A new code came into force on 1 January 2019 allowing pleasure craft to be in temporary commercial use at sea for a number of defined purposes.

The Intended Pleasure Vessels (IPV) Code, which permits the temporary use of craft at sea for business purposes and as race event support without the current requirement for inspection, marks a huge step forward for the UK’s leisure marine sector.

Long-term benefits

Testing, trialling and delivery of sea-going vessels now has a more appropriate level of requirement for boat builders, brokers, surveyors, repairers, delivery companies and equipment service providers under the exemptions laid out in Part 1 of the new Code. It delivers an easier and clearer way for businesses to comply with regulation and will result in long-term benefits for the end-user.

Part 2 of the Code has been developed specifically for Race Support Boats to ensure they can continue supporting Racing Events legally where the vessel is not explicitly being used for the owners sport or pleasure.

As the significance of this Code spans the breadth of boating, from manufacturer to boat owner, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) developed it in partnership with the sector’s leading associations and representatives. These included the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), British Marine, Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association (YBDSA), British Rowing and British Canoeing.

Official launch

RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder joined the MCA’s Chief Executive, Brian Johnson, and other senior executives of marine organisations at The Little Ship Club today [10 January 2019] for an event to officially launch the new Code.

Marine Guidance Notice 538 on the regulations applicable to Pleasure Vessels has also been replaced with MGN 599. The new MGN introduces exemptions that mark a significant step forward for the pleasure vessel sector in the UK and also phases out the use of ORC liferafts.Brian Johnson, MCA’s Chief Executive, said: “The need for pleasure vessel users to have a simpler way of complying with existing regulations was identified. Working in partnership with the pleasure vessel community and with the help of the consultation which ran in 2018 the Code has been developed. This really is a positive step for pleasure vessel users and the wider community.”

Positive step

The RYA’s Chief Executive, Sarah Treseder, commented: “The introduction of the IPV Code and the guidance for owners to provide race support activities for a yacht or powerboat race is a very positive step and provides a much-needed solution to a number of problems that race organisers and support staff have struggled with in the past.

“In addition, the application of the IPV Code to vessels used at sea on a single-voyage basis is also welcomed.”

The final published version of the Intended Pleasure Vessels (IPV) Code can be found on the MCA website.