- To operate a boat for skippered or bareboat use usually for commercial gain.
- To take people afloat who pay more than a reasonable contribution towards the trip.
- To operate a workboat.
Pleasure or commercial?
When a boat is no longer deemed to be a
‘pleasure vessel’, Merchant Shipping Regulations state that it should
comply with the certification, survey, safety and manning standards laid
down in the Codes of Practice Small Vessels in Commercial Use for Sport
or Pleasure, Workboats and Pilot boats under 24m (known as MGN 280).
When does it apply?
The further a boat operates from a safe haven, the more
risk it is exposed to and the MCA have two definitions of waters;
‘categorised waters’ and ‘at sea’. Categorised waters are areas of
sheltered water such as local harbours, lakes and rivers and are
classified by a letter A-D. In these waters local byelaws may apply as
to the commercial running of the boat. At sea, is any waters beyond
categorised waters and the Area category is denoted by a number; 0-6 and
in these waters MGN 280 applies.
Boat stability is
assessed, usually by calculation, a surveyor checks the boat is
structurally sound and is code compliant.
The boat requires
fitting out and equipping to the standards required in MGN 280. The
boat requires checks by the, skipper, owner, and every few years, a
surveyor. A system to manage safety should be in place.
bareboat chartered, it requires a commercially endorsed skipper and
possibly another crewmember to be on board when it operates
How do I go about it?
Contact an MCA
Certifying Authority such as the RYA. They will send the relevant
information, forms and inform you of their fees.
|The forms required are:
||Application for Examination
|SS1 (Sail) or SMR (Inflatable) or SM1 (Motor)
||Application for Stability Category
How far can I operate?
The distance you are allowed to operate
depends on the boats stability. The first stage of coding is to fill out
an Application for Examination and an Application for Stability
Category Allocation. These should be sent to the RYA. They are analysed
and a Stability Category allocated. There are seven area categories:
- Area Category 6 – To sea, within 3 miles from a nominated departure
point(s) named in the certificate and never more than 3 miles from
land, in favourable weather and daylight.
- Area Category 5 –To
sea, within 20 miles from a nominated departure point named in the
certificate in favourable weather and daylight.
- Area Category 4 – Up to 20 miles from a safe haven, infavourable weather and in daylight.
- Area Category 3 – Up to 20 miles from a safe haven.
- Area Category 2 – Up to 60 miles from a safe haven.
- Area Category 1 – Up to 150 miles from a safe haven.
- Area Category 0 – Unrestricted service.
The area reflected in the Allocated Stability Category is the maximum
distance it can operate commercially. For instance, often a RIB will be
lucky to get Cat 3, whilst a yacht may get Cat 0, but an owner may only
choose to operate and equip the boat for Cat 2 waters.
What about the equipment?
Once a Stability Category has been
allocated you will know how far you can use the boat. The equipment and
manning levels increase the further offshore the boat operates. General
equipment and fit-out requirements stated in MGN 280 refer to all
commercial boats. There are also specific vessel requirements, such as
power or sail and vessels operating in higher categories require more
equipment and more stringent design. The SCV2 Document of Compliance is
filled in by you when equipping the boat.
Survey and certification
A Certifying Authority (CA) surveyor will
arrange to inspect the boat using your SCV2. Following successful
survey, certificates are issued to the owner and copies of the
certification and code paperwork should be carried on-board.
compliance certificates are valid for five years. Annual, intermediate
and renewal surveys are required to keep the vessel compliant. By and
large, annual surveys often check the vessel against its paperwork;
intermediate surveys are physical checks on the equipment and condition
of the vessel, and renewals are a full inspection including out-of-water
You require operating procedures to ensure that the
vessel operates to within your guidelines and that safety and
maintenance checks are carried out frequently.
When a boat operates commercially it has a manning requirement and
certain certificates of competence are required to operate the boat.
Certificates require to be commercially endorsed which entails a sea
survival certificate, medical and completion of the RYA PPR course.
Pleasure Craft regulations
Commercially endorsed craft
MCA Certifying Authority
Written for the RYA by: Simon Jinks - SeaRegs LLP www.searegs.co.uk
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