• First aid procedures:
    • The vessel will at all times carry more first aid equipment than specified in MCA MGN280 (1)
    • The vessel will at all times have a minimum of one qualified first aider onboard. 
  • Classification, certification etc (all will be current):
    • Insurance: Vessel, crew and company all insured with a minimum public liability of £5million
    • Coding: Vessel is coded by MCA to operate in category 3 (restricted) waters under MGN280 (1) as both a passenger vessel and workboat
  • Training / qualification requirements:
    • Skipper: will be qualified to operate a vessel in category 3 (restricted) waters as specified in MGN280 (1) – this specifies required qualifications, fitness etc. 
    • Crew: all crew to be capable of handling vessel in line with MCA requirements
    • Retraining: all staff will undergo regular retraining and testing on all required procedures such as (but not restricted to) man overboard, fire, injuries, engine failure etc. Records of said training will be maintained
  • Required equipment: MGN280 (1) specifies equipment such as fire extinguishers life rafts, life belts etc. This will be considered a minimum. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required:
    • Lifejackets: all passengers and crew will wear lifejackets or buoyancy aids when underway


  • Always applies:
    • MGN280 (1)
    • Collision Regulations (COLREGS) (2)

Daily decisions

  • Weather & sea state assessed for the duration of the trip. 
  • There must be a passage plan in place for every trip – so a generic route with authorised variation written in if necessary/dynamic risk by skipper
  • The above will be communicated to all staff working on the day

Daily pre checks

  • Performed at the berth before departing for the work area
  • Failure of vessel safety checks and/or safety equipment requires rectification before departure
  • The result of all checks will be recorded
  • Checks include (but are not limited to):
    • Flares
    • Lights
    • Life jackets
    • Life raft
    • Life rings
    • VHF Radios
    • Navigation equipment
    • Engine
    • Gearbox
    • Jet Drive
    • Hull condition
    • Sponson (tube) condition
    • Warp condition
    • Fender condition

Travel from berth to work area 

  • Depart berth
  • Stow warps and fenders
  • Running check on engine gearbox and drive
  • Call Lowestoft Port Control (VHF Channel 14) to request permission for vessel movements and relay passenger and crew numbers – note any warnings (people working, areas and ships to avoid etc)
  • Max 4 Knots through port
  • Observe harbour lights at RN&SYC and harbour exit/entrance


  • A name and phone number will be recorded for at least one member of each group
  • Number of persons on each trip will be recorded
  • Passengers will be advised:
    • The skipper’s word is final
    • Declare any medical conditions that requires them to take medication whilst on the trip and confirm medication is with them (Discretion/confidentiality with skipper)
  • When all passengers are fitted with lifejackets/buoyancy aids, they will receive the following briefing:
    • Lifejackets must be worn at all times when underway (reinforcement of shore briefing)
    • At least one hand hold must be used at all times when underway 
    • Refusal to obey crew safety instructions will result in a return to shore and immediate end to the trip
    • Emergency procedures:
      • Fire
      • Collision
      • Man Overboard
      • Others

Load passengers

  • Passengers will be boarded over the side of the vessel (dependent on conditions) with assistance if required.
  • Some medical conditions will exclude some people. These are written into our terms and conditions which all passengers agree to. 
  • Wherever possible three points of contact will be maintained at all times. 

Depart, travel to area of interest and return

  • Travel at low speed (<7kn) until clear of all swimmers
  • Travel to the area of interest following a pre plotted course (electronic with paper backup)
  • Reduce speed if swimmers or wildlife are seen in the water
  • When returning to the beach reduce speed (<7kn) before entering the area of swimmers.*

Unload passengers

  • Remind passengers how to disembark (three points of contact etc)
  • Staff will assist as required
  • Remove lifejackets from passengers once off the vessel and pontoon

Between trips

  • Lifejacket checks
  • Boat checks

Works Cited

1. Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA). MGN 280 (M) Construction standards for small vessels in sport use. [Online] 2004. [Cited: 8 September 2020.]

2. International Maritime Organisation. COLREGS. IMO. [Online]

 *Added after reading MAIB recommendations from the SeaDogz fatality