The Seafarers’ Charity has funded a new information film to help fishermen meet the new MCA inspection standards.

In partnership with the NFFO and supported by the Fishing Industry Safety Group, the film is aimed at helping all owners prepare for their MCA inspection, following changes to the regulations for fishing vessels under 15m. It will help owners to get their vessel ready for their survey, as well as signposting resources to help prepare for a successful inspection.

Charles Blyth, risk, safety and training lead at the NFFO, identified that many fishers were not aware of the changes to the MCA’s inspection regime, and were therefore finding themselves tied up for longer periods. He approached The Seafarers’ Charity with his idea for a short film to share information on preparing for the new inspection requirements.

As a previous marine surveyor with the MCA, Charles is well placed to help vessel owners and the wider industry maintain high safety standards for their crews and vessels.

He said: “Recently, the under- 15m fleet has seen some significant changes to the MCA inspection requirements, including new stability tests and an out of water inspection, with some vessels struggling to meet all the requirements and therefore being tied up and unable to fish. We have made this information film to support all owners of under-15m vessels.”

Watch The Seafarers’ Charity film here…

Get set for your inspection

With the ever-changing regulatory landscape the industry is in, it is clear that the under-15m fleet is struggling to comply with the new requirements brought in by the revised Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of Less than 15m Length Overall – and that in some cases, fishermen are not aware of the new requirements at all.

Charles Blyth checks lifting gear during the inspection of an under-15m scalloper.

As part of my role as the NFFO risk, safety and training lead, I visit fishermen on all sizes of vessels on a regular basis to help improve safety standards and assist them with the ever- changing regulatory requirements.

From speaking to many fishermen, it is clear to me that safety is a priority for every fisherman, but they are now becoming concerned that some of the new measures may be detrimental to safety onboard. Should you ever have concerns regarding this, you are welcome to contact me at:

The video just launched with the support of The Seafarers’ Charity aims to help owners be better prepared for MCA inspections, with the hope that this will assist in an improvement in standards and help inspections go more smoothly, leading to a better relationship between the regulator and the industry.

Drawing on my experiences as an MCA surveyor, this series of articles will provide a more in-depth look at the key areas to watch out for. The upcoming articles will focus on three key areas: the in-water inspection, the out of water inspection and the stability test.

It is worth reminding owners that you can book inspections up to six months in advance of your safety certificate expiry. Like much of the civil service, the MCA is under increased pressure, and wait times for inspections can be significant.

There is a wealth of information on the government website which can help you prepare. Type ‘prepare for fishing vessel inspection’ into your search engine for guidance on the specific areas to be inspected.

Never be afraid to ask the surveyor for a legal reference should you want to further your understanding, or if you are confused about the standards that are being applied. Transitional arrangements exist for a large part of the code, giving owners time to implement the new standards.

It is now a requirement to notify the MCA prior to any changes or modification to your vessel. Owners are advised to email their local marine office of their intentions, no matter how minor the changes may seem.

This story was taken from the archives of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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