Small commercial vessels must follow the small commercial vessel codes of practice – codes of practice, certification, operating overseas
There's no international code of practice for the safety of small commercial vessels outside the UK.
Many countries accept commercial vessels with UK certificates, but you may need to follow local safety laws as well.
Any small commercial vessels not used as ‘pleasure vessels’ must have the right small commercial vessel certificate.
To get the right certificate, you must arrange a survey of your boat by a Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) approved authority.
If your boat passes this, it’ll be issued with either a:
- small commercial vessel certificate
- workboat certificate
- pilot boat certificate
This must be kept on board your boat and is valid for 5 years.
Boats being surveyed for the first time must also meet stability requirements outlined in section 11 of Marine Guidance Note 280.
In charge of a business boat
You must have the correct certificate to be in charge of a small business boat.
Check the appropriate code of practice for your boat to see which certificate you need.
There are 4 codes of practice for small commercial vessels.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has also produced a guidance note that covers these codes of practice:
Small commercial vessels must follow certain codes of practice.
This applies to any vessel that:
- is less than 24 metres long
- is less than 150 gross tonnes and was built before 21st July 1968
- carries cargo and no more than 12 passengers
- provides a service where neither cargo or passengers are carried
- is a pilot boat of any size, eg a vessel that take pilots to and from larger ships
- isn’t considered a 'pleasure vessel'
These are craft used solely for either:
- sport or recreation by their owners, family, friends or employees
- non-profit journeys
Pleasure vessels are exempt from the small commercial vessel codes of practice.