Press Release: Maritime and Coastguard Agency adopt YDSA equivalence proposal for Small Commercial Vessels

Published: 23 November 20

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have published to all Certifying Authorities for Small Commercial Vessels the YDSA proposal to accept ISO 15085 in lieu of the 1m guard rail height requirement for motor vessels in specific circumstances and upon application with supporting evidence.


The YDSA have successfully demonstrated that the ISO 15085 standard, which covers man-overboard prevention and recovery for small craft, when applied through the  recreational craft directive (RCD) as being of an equivalent standard of safety to motor vessels having a guard rail height of 1m.


ISO 15085 covers a wide range of safety elements that a boat manufacturer has to comply with, which includes guard rail heights, the combination of which when applied to a vessel creates a level of safety that is sufficient to ensure the safety on board vessels under the RCD. It is this over arching safety principle that ensures that the essential safety requirements of the relevant regulations are met and, in some cases, exceeded by compliance with ISO 15085.


Bas Edmonds, Chief Executive, “This has been an issue for small commercial vessel owners for some time, where there has been a disparity between what can be legally sold as a recreational vessel but where the same vessel cannot be put into commercial use without modification. The YDSA recognises that there are different expectations when it comes to passenger safety limits and believe that the ISO standard clearly provides a safe standard for persons onboard both recreational and commercial vessels”.


Bas further comments, “The application for an equivalence from the requirements from the regulations has been built into the statutory instruments since 1998, but hasn’t been overly utilised by Certifying Authorities. The equivalence process is important as it flags to the MCA what potential changes may be needed to the commercial regulations to ensure alignment with vessel design and construction standards across both the recreational and commercial sectors. The team responsible at the MCA for responding to these applications have been very helpful in supporting our vessels through the equivalence process and we will continue to put forward applications to ease the process of coding small commercial vessels.”


The YDSA have an excellent knowledge of the Codes of Practice as well as the ISO standards that recreational vessels are built to, all of which are backed by an excellent network of professional surveyors who are able to support any vessel through the codes. Visit YDSA’s coding website for more information on how the YDSA can get you operating safely and commercially with minimum fuss.

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