MCA Codes of Practice
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Codes of Practice for Small Commercial Vessels (SCV) is your guarantee that the boat is sound, well found and equipped with the appropriate safety gear, all in working order. But what does all this mean?
Get your charter or commercially operated craft certificated by the RYA
and you could save yourself money.
The RYA is one of a number of organisations approved by the MCA as an
SCV Certification Authority and already administers the examination and
periodic inspection of approximately 800
boats. The requirements of the Codes for vessels up to 24 metres in length was harmonised into one Code in 2003 and is known as MGN 280, which can be
viewed on the MCA's website, through the link at
the side of this page. The code requires each boat, to be assessed for
its stability and to undergo a full, out-of-the water
survey, in water survey and a check of its safety equipment prior to
The cost of a simple SCV stability assessment by the RYA starts at £40 per boat when
applied for . A full out-of-the-water survey and check of safety
equipment covers the structural soundness of the hull, deck, appendages and
rig, plus an inspection of machinery, fuel, gas, electrical and steering
installations. All the safety equipment specified by the Code is checked to
ensure it meets the required minimum standard and has been correctly
maintained. This includes fire prevention and fighting equipment and life
saving appliances such as lifejackets, liferafts, etc. Again the cost of
undertaking this through the RYA is very competitive.
For boats in the UK the RYA charges just £48 per metre length - less
than that charged elsewhere. Once the stability assessment is complete and an
RYA Examiner has signed off everything included in the survey and checks; the
RYA will issue the boat with a stability certificate and full SCV Code
certificate, valid for one year. Thereafter, each year the boat will need to
undergo a visual inspection afloat, primarily of its equipment. Dependent on
the boats area of usage (inshore, offshore, ocean etc) these inspections are
carried out either by the owner declaring conformity to the RYA, or by an RYA
Inspector. Whatever the case, every boat has to be inspected by an RYA
Inspector at least once during its first three years of operation, and be
completely resurveyed and certificated every five years. Whereas some
Certification Authorities charge an annual certification fee and also ask
owners to pay their inspectors their individual inspection fees, the RYA
combine these two fees into one single annual retention fee. This means that,
with the RYA as their Certification Authority, owners can calculate the exact
cost of retaining their boats certification over the full five-year period.
Other benefits available from the RYA, linked to SCV Certification; are
reduced fees for Tonnage Measurement to facilitate Part I Ships Registration if
this is undertaken at the time of the SCV initial out-of-the-water survey. The
RYA already offers a Tonnage Measurement service at the lowest set fees within
the UK, and with the additional reduction, when undertaken with SCV Coding it
makes the service exceedingly attractive. The RYA will also issue, free of
charge, a nationally approved sail number to any yacht it SCV codes.
So why certificate a boat? If the boat is British and is to be used
commercially at sea it is a requirement that it is SCV Certificated by one of
the MCA Certification Authorities such as the RYA. Commercial use broadly means
engaged in activities on a commercial basis, even if not for payment, carrying
cargo or passengers. Pleasure vessels and club owned boats are excluded from
the scope of the Code. It is also possible to gain some tax relief on
company-owned commercial boats, and it may well be that the savings outweigh
the cost of SCV Certification. Please view our current price lists and forms.
If you require additional information please contact us.
The RYA represents the interests of its members and other boat users
through membership of the MCA Working Groups drafting and maintaining the above
Codes. Should a member have a specific comment or wish a point raised to the
MCA in respect of the Codes, then they should contact us. From time to time
articles concerning this aspect of RYA work are published in RYA journals, RYA
Magazine or Briefing, and through this part of the RYA website.
Article Published: May 22, 2009 11:04
Article Updated: September 03, 2013 9:48