MGN 502 Code of practice: safety of small fishing vessels

Use voluntary standards to prepare for your MCA inspection, taking into account Marine Accident and investigation branch findings.

This publication was withdrawn on

MGN 502 has been replaced by MSN 1871


MGN 502 (F) Code of practice for the safety of small fishing vessels: standards which can be used to prepare for your MCA inspection

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Notice to all fishing vessel:

  • designers
  • builders
  • owners
  • employers
  • skippers
  • crew

This notice provides a small fishing vessel code of practice that is based on MSN 1813 but is revised to take into account MAIB findings and investigations into incidents.

The main changes from MSN 1813 are that:

  • liferafts are required for vessels of 7 metre registered length (L) to less than 12 metre (L)
  • vessels built before 2007 newly entering the fishing industry must have a survey by a certifying authority before registration
  • inspections of the vessel are required at change of ownership
  • emergency drills are required
  • radar reflectors must be fitted to all vessels
  • bilge alarms are to be fitted for open vessels (7 metre (L) to 15 metre length overall (LOA)
  • certificates are to be issued for small fishing vessels
  • structural modifications must be notified to MCA prior to work taking place
  • EPIRBs and stability requirements apply to vessels of 12 metre (L) to 15 metre (LOA)
  • personal floatation devices or lifelines are recommended to be worn while working on open decks

This code is voluntary but may be used as an alternative to MSN 1813 for the purpose of having your vessel inspected. MSN 1813 will remain in force.

Published 1 February 2014