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The Code of Practice for Intended Pleasure Vessels in Temporary Commercial Use at Sea (IPV Code).

The Merchant Shipping Regulations generally consider a vessel to be “commercial” if it is used ‘not as a Pleasure Vessel’. Therefore, if a vessel is operated outside the definition of a Pleasure Vessel it must comply with the requirements for commercial vessels. Until 1 January 2019, vessels used commercially at sea needed to be examined and certificated in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Regulations or to an alternative Code of Practice.

The IPV Code was introduced on 1 January 2019. It allows vessels which are normally used within the definition of a pleasure vessel to be used commercially at sea temporarily, on a self-certification basis subject to certain conditions being met. The IPV Code disapplies the relevant Merchant Shipping Regulations in the circumstances specified in the Code.

For the Code to be applicable the vessel must be in temporary commercial use on a single-voyage basis. The requirements specified by the Code vary depending on what type of temporary commercial use the single-voyage involves, as follows:

  • Part 1 of the Code deals with vessels used by vessel Owners, Manufacturers, brokers, surveyors, repairers, Delivery Companies or Equipment Service Providers contracted for business purposes. For the Code to be applicable the business purpose must relate to sale, repair, post-production/post-repair/mid-survey sea trials, equipment sea trials, customer sea trials or vessel delivery outside the definition of a pleasure vessel.
  • Part 2 of the Code is applicable to vessels which are in temporary commercial use at sea on a single-voyage basis as a Race Support Boat for the purpose of Race Support Activities at sea affiliated to the National Governing Body of the Sport.

As a result, the IPV Code has different definitions for an Intended Pleasure Vessel for Part 1 and Part 2 of the IPV Code. Race Support Activities are defined in the IPV Code.

If the use of a vessel is outside the definition of a pleasure vessel and outside the scope of the IPV Code, the relevant commercial regulations apply.

Official documents: IPV Code, MGN 597, MGN 598
RYA explanation on Part 1 of the IPV Code
RYA explanation on Part 2 of the IPV Code

The IPV Code is only applicable for vessels going to sea and does not apply to a vessel in a harbour or marina, inland waterways or categorised waters. 

When reading the IPV Code careful attention should be given to the definitions in the document which clarify what is meant by certain words for the purpose of the IPV Code, for example, length, gross tonnage, single voyage basis, should, favourable weather etc.

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