MCA Charter Code Review Update

Published on: 30 August 2023

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Following a number of false starts over the past decade, the revision of MCA MGN280 for sport and pleasure vessels restarted in earnest last month, with the sharing of the updated code sections with the SCV working group. 

The Sport and Pleasure Code is the National Code of Practice for small recreational commercial vessels operating at sea, covering a range of operations, from bareboat and skippered charter vessels, to recreational dive operations, and seagoing fishing and tour vessels with fewer than 12 passengers. 

Last week saw three days of intensive face to face discussions over the proposed revisions at MCA headquarters in Spring Place, Southampton, where British Marine Technical joined representatives of the RYA, MECAL, and the PCA, along with BM members HPi CE Proof and SeaRegs Training. 

Discussions ranged from ensuring the codes acceptance of the raft of new boatbuilding international standards recognised in the Recreational Craft Regulations, to the inclusion of LSA appliances of new technologies that have become prevalent in the industry since the last code was published in 2004 and new training and qualifications requirements that are now expected to be held by onboard crew. 

British Marine argued strongly for the simplification of the code, acceptance of CE marked vessels and the enabling of new technologies in the code given both the environmental challenges that are high on the sector’s agenda and ensuring new boaters are able to get on the water without over burdensome barriers.  

The discussions went well with what was deemed a very receptive MCA in certain areas, but there are still many other areas to be covered and meetings are set to continue this week before the draft code is released for public consultation later in the year. 

We will share more information as it becomes available. 

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