Application of the new Workboat Code Edition 2 – published & in force from 31 Dec 2018

We aim to publish FAQ’s  as we become more familiar with the new code & face the inevitable unforeseen teething problems

WB2 was driven by the industry & was deliberately set at being a strong code partly due to criticism (particularly from outside the UK) of the weakness of MGN280 for workboats, which made it very difficult for some fleet operators to work abroad (particularly windfarm vessels).

The working group also decided that the use of 5 year safe history of vessel or model as a means of acceptance of structure was one of those weaknesses, hence it’s removal.

But the consequences to sectors of industry such as aquaculture & to the builders/suppliers of small workboats, where small production vessels of standard design are renewed on a regular basis, wasn’t foreseen. 

These small vessels may not have had independent approval of structure & may have been accepted via the safe history route.

We are working with the MCA to urgently sort this out but without weakening the spirit of the code.

The WB2 process has also included an initiative, originated by Mecal, to improve the professional standards & technical consistency of CA’s & their surveyors

Here are some QA’s including some advice on the above

  • New workboats starting build on or after 31/12/18 –  Must comply with WB2
  • Existing WB’s under Brown Code – continue as is -see Appendix 16
  • Existing WB’s under MGN280 – continue as is but with recommendation from Mecal to change to Brown Code – see Appendix 16
  • Existing workboats under IWGTS (2014) – must phase into WB2 within a time frame – see Appendix 16
  • New or existing coded vessels that are predominantly for leisure charter but want occasional light workboat duty – apply MGN280 with Mecal issuing a Light Workboat Certificate under Section 25.10 of the new code. Note that MGN280 will eventually be replaced by a new leisure commercial code which is currently in draft
  • Existing workboats that have lapsed certification within the last 5 years – can continue under the same code following a periodical or renewal survey, according to the lapsed time
  • Existing non-coded workboats with no code or structural approval history – must comply in full including a retrospective structural design approval, as advised by Mecal (not an easy route) 
  • Existing non coded workboats with structural approval (eg originally built to class) – apply WB2, with scantling check if deemed necessary  
  • New production workboats which are identical to existing vessels that have been coded under the previous codes – will have to comply with WB2 but Mecal may be able to carry out a simplified scantling check or examine & verify technical documents to satisfy the structural requirements of the new code
  • In addition, there are aspects of WB2 which must also be applied to existing workboats coded under MGN280 & Brown Code. These relate to safety standards that have been revised over the years as a result of changing national or international regulations or as a result of MAIB Investigations. A Technical Working Group met in Nov 2018 to identify the applicable sections of WB2 & to determine the phase-in arrangements for these updates. The process will also include public consultation & impact assessment & it is hoped that this will be completed before the end of this year.

We hope you find this information useful.

As always please contact the office on 01752 251211 should you have any questions.

phone icon

Talk to one of our experts
+44 (0)1752 251211

email icon

Send us your questions via email