Showing posts with label United Kingdom Boating Regulations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United Kingdom Boating Regulations. Show all posts

Saturday 7 July 2012

UK Safety Regulations for Pleasure Vessels; Part 1 of 3

For United Kindom flagged boaties, to understand, for your and yours safety, the applicable Regulations is quite an exercise in itself. As we are all equally affected by these Regulations, this article attempts to give an overview of them, what applies and what doesn't, so you can be confident your boat is properly equipped. In essence, the Regulations are the expression of the 'minimums' to adequately ensure safety of life at sea. 

As a sea-goers, we must never forget that the knowledge that has led to the current Regulations, has been in the majority of cases, very hard-won, based on many tragic historic events - in other words, the Regulations have been arrived at a very high human cost. Therefore, while small pleasure vessels may not have a formal need to comply, we suggest it is in your interest to adopt as much of them as you see fit to give confidence that your boat is adequately equipped for the ''black swan'' event at sea.

For UK-flagged Pleasure Vessels (i.e. not for commercial gain or reward), these Regulations have applicability:

United Kingdom Government prescribed:
1. Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Ships other than ships of Classes III to VI (A)) Regulations 1999;
2. Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Passenger Ships of Classes III to VI(A)) Regulations 1999;
3. Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection: Small Ships) Regulations 1998;
4. 'Information on the Regulations Applicable to Pleasure Vessels' dated 21 December 2007 (Version 12).

NOTE: If any pleasure vessel carries more than 12 passengers (i.e. excluding the operating crew), the vessel classification moves from "Pleasure Vessel" to "Passenger Ship" and the full Regulations Item 1, 2, 3 and 4 above, apply (limited duration exemptions may be given by the MCA).

International Marine Organisation IMO prescribed:
5. International Convention for the 'Safety of Life at Sea'/SOLAS Chapter V.

Beyond the passenger count, the degree of applicability of the Regulations is fundamentally governed by the Pleasure Vessel size; by [load line] length (then weight for very large pleasure vessels):
- Length less than 13.7 metres (45 feet);
- - there are NO STATUTORY requirements as far as "life saving" or "fire fighting" equipment is concerned;
- Length more than 13.7 to 24 metres (45-78 feet);
- -  a vessel is classified as being a ''Class XII vessel'' and must comply with Items 1 and 3 above.
NOTE: This discussion does not address Pleasure Vessels over 24 metres - we have our limits!

To complicate the understanding of the applicability of the Regulations, the Requirements (or the details on how to properly comply with the Regulations) of Item 1 appear in two Marine Shipping Notices MSN issued by the UK Marine and Coastguard Authority MCA (part of the UK Department of Transport DfT):
- MSN 1676 for Items 1 and 2;
- MSN 1677 for Item 1.

To simplify the application of the above-Itemed regulations, the MCA has issued an un-numbered document, Item 4 above, which details the how to comply with the Regulations, plus it gives Exemptions (after discussion with the British Marine Federation and Royal Yachting Association) from:
- Item 1 Regulations 21, 48, 69, 71, 72, 78 and 84;
- Item 2 Regulations 23, 35 and 36;
This document also addresses the application of Item 5 'SOLAS V'.

So, to take advantage of 'Information on the Regulations Applicable to Pleasure Vessels', in Part 2 and 3 to follow, we examine the two equipment types in some detail:
- Life Saving Appliances;
- Fire Protection Equipment.