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Marine Navigation Act 2013 

RYA secured an appropriate safeguard to protect harbour users.

The Marine Navigation Act extended harbour authorities’ power to create criminal offences through Harbour Directions without making that power subject to the statutory safeguards, checks or balances which are normally applied to law-making bodies.

Without any form of appropriate safeguard, a harbour authority would have the power to introduce a regulation that users of that harbour (including recreational boaters) would have no right to challenge.

The RYA sought to achieve

  • A form of check and balance to govern the exercise of the power through Harbour Directions by individual harbour authorities
  • A practical framework for the review of inappropriate and unjustified directions.

Particularly since the failure to comply with a harbour direction is a criminal offence.

The RYA successfully

The Code will provide harbour users with a means of challenging proposed Harbour Directions through a local Port User Group. All harbour authorities seeking powers under the Act will be expected to abide the Code.

  • Gained assurance from the Shipping Minister that Government will expect any harbour authority applying for designation to have agreed to the Code of Conduct.  

The Code was developed by the RYA with the British Ports Association (BPA), UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) and the UK Chamber of Shipping (UKCoS).

RYA position

It is recognised that harbour authorities need to have the power to manage their harbours but the RYA believes that if designated harbour authorities are granted the power to create new criminal offences in their harbour areas then this power should be subject to appropriate safeguards, checks and balances.


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