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The new IPV code - what it means for surveyors

Published on: 30 August 2018

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British Marine has recently been updating its members on the new IPV draft code. This new code has been drafted between the MCA, British Marine, the RYA and YDSA and is due to come into effect in January 2019. The code has been created to minimise burdens on industry and ensure that industry can operate legally. The need for the code was identified because leisure vessels occasionally have to operate outside of the legal definition of a leisure vessel which means they are in commercial operation. Any time a leisure vessel is used not for the sport or leisure of the owner or his immediate family and friends, the vessel under law, is in in commercial use. Under the current legal frame work this leaves industry with only two choices:

1) Code the vessel under the relevant commercial vessel legislation or equivalent code such as MGN 280 or the coloured codes
2) Gain an individual vessel and journey exemption from the MCA

Both of the above options are costly, impractical and will probably involve altering certain aspects of the vessel. The MCA acknowledged that this was creating a serious burden on industry and was not practical for industry to comply with. To resolve the situation they created the draft IPV code and the associated MGN’s which are currently out for industry consultation which can be found by following the link here 

Why does this affect Surveyors?
As a surveyor it is highly likely that you may be employed for one of the following reasons:

• Pre-sale survey on a vessel
• Acceptance trials on behalf of a client
• Post remedial work trials
• Insurance survey

If any of the above operations are carried out proceeding to sea, then the vessel falls outside of the scope of leisure vessel and under the current legal frame work one of the options mentioned above must be undertaken (coding or exemption). The introduction of the new IPV code will mean that for the majority of surveyors who do carry out work on leisure vessels to sea will now simply have to have a safety management system, which is self-audited and self-certified, in place and log the journey as well as certain LSA on board.

This is subject to fewer than 100 journeys to sea per year and staying within the limits of the code. If there are more than 100 journeys per year or the journey is more than 60 miles the safety management will have to be audited and certified by the MCA.

British Marine members need to note that this new IPV Code solely applies to sea going activities and those operations within UK categorised waters have not changed from those covered by the British Marine guidance document highlighted last year and available from the British Marine website.

The British Marine technical team are at hand to give further advice by contacting and will also be at the Southampton Boat show to answer any questions. The British Marine technical team have also got further guidance available to our members through the website.