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NEW MCA CODE SETS STANDARD FOR MODERN WORKBOAT OPERATIONS

Thursday, January 31, 2019 

The UK-based National Workboat Association (NWA) has welcomed the anticipated revision to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Workboat Code, which was presented at the National Workboat Associationís 2019 AGM.

NWA considers that Edition 2 of The Workboat Code is a document that will redefine working practices and standards for vessel operators across numerous maritime sectors. The new Code of Practice has been developed in direct collaboration with workboat operators to better reflect the realities of modern workboat operation.

Workboats – loosely defined as vessels under 200gt and less than 24m in length – represent a fast-growing segment of the UK maritime market, with over 600 boats now registered with the NWA and probably twice this number in operation. This rapid growth has been driven by the emergence of new industries such as offshore wind, alongside rising demand for a diverse range of logistical support applications in the wider maritime sector.

This growth has been accompanied by technical innovation, and the UK workboat fleet now comprises a wide variety of advanced, specialist tonnage, ranging from from tugs to shoalbusters, multicats, pilot vessels, survey vessels and Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs). Demand has consequently grown for a Code of Practice that reflects this fleet diversity and evolving scope of operation.

The first edition of the Workboat Code, also known as the ‘Brown Code’ was published in 1998 and, while it played a key role in promoting the initial development of the UK workboat industry, it was not written with the modern UK workboat fleet in mind. Edition 2, developed by a working group led by the NWA in close cooperation with the MCA, includes a number of essential revisions to industry best practice.

Along with an improved section on stability for modern designs, and improvements relating to vessels engaged in towing, the revised Code encompasses a number of new considerations. It now considers modern vessel applications such as offshore wind crew and equipment transfer – notably ‘pushing on’ for CTVs – and carriage or transfer of dangerous goods.

Katy Ware, Director of Maritime Safety for the MCA said: “The new Workboat Code has been developed directly with the industry – and it has been highly rewarding to see the level of commitment and enthusiasm UK operators have shown during this time.  We are grateful for the support and assistance of the National Workboat Association during this process and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

Mark Ranson, CEO, NWA added: “When we first took on the task of revising the Workboat Code, we did not perhaps realise what a task we were taking on - but it makes all the hard work worthwhile, to see the revised Code published by the MCA and owners now able to build with confidence for the future.”

The full revised Workboat Code can be found here.

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