Updated UK Small Fishing Vessel Code enters into force

Fishing boats in Southwold Harbour, Suffolk

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Code of Practice for Small Fishing Vessels now includes a requirement for fishing boats in the UK to be inspected both in and out of the water every five years.

The proposals, which are designed to make the fishing industry safer, came into force on Monday, September 6.

The code covers fishing vessels that are less than 15 metres in LOA.

Previously, the requirement was only for fishing boats to be inspected in the water when first joining the UK Ship Register and after that, inspected either in or out of the water once every five years.

The updated code is part of ongoing work by the MCA and its partners in the Fishing Industry Safety Group to help reduce the number of deaths in the industry.

Between 2012 and 2020, there were 52 fishing fatalities, which translates to a figure of 50 fishermen in every 100,000 losing their lives at work. To put it in perspective, the national average across all sectors is 0.5 fatalities per 100,000.

The new code addresses crew protection and man overboard recovery, construction, watertight and weathertight integrity, stability, machinery, electrical installations and in and out of water inspections.

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