New MCA proposals for pleasure vessels

Members of the boating community are encouraged to ‘have their say’ on the maritime & coastguard agency’s new code of practice for Intended pleasure vessels.

The public consultation launches tomorrow 1 August and runs for 8 weeks until the 26 September.

The Code of Practice for Intended Pleasure Vessels (IPV Code) and its supporting guidance notices – which will be introduced on 1 January 2019 – addresses temporary commercial use either for business purposes or as a race support boat.

The MCA is urging the boating community to read through the proposals on how they plan to make the water a safer place for everyone while giving the opportunity to legitimately operate commercially on a temporary basis for certain activities. The IPV code team will be available to discuss the new framework at a series of key dates throughout the Southampton boat show.

Additionally, the MCA is replacing marine guidance notice 538 on pleasure vessels which introduces exemptions that mark a significant positive step for the pleasure vessel manufacturing sector in the UK and phases out the use of ORC liferafts.

Ian Lardner, head of marine technology for the MCA said: “We have been working extremely closely with our partners at British Marine (BM), Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and the Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association (YBDSA) to bring about this very positive and significant step for the boating community. The new IPV Code allows people to use their pleasure vessels on a temporary single-voyage basis for sea trials, deliveries or race support activities, without using the existing commercial vessel codes which are intended for a more longer-term commercial use. We’re providing a simple means of compliance to rules that have always existed, with negligible burdens. We all think this a huge step forward and we hope as many people as possible will take the time to read through the consultation to see if there are any further developments we could consider.”

RYA cruising manager, Stuart Carruthers, said: “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 by owners, brokers, surveyors and repairers for business purposes relating to sale, repair, post-repair or mid-survey sea trials, customer sea trials and for vessel delivery in connection with the business purpose is also welcomed and it is very much to RYA members’ advantage for this code and associated MGNs to be adopted.”

Bas Edmonds, RYA racing services manager, added: “It’s extremely pleasing to see the MCA support the delivery of our sail racing by looking to exempt those boats supporting race activities. The IPV code and associated MGNs provide a framework of achieving compliance for owners and parents wanting to support the sport, which is hugely welcomed by the RYA.”

British Marine’s technical manager, Ross Wombwell said: “This code of Practice for sea-trialing and transportation pprovides the industry with an affordable and achievable solution, and provides much needed clarity on what had been a regulatory grey area for our members and boat owners for a number of years. British Marine is rightly proud of the work that it has done, supported by many of its members, alongside the regulator (the Maritime & Coastguard Agency), the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and the Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association (YDSA), to develop this new process and guidance.

Now we need members and owners to review this code of practice and let us and the MCA know their thoughts – on the practicalities of applying these new rules, the benefits they bring, the costs involved etc.

British Marine is on hand to answer any queries from its members on this new code of practice and we will be engaging the membership further over the coming months, with Q&As and guidance available at Southampton boat show in September.”

Once the external consultation has closed, the MCA will draft a final set of proposals of the new IPV code. Any new development changes within the code will be published accordingly.

More information about the public consultation can be found on the MCA website here: code of practice for intended pleasure vessels.

If you would like to contribute your thoughts to this public consultation or if you require a hard copy of the consultation, please email

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