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MCA warns against fishing vessels carrying passengers

new guidelines issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
new guidelines issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The Maritime and Coastguard agency has issued a warning to fishing vessels about carrying children and other members of the public.

In a Marine Guidance Note it was strongly recommended that individuals, such as family and friends – and in particular children – were not carried as passengers while a vessel is fishing commercially to sell its catch.

The guidance continued: “The skipper/owner must include in their risk assessment the risks and hazards involved when passengers are carried.

“Ship and fishing vessel owners, managers and masters/skippers should ensure that their vessel is suitably certified for the activity it is being used for.

“The use, size and number of passengers the vessel carries determines the certification that it is required to have and the manning requirements for that vessel.

“When a project is taking place that will involve an unusual type or use of a vessel it is best practice to contact the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) at an early stage to ensure that it is feasible.”

It added: “The safety of the vessel and the persons on board should be the primary consideration at all times and instructions of the master/skipper should be complied with.

“Fishing Vessels, when operating commercially, must conduct a written risk assessment of the risks of going overboard, and if these cannot be eliminated, all persons on board must wear Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) or lifelines when at risk.

“All persons on the decks of fishing vessels not operating commercially and small commercial vessels should also wear PFDs or lifelines.”

Skippers were encouraged to contact the MCA for advice before carrying passengers who were not crew members.

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