New safety requirements for local pleasure vessels in Hong Kong

The Marine Department of Hong Kong has published a circular about the recent safety requirements and regulations for all local pleasure vessels, which will be applied from 1st of April 2021.

According to the circular all pleasure vessels licenced to carry more than 12 passengers that are let for hire or reward shall have on-board a suitable first aid kit, as stipulated in “Code of Practice IV” Chapter X – Part 2 with effect from 1st April 2021.

At the same time, from 1st April 2021, the following three categories of vessels shall carry sufficient number of lifebuoys for the maximum number of persons that the vessel is licenced to carry:

A Class IV vessel that is licensed before 1 August 2020 to carry not more than 60 passengers and is let for hire or reward (except a Class IV open cruiser).
A Class IV vessel that is an open cruiser licenced to carry not more than 60 passengers and is let for hire or reward. (This requirement is exempted if the passengers on board the vessel wear suitable lifejackets while the vessel is underway)
A Class IV vessel of more than 150 GRT and is licensed before 1 August 2020.
As explained, a pleasure vessel that is licenced to a) carry 13 to 60 passengers and is let for hire or reward or b)carry more than 60 passengers, shall be equipped with a piece of VHF Radio equipment with a relevant licence issued by the Communications Authority.

In fact, the operator of the VHF radio equipment must have an operator’s certificate issued by the Communications Authority. The effective date of the above measure is yet to be announced.

In addition, starting from 1st of August 2020, all Class IV vessels that are over the length of 24 meters shall have a valid “Certificate of Inspection” or “Certificate of Survey”.

“From 1st of August 2021, Class IV vessel let for hire or reward is required to obtain prior approval from the Director of Marine. In addition to existing requirements, which require charter agreement/hire-purchase agreement; certificate of inspection/certificate of survey and the policy of insurance to be kept on board, an endorsement on the vessel’s operating licence is required, showing that approval for the vessel to be let for hire or reward has been given by the Director of Marine”.

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