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Detailed guide: Fishing vessels: classification, registration and inspection

Maritime Coastguard Agency

January 15
12:44 2021

Introduction

This guide explains fishing vessel classification and certification. It also provides information on survey and inspection requirements and procedures and how a vessel can prepare for this. You will also find details on how to register a vessel.

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The information will only be shared with other organisations where there is a legal obligation to do so, or with the agreement of the vessel owners or their representatives.

Further details on ship registrations privacy policy can be found at our personal information charter page.

Fishing vessels classification and certification

Fishing vessels are classified according to their length in metres.

Fishing vessels less than 24 metres in length

Fishing vessels less than 24 metres are covered by The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall and The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length.

Download MSN 1871 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length.

Download MSN 1872 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length.

Fishing vessels 24 metres in length and over

Fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over are covered by MSN 1873 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and Over.

Download MSN 1873 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and Over.

Certification

Fishing vessels are exempt from some certification requirements, although other specialised certificates must be carried, including:

  • a UK Fishing Vessel certificate (UKFVC) - for vessels 15-24 metres in length
  • an International Fishing Vessel certificate (IFVC) - for vessels 24 metres or longer
  • an Oil Pollution Prevention certificate
  • an Air Pollution certificate - for vessels of 400 gross tonnes (gt) or more
  • a Sewage Pollution certificate - for vessels of 400 gt or more, or carrying up to 15 persons, and on international voyages
  • an Anti-fouling declaration - for vessels of less than 24 metres in length and less than 400 gt
  • an Anti-fouling certificate - for vessels of 400 gt or more
  • a Certificate of Registry
  • an International Tonnage certificate - for vessels of 400 gt or more

For information about the certification of fishing vessels, see vessel survey and inspection requirements on the MCA website.

Fishing vessel surveys and inspections

There are separate certifications, and different survey and inspection requirements, for fishing vessels that are:

  • less than 15 metres in LOA
  • from 15 metres in LOA to less than 24 metres registered length
  • over 24 metres in registered length

Fishing vessels less than 15 metres in length are covered by The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall. Download MSN 1871 (F) Amendment No.1 The Code of Practice for Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length.

A separate Code of Practice sets out the requirements for fishing vessels of between 15 and 24 metres in length: The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length. Download MSN 1872 (F) Amendment No.1 The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length.

Fishing vessels of 24 metres and over in length are covered by the MSN 1873 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and Over. Download MSN 1873 Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and over.

Important note:

From 21 July 2020, MCA will undertake the survey of new build fishing vessels of 12m registered length to less than 15m length overall. This service is not available for fishing vessels being built for registration or operation as fishing vessels in countries other than the United Kingdom.

A notice of intent to build form (MSF1356) should be submitted to the Marine Office closest to where the vessel is to be built. This is the start of the application process for every newbuild fishing vessel of less than 24m RL.

For further information on vessels which will be built after this date and vessels currently in build please download:

If you want to register a vessel of up to 15 metres on the UK register, you must demonstrate its seaworthiness and safety. If your vessels build was completed between 16 July 2007 and 20 July 2020, they must conform to the Seafish Construction Standards and present a Seafish Construction Certificate and, if 7m length overall or over, a Seafish Outfit Certificate to the Registry of Shipping and Seamen (RSS).

If the vessel build is completed on or after 21 July 2020, to register they must present, to RSS, either a MCA Construction and Outfit Certificate if they are 12m Registered Length to less than 15m Length Overall, or if they are less than 12m Registered Length a Fishing Vessel Certifying Authority Construction Certificate (and a Fishing Vessel Certifying Authority Outfit Certificate if they are 7m Length Overall to less than 12m Registered Length).

Download list of fishing vessel certifying authorities

Download

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