Updates to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of Less than 15m Length Overall
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has made important updates to the Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall which came into force on 6th September 2021.
The aim of the Code is to improve safety in the under-15m sector of the fishing industry, and to raise awareness of safety issues with all those involved in the construction, operation and maintenance of such vessels.
It applies to all fishing vessels under 15m in length registered in the UK and sets out the standards to be met before a vessel can join the Register as a commercial fishing vessel, the surveys it must undergo to demonstrate that it meets those standards, and the minimum requirements that vessels are expected to meet to obtain a Small Fishing Vessel Certificate which confirms their compliance with the Code.
The revised Code now includes requirements for both new and existing vessels relating to construction, watertight and weathertight integrity, stability, machinery, electrical installations, crew protection and man overboard recovery.
The changes include a requirement for fishing boats under 15m in overall length to be inspected both in and out of the water every five years. Previously, the requirement was for fishing boats to undergo an inspection in the water when first joining the Register, with follow-up inspections either in or out of the water once every five years.
Vessels will be inspected against all the requirements of the revised Code starting from 6th September 2021. However, each Chapter of the Code identifies requirements to which transitional arrangements apply until 5 September 2023. Where such transitional arrangements apply and where a vessel is inspected before 6th September 2023, it will not be required at that stage to comply with the requirements. However, owners will be expected to provide proof that the vessel is in full compliance with all requirements by 5th September 2023.
For a summary of the key changes under the revised Code go to: MSN 1871 Amendment No. 2 (F) The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)