Vessel Coding Information

Vessel coding is conducted on work and pilot boats as well as pleasure craft and all manner of boats

Vessel coding is conducted on work and pilot boats as well as pleasure craft and all manner of boats

All UK vessels in commercial use, up to 24 metres load line length, which go to sea are required by law to comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Small Commercial Vessel and Pilot Boat Code of Practice.

Vessels that meet the MGN 280 code are issued with Certificates by the IIMS Certifying Authority, which is approved by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

IIMS Registered Examiners are authorised to carry out vessel coding and compliance examinations for certification by the IIMS and are shown in the IIMS Certifying Authority directory on this site.

The IIMS uses the “The Harmonised Code MGN 280” for vessel coding covering:
• Sailing charter vessels, both skippered and bareboat
• Motor charter vessels including angling and dive boats
• Motor vessels carrying up to 12 passengers
• RIBs operating commercially
• Workboats
• Pilot boats
The requirements for the use of each vessel are considered and the category approved will depend upon the nature of its operations, distance from a safe haven, limiting weather and whether overnight passages are to be undertaken.

So which category is right for you?
Category 6: To sea within 3 miles from a nominated departure point(s) named in the certificate and never more than 3 miles from land in favourable weather and daylight.
Category 5: To sea within 20 miles from a nominated departure point named in the certificate in favourable weather and daylight.
Category 4: Up to 20 miles from a safe haven in favourable weather and in daylight.
Category 3: Up to 20 miles from a safe haven.
Category 2: Up to 60 miles from a safe haven.
Category 1: Up to 150 miles from a safe haven.
Category 0: Unrestricted service.

How to choose a Certifying Authority Examiner

The IIMS Certifying Authority Examiners are all Full members of the Institute and are not employed by us. You may select any of the Certifying Authority Examiners to carry out the vessel coding inspection.

You as the vessel owner must write to your current Certifying Authority and ask them to transfer the documents to the IIMS.

Vessel coding overseas

The IIMS Certifying Authority Examiners cover the whole world with some actually living in overseas locations But if in doubt, contact the IIMS HQ for details of an individual member’s location.

How to apply for a Vessel Coding

IIMS Certifying Authority examiners do vessel coding for craft of all shapes and sizes that serve many commercial purposes

IIMS Certifying Authority examiners do vessel coding for craft of all shapes and sizes that serve many commercial purposes

IIMS Code Examiners operate in accordance with IIMS procedures under ISO9001 as follows:
When contacted by a boat owner, or managing agent for a vessel to be coded, the Examiner will assist with the completion of a SCV1 Form for registration with the IIMS Certifying Authority.
• The Owner Managing Agent forwards the SCV1 plus relevant fee to the IIMS Certifying authority.
• The instructed Examiner will discuss the requirements of the owner and advise on what will be required on the vessel.
• The Examiner attends the vessel and fills out the SCV2 form; it is possible that the vessel will not be ready on the first visit. A list of outstanding works will be given to the owner.
• The Examiner will inspect the vessel out of the water.
• The Examiner may carry out a heel test.
• The Examiner may have to revisit the vessel to clear outstanding items.
• The Examiner will forward the SCV2 to the IIMS for checking.
When all is in order and fees have been paid to the surveyor and the IIMS, the certificate will be issued.

A certificate valid for five years will be issued, but this is subject to an annual inspection to maintain currency. Annual inspections can be self-certified, although the mid-term examination must be carried out by an IIMS Examiner. The IIMS Examiner will explain the system during the inspection.

What to do next
To discuss any matter regarding MCA vessel coding please call Tania Bernice in our Certifying Authority department on + 44 (0) 23 9231 3010 or email Tania.

View IIMS Certifying Authority Examiners