should mean “not general purpose”.
Typically this will mean vehicles that are designed for a function and need to be wheeled to facilitate convenient transportation, but can also include trailers which are specifically designed to carry one type of load only.
Flat-bed trailers that have attachments for such equipment to be attached but can also carry general loads do not meet these criteria.
TRAILERS - CLASSIFICATION AS SPVs - Y/N
• Boat trailer - Y
In terms of Type Approval, our own website( Trailer Certification
) gives a table which indicates that trailers in the SPECIAL VEHICLE CATEGORY that are NEW TYPES (i.e. a new model not previously manufactured) MUST comply with Type Approval and this came into effect on 29th October 2012, the delayed element that you refer to, relates to trailer types that existed BEFORE 29 October 2012, these must comply with Type Approval on and after 29th October 2014. So the decider here is when was the type first manufactured, if on or after 29th October 2012, it should already have Type Approval, if BEFORE 29th October 2012 then the type does NOT need to comply until 29th October 2014.
The last statement makes it clear in my mind that an existing trailer design still be legally sold and used, up to the end of October this year. From then on, all trailers will need to be approved.
My next question is with regard to swing beam or keel roller. I've currently got keel rollers and bunks, which have trashed the hull so will be going rollers. Swing beams however typically don't have keel rollers and I'n concerned regarding damaging my keel on launch and recovery, on the cross members, as my local slip is rather steep. Has anybody had this problem or am I being paranoid?