The MCA consultation on six draft Marine Guidance Notes (MGNs) concerning guidance on boat safety has now closed.

RYA response to the consultation

The RYA submitted a detailed response to the consultation on the six notices that cover guidance on keel groundings, rigging inspections, preparedness, stowage of lifesaving gear, vessel resilience and emergency procedures, and maintenance, modifications, damage and repairs.

The key points underpinning the RYA submission are that:

  • The consultation has created concern that the MCA is looking to regulate recreational boating. It needs to be made clear that these MGNs are guidance in respect of pleasure craft and we have sought an assurance that the MCA will not be looking to regulate recreational boating.
  • It has been widely interpreted that the MGNs are suggesting that maintenance of recreational craft should only be undertaken by ‘professionals’. Whilst no boat owner should attempt any task outside their personal competency, we want the MCA to make it clear that they are not trying to prevent people from undertaking work on their own boats.

Next steps

The MCA has informally acknowledged the non-mandatory nature of the guidance and for owners to continue conducting their own maintenance where appropriate. The RYA is in positive dialogue with MCA officials to follow up the consultation.

The RYA has a strong track record in providing safety advice to recreational boaters and we are looking to work constructively with the MCA to do this in respect of the advice contained within the MGNs once they are finalised.

Visit the RYA online safety hub at for a wealth of practical advice and safety ‘top tips’ covering a vast array of boating activities.