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:
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.
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.
Part 1 of the IPV Code covers situations where a sailing or motor vessel, which is normally used or intended to be used within the definition of a Pleasure Vessel, is in temporary commercial use on a single-voyage basis for business purposes relating to sale, repair, post-production/post-repair/mid-survey sea trials, equipment sea trials, customer sea trials, or vessel delivery for use in connection with that business purpose. Certificated under the IPV Code it may be used by the vessel Owner, Manufacturer, broker, surveyor, repairer, Delivery Company, or Equipment Service Provider.
Part 1 of the IPV Code is only applicable to a sailing or motor vessel normally in use for navigation; it is not applicable to any other type of boat, craft or vessel (e.g. rowing boats, windsurfing boards and kite-surfing boards).
The purpose of the IPV Code is to provide a proportionate and appropriate level of safety for the temporary use of the vessel outside the definition of a pleasure vessel without affecting the construction of the vessel or putting the operator under undue burdens.
This is mostly done through a self-declaration arrangement but in some circumstances an audit by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is required.
Although Part 1 of the IPV Code is applicable to IPV of any size, the voyage must be within 60 miles of a safe haven and within UK territorial waters (except in cases of force majeure) and it must be temporary (defined in the Code as lasting only for a short time; not permanent). The equipment carried on board should as far as possible be minimised to just the equipment necessary for the IPV Voyage; the IPV should not be used for transport of cargo including for example marketing hardware.
Part 1 of the IPV Code is not applicable if the vessel is normally used outside the definition of a pleasure vessel or it is already certified to Part 2 of the IPV Code or to any other Code of Practice. There are alternative arrangements in place for such vessels e.g. single-voyage Load Line Exemption(s) / certification to an alternative Code of Practice.
The IPV Code is only applicable at sea. If a vessel is being used in categorised waters you should seek advice from nearest MCA Marine Office or the responsible local authority.
Before each IPV voyage all parties must agree who the Owner and Operator are for the purpose of the IPV Code.
The General requirements for compliance with Part 1 of the IPV Code can be found in section 5 of the Code; there are obligations for the Owner, the Operator and the Master of the vessel. Section 6 of Part 1 of the Code details the conditions of compliance.
The Part 1 of the IPV Code should be read in conjunction with MGN 597.
Part 2 of the IPV Code covers situations where a sailing or motor vessel, which is normally used or intended to be used within the definition of a Pleasure Vessel, is in temporary commercial use on a single-voyage basis at sea as a Race Support Boat for the purpose of Race Support Activities affiliated to the National Governing Body of the Sport.
Part 2 of the IPV Code is only applicable to a sailing or motor vessel of not more than 15m in length normally in use for navigation; it is not applicable to any other type of boat, craft or vessel (e.g. rowing boats, windsurfing boards and kite-surfing boards). It is also not applicable to: a vessel carrying passengers or carrying more than 10 people; if the use of vessel falls within Part 1 of the IPV Code; if the vessel is on an international voyage or if it is operating from or within the waters of a state other than the UK; or if the vessel is being used in categorised waters. If Part 2 of the IPV Code is not applicable there are alternative arrangements in place such as single-voyage Load Line Exemption(s) or certification to an alternative Code of Practice.
For the purposes of Part 2 of the IPV Code, Single-voyage Basis means one Race Event. Self-declaration under Part 2 of the IPV Code can be used for use of a vessel outside the definition of a Pleasure Vessel for up to 10 Race Events per calendar year; a Race Event is a series of races held over no more than 7 consecutive days.
The Race Support Activity may only take place in daylight and in favourable weather, at sea within 3 miles from the Nominated Departure Point named in the Certificates and never more than 3 miles from land. Favourable weather for the purpose of the IPV Code is defined in the Code.
Race Support Activities which can be self-certificated under Part 2 of the IPV Code must come within the following descriptions:
a) transition to the Race Course Area(s) as defined by the Notice of Race, and
b) movements as directed by the Race Committee as defined by the Notice of Race.
The sorts of activities included within limb (b) above are set out in paragraph 2.27 of the IPV Code.
The purpose of the IPV Code is to provide proportional and appropriate level of safety for this temporary activity outside the definition of a Pleasure Vessel. If the vessel’s use is outside the scope of the IPV Code and outside the definition of a Pleasure Vessel it must be certificated to an appropriate alternative Code of Practice.
The responsibility for equipping and maintaining the vessels in accordance with IPV Code Part 2 lies with the user of the vessel (termed the “Operator”). For vessels operating under IPV Code Part 2 this is likely to be the club organising the racing.
The Owner of the vessel is responsible for ensuring that the Operator has a Safety Management System in place in order as required if the merchant Shipping Regulations are to be disapplied through compliance with Part 2 of the IPV Code. Part 2 of the IPV Code also sets Conditions of Compliance including (but not limited to) radio and navigation safety, bilge pumping, fire safety, life-saving (including setting a minimum level for the carriage of life-saving appliances), construction and machinery, load line, clean seas and manning. A Self-declaration Certificate confirms that the Operator has complied with the terms and conditions of Part 2 of the IPV Code. The Operator makes a declaration that they will use vessels safely and the vessel Owner declares it is content for Operator to use vessel. The Self-declaration Certificate should be signed by the Owner and the Operator, displayed on board during the voyage (or on open vessels stored in a dry bag) and must be retained by operator for minimum of 5 years.
The Code places responsibility for due diligence to check that the Operator complies with Part 2 of this Code of Practice on both the Owner and the Master who are also responsible for making sure that the Operator has complied with the requirements of the IPV Code (see MGN 598 paragraph 1.19).