One Workboat Code to Simplify Safety Rules and Support New Technology

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Published Dec 16, 2023 6:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Maritime and Coastguard Agency]

A new workboat code from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) comes into force today (13 December), drawing together regulations into a single document to underpin safety while supporting the industry to advance technology. 

Designed to be more straightforward, Workboat Code Edition 3 includes the world’s first maritime safety legislation for the development of remotely operated unmanned vessels and workboats using alternative fuels. 

Previously, operators needed to consult different codes, depending on their vessel's age and specifications. The new, unified version places these sets of requirements into a single publication.  

The workboat sector is vital to sustaining a mix of key economic activity such as ports, gas and oil installations, and wind farms.

Extensive consultation across the industry has also helped shape the new code which will provide the legal framework for certification of the UK’s fleet of commercial support craft. 

Maritime Minister Lord Davies said: “Protecting our seafarers remains our utmost priority, which is why we regularly review safety regulations to ensure they stay current. It’s not enough to make sure regulations are up to scratch – they need to be accessible and easy to understand. That is why the MCA has merged the three necessary regulations into one easy to access document so workboat owners and operators can understand the safety requirements expected of them while preparing the sector for emerging technologies in an ever-evolving maritime landscape."

MCA Chief Executive Virginia McVea said: "Months of consultation, study and refinement have delivered a unified set of clear workboat rules that operators can rely on to run their activities safely and securely. I’d like to thank the work boat industry for the sustained engagement and patience that helped us achieve this together. By covering advances in technology, the document will help inspire confidence in new vessels. Doing so strengthens the international reputation of the UK flag, attracting new customers and enhancing our influence as a leading maritime nation. We now have a code that is more easily accessible, simpler to understand and better able to drive forward the safety and prosperity of the UK’s workboat sector and wider marine economy.” 

For full details of Workboat Code Edition 3, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-workboat-code-edition-3  

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