Guidance

Fishing vessels: classification, registration and inspection

Make sure your fishing vessel complies with international and UK safety requirements and you have the right certificates for it to operate in territorial waters.

Introduction

This guide explains fishing vessel classification and certification. It also provides information on survey and inspection requirements and procedures and how a vessel can prepare for this. You will also find details on how to register a vessel.

Personal information which you supply to us will be used to keep the UK ship register up to date and to make sure our services are planned to meet ship owner’s needs. The information you provide is primarily used for vessel registration purposes but may also be used for other non-vessel registration related purposes and shared with other statutory bodies/organisations to enable them to fulfil their statutory obligations.

The information will only be shared with other organisations where there is a legal obligation to do so, or with the agreement of the vessel owners or their representatives.

Further details on ship registrations’ privacy policy can be found at our personal information charter page.

Fishing vessels classification and certification

Fishing vessels are classified according to their length in metres.

Fishing vessels less than 24 metres in length

Fishing vessels less than 24 metres are covered by The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall and The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length.

Download MSN 1871 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length.

Download MSN 1872 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length.

Fishing vessels 24 metres in length and over

Fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over are covered by MSN 1873 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and Over.

Download MSN 1873 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and Over.

Certification

Fishing vessels are exempt from some certification requirements, although other specialised certificates must be carried, including:

  • a UK Fishing Vessel certificate (UKFVC) - for vessels 15-24 metres in length
  • an International Fishing Vessel certificate (IFVC) - for vessels 24 metres or longer
  • an Oil Pollution Prevention certificate
  • an Air Pollution certificate - for vessels of 400 gross tonnes (gt) or more
  • a Sewage Pollution certificate - for vessels of 400 gt or more, or carrying up to 15 persons, and on international voyages
  • an Anti-fouling declaration - for vessels of less than 24 metres in length and less than 400 gt
  • an Anti-fouling certificate - for vessels of 400 gt or more
  • a Certificate of Registry
  • an International Tonnage certificate - for vessels of 400 gt or more

For information about the certification of fishing vessels, see vessel survey and inspection requirements on the MCA website.

Fishing vessel surveys and inspections

There are separate certifications, and different survey and inspection requirements, for fishing vessels that are:

  • less than 15 metres in LOA
  • from 15 metres in LOA to less than 24 metres registered length
  • over 24 metres in registered length

Fishing vessels less than 15 metres in length are covered by The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall. Download MSN 1871 (F) Amendment No.1 The Code of Practice for Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length.

A separate Code of Practice sets out the requirements for fishing vessels of between 15 and 24 metres in length: The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length. Download MSN 1872 (F) Amendment No.1 The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length.

Fishing vessels of 24 metres and over in length are covered by the MSN 1873 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and Over. Download MSN 1873 Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and over.

Important note:

From 21 July 2020, MCA will undertake the survey of new build fishing vessels of 12m registered length to less than 15m length overall. This service is not available for fishing vessels being built for registration or operation as fishing vessels in countries other than the United Kingdom.

A notice of intent to build form (MSF1356) should be submitted to the Marine Office closest to where the vessel is to be built. This is the start of the application process for every newbuild fishing vessel of less than 24m RL.

For further information on vessels which will be built after this date and vessels currently in build please download:

If you want to register a vessel of up to 15 metres on the UK register, you must demonstrate its seaworthiness and safety. If your vessel’s build was completed between 16 July 2007 and 20 July 2020, they must conform to the Seafish Construction Standards and present a Seafish Construction Certificate and, if 7m length overall or over, a Seafish Outfit Certificate to the Registry of Shipping and Seamen (RSS).

If the vessel build is completed on or after 21 July 2020, to register they must present, to RSS, either a MCA Construction and Outfit Certificate if they are 12m Registered Length to less than 15m Length Overall, or if they are less than 12m Registered Length a Fishing Vessel Certifying Authority Construction Certificate (and a Fishing Vessel Certifying Authority Outfit Certificate if they are 7m Length Overall to less than 12m Registered Length).

Download list of fishing vessel certifying authorities

Download MSN 1871 (F) Amendment 1 The code of practice for small fishing vessels of less than 15m in length

From 21 July 2020, if your vessels were built before 16 July 2007, you must prove they are seaworthy by getting your vessel surveyed by an authorised surveyor of a Fishing Vessel Certifying Authority against MGN628 The Construction Standards for Fishing Vessels of less than 15m. The authorised surveyor will provide a report to the MCA who will decide whether your vessel can be registered or not.

MCA authorised surveyors can also continue to undertake this work until 31 December 2020. For further information please see MGN630 Amendment 1 - Pre-registration surveys for fishing vessels of less than 15m Length Overall built before 16 July 2007 and existing vessels of 15m Length overall to less than 24m Registered Length wishing to join the UK Register

Download list of authorised surveyors

If your vessel underwent a registration survey prior to 21 July 2020, but has yet to be registered, please see the Fishing Vessel Instructions to Surveyors MSIS27 Chapter 1 – General Section 1.8

Vessels not certificated to Seafish Construction Standards after 16 July 2007 will not be accepted.

Before any vessel of less than 15m is registered, it must then be inspected by the MCA prior to registration as a fishing vessel. These vessels must then be inspected by the MCA every five years to continue working. The owner of the vessel, or their representative, is also required to self-certify annually.

Medium-sized fishing vessels must meet the construction requirements in the code of practice for fishing vessels of 15 to 24 metres.

Download MSN 1872 (F) Amendment 1 The code of safe working practice for the construction and use of fishing vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length

New vessels in this size range must also conform to the Seafish Construction Standards if built before 21 July 2020 and to the MGN 629 Construction Standards for Fishing Vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length.

Download MGN 629 Construction standards for fishing vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length

The vessel must have a full renewal survey every five years to renew its Fishing Vessel Certificate, and also undergo a mid-term inspection to maintain its certificate. Owners must also complete an annual self-certification. For more information, see fishing vessel classification, registration and inspection.

Important note:

From 21 July 2020, MCA will undertake the survey of new build fishing vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length.

This service is not available for fishing vessels being built for registration or operation as fishing vessels in countries other than the United Kingdom.

For further information on vessels which will be built after this date and vessels currently in build please download:

MIN 608 (M+F) Amendment 2 _ New build fishing vessel procedures from 21 July 2020

New build fishing vessel survey guide

Marine guidance note 629 - Construction for new build fishing vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length

Download list of fishing vessel certifying authorities

Vessels of 24 metres in length and over must be built to classification society standards and surveyed by the relevant society to make sure it meets those standards. It must then be surveyed by the MCA prior to registration. The IFVC lasts four years and in that time they must be surveyed annually by the classification society, have an intermediate survey by the MCA after two years, and have full renewal survey after four years.

The MCA provides guidance for owners of small fishing vessels on preparing for surveys. Download a survey preparation guide for vessels up to 15 metres from the MCA website (PDF, 510K).

The MCA provides guidance for owners of fishing vessels on preparing for surveys. Download the MCA Fishing Vessels Survey and Inspection – Prepare for your next MCA visit.

Fishing vessel inspection and survey requirements and procedures

The MCA surveys all UK commercial fishing vessels above 15 metres in overall length in order to make sure they comply with legal safety requirements.

Once your vessel has passed the survey, it will be provided with the relevant safety certificate.

For vessels of 24 metres in length and over, this certificate is the IFVC. For this to remain in force you need to make sure that there is:

  • an annual survey of the vessel - by a classification society if the vessel is classed
  • an annual survey of the vessel - by the MCA to the standards of a classification society if the vessel is not classed
  • an intermediate survey three months either side of the second anniversary of the certificate

For vessels of 15 metres in length to less than 24 metres, the required certificate is the United Kingdom Fishing Vessel Certificate. To remain in force the vessel needs to have an inspection between 24 and 36 months after the certificate is issued.

Commercial fishing vessels under 15 metres in length require inspections instead of surveys. If the vessel passes the inspection, it will be awarded the Small Fishing Vessel Certificate (SFVC) (MSF) 1316).

All commercial fishing vessels need the appropriate Fishing Vessel Certificate before they can go to sea.

A FREE online folder Safety Folder has been developed by industry, which can assist you with preparing for your survey and inspection and may save you time and money by shortening the time MCA spend on your vessel and avoid return visits. The folder helps to conduct and record risk assessments, help you to comply with ILO188 regulation, keep track of crew training and certification, provides reminders of equipment certification and servicing and vessel maintenance.

Survey requirements for fishing vessels 15-24 metres in length

For commercial fishing vessels 15-24 metres in length, the survey requirements cover safety standards set out in MSN 1872 Amendment 1: The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length.

Download a survey/inspection checklist for fishing vessels of 15-24 metres.

Survey requirements for fishing vessels over 24 metres in length

For fishing vessels over 24 metres, the survey requirements cover the safety standards set out in:

  • MSN 1873 (F) Amendment 1: The Code of Practice for the construction and safe operation of fishing vessels of 24m registered length and over

Download a survey/inspection checklist for fishing vessels over 24 metres in length.

Fishing vessel survey procedure

For fishing vessels of 15 metres in length and above the procedure involves:

  • applying using form MSF 5100 together with your fee deposit
  • submission of plans to the MCA surveyor for approval
  • visits - the MCA surveyor will visit your yard during construction, and they will work with Seafish surveyors or class surveyors to make sure the relevant Code of Safe Working Practice and the Seafish certificate of construction (for vessels 15-24 metres in length) is complied with.
  • final visit - when the MCA surveyor carries out stability and operational tests and a general inspection of staffing levels, qualifications, health and safety procedures, and whether crew are familiar with all the equipment and emergency drills etc
  • sea trials - discretionary attendance

When the MCA surveyor visits, they will need external and internal access to all areas of the vessel. They will only allow exemptions from the survey standards if they can see that equivalent materials or systems are in place.

Renewal surveys usually need two visits from the surveyor, one out of water and one afloat, to carry out operational and stability tests.

If the surveyor isn’t satisfied with the survey, they will provide a list of defects and may return later to check that they have been resolved. The MCA surveyor may also decide to detain the vessel.

If the vessel passes the survey, the MCA will issue the relevant United Kingdom Fishing Vessel Certificate (UKFVC), which covers a specific period. In order to make sure the certificate is still valid during this period, the MCA or Classification Society will carry out intermediate inspections or annual and intermediate surveys, dependent on the size of the vessel. Vessels of 15-24 metres in length are also required to conduct annual self certifications.

Risk assessments

All fishing vessels require risk assessments. For further information see the health and safety at sea section on the MCA website.

The new Fishermen’s Safety Guide has been written to help you with the conduct of your risk assessment. The guide can be downloaded here Fishermens saftey guide.

A FREE online folder Safety Folder has been developed by industry, which can assist you with recording your risk assessments. As well as this, it can help you comply with ILO188 regulation, keep track of crew training and certification, provide reminders of equipment certification and servicing, and vessel maintenance.

Fishing vessel documents

To pass a survey, vessels must carry the relevant documents. For example:

  • all fishing vessels over 16.8 metres (55 feet) - an official log-book
  • all fishing vessels over 24.4 metres (80 feet) - a crew agreement, posted on ship with a copy kept at an address within the UK
  • all fishing vessels over 12.2 metres (40 feet) - a list of crew, with a copy kept at an address within the UK
  • MSN relevant to fishing vessels

You can find further guidance on documents to be held by vessels of 16.8 metres to less than 24.4 metres in length in MSN M.1303. Download MSN M.1303 guidance on documents required by law to be maintained for vessels of 16.8 metres to less than 24.4 metres length from the MCA website (PDF, 12K).

You can find details on document requirements for fishing vessels of 24.4 metres in length and above in MSN M.1314. Download MSN M.1314 guidance on documents required by law to be maintained for vessels of 24.4 metres in length and over.

To order these documents you can call the EC Group Helpline on 0845 603 2431.

Download MSN M.1057 Merchant shipping (crew agreements, lists of crew and discharge of seamen) (fishing vessels) (amendment) Regulations 1983.

Enforcement measures

If your vessel contravenes the relevant code or conditions for exemptions, you will face a fine or imprisonment if convicted.

Flag-in fishing vessels surveys

You can find information on the flag-in process for fishing vessels on the MCA website.

Inspection of fishing vessels under 15 metres in length

Inspections are carried out by MCA surveyors or inspectors to make sure that fishing vessels which are less than 15 metres in length meet the requirements of MSN 1871 (F) Amendment 1, The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall. Inspections are free of charge.

To pass the inspection, your fishing vessel must meet a range of safety requirements and carry the following documents:

  • a list of crew on all fishing vessels over 12.2 metres (40 ft) in length, with a copy kept at an address within the UK
  • MSNs relevant to fishing vessels

Download MSN 1871 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length.

You can also find information in annex 1 of the Under 15m LOA Fishing Vessel Inspection Regime Instructions for the Guidance of Inspectors on the MCA website.

The MCA provides guidance for owners of fishing vessels on preparing for inspection. Download the MCA Fishing Vessels Survey and Inspection – Prepare for your next MCA visit.

A FREE online folder Safety Folder has been developed by industry, which may save you time and money during your visit and avoid the need for a return visit, which is chargeable. It can help to record risk assessments, help you to comply with ILO188 regulation, keep track of crew training and certification, provides reminders of equipment certification and servicing and vessel maintenance.

How to prepare for a vessel survey

Fishing vessels 15 metres in LOA and over that are registered in the UK must have a UKFVC or an IFVC.

The MCA provides guidance for owners of fishing vessels on preparing for surveys. Download the MCA Fishing Vessels Survey and Inspection – Prepare for your next MCA visit.

A FREE online folder Safety Folder has been developed by Industry, which may save you time and money during your visit and avoid the need for a return visit, which is chargeable. It can help to record risk assessments, help you to comply with ILO188 regulation, keep track of crew training and certification, provides reminders of equipment certification and servicing and vessel maintenance.

A vessel can be surveyed to make sure it meets safety standards up to six months before its existing certificate expires. The survey can be completed in two visits - although additional visits may be necessary depending on the surveyors’ findings. You should have all your records and certification ready for inspection before the survey begins.

The two main elements of a fishing vessel inspection are:

  • an ‘out of water’ survey
  • an ‘afloat’ survey, including stability checks

Out of water survey

You can prepare your fishing vessel for an ‘out of water’ survey by:

  • pressure washing the hull
  • carrying out ultra-sonic tests on the total hull area and any suspect areas on steel vessels
  • removing and cleaning sea valves, - inlets and overboard
  • checking draft marks
  • checking propeller shaft clearances by lifting the shaft and using a clock gauge or feeler gauges
  • checking the propeller hub condition and operation - eg if it’s a controlled pitch propeller
  • recording rudder pintle bearing clearances
  • ensuring safe access for the surveyor to all areas of vessel
  • having a shipwright present during the survey visit to discuss any action needed with the surveyor if the vessel is wooden

Afloat survey

An afloat survey will include:

  • a lightship check
  • an inclining or roll test
  • a stability assessment

Radio survey

A radio survey should also be booked as part of the overall survey. It must be carried out before a UKFVC or IFVC can be issued to the vessel owner.

The MCA provides a list of organisations authorised to survey radio installations on fishing vessels. Download contact information for authorised surveyors of radio installations on passenger ships, fishing vessels and unclassed cargo vessels.

On board survey

During an on board survey of a fishing vessel, the surveyor will check areas such as the:

  • wheelhouse
  • wheelhouse top
  • casing top
  • shelter top
  • accommodation
  • main deck
  • fish room
  • engine room
  • equipment tests
  • vessel operations and drills

Except for remote winch stops, fishing gear is not tested during a UKFVC or IFVC inspection.

Fishing gear

Fishing gear is tested independently of UKFVC/IFVC certification under the regulations:

  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment - Marine Guidance Note (MGN) 331 (M+F) - non-lifting equipment on fishing vessels
  • Guide to Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations - MGN 332 (M+F) - lifting equipment on fishing vessels

For further information on fishing gear testing see the guide on fishing safety, health and safe working practices.

Booking a fishing vessel survey

You can book a fishing vessel survey by contacting your nearest MCA fishing survey office - find local fishing survey office contact details.

Download fishing vessel survey preparation guidance from the MCA website (PDF, 511K).

Registering fishing vessels

A fishing vessel is a boat used to catch sea fish for profit, even if it is only used occasionally. Every British sea fishing vessel - with certain exceptions - that fishes for profit must be registered by law.

All fishing vessels that catch sea fish for profit must also have a licence issued by the appropriate Fisheries Department. You should contact your Local Fisheries Office about licensing at the same time as applying for registration.

You can get full or simple registration for a fishing vessel.

Full registration requires:

  • proof of ownership, including Bills of Sale
  • builders certificate for new vessels (See MGNs 628, 629 and 630)
  • forms MSF 4740B, MSF 4728 including a declaration of the maximum continuous engine power (MCEP), MSF 4705 and MSF 4743

A vessel with full registration can have mortgages registered against it.

Simple registration requires:

  • an accepted receipted invoice
  • forms MSF 4740B, MSF 4728, including a declaration of the MCEP

Mortgages cannot be recorded against a vessel with simple registration.

How to Register

You will need to complete a British ship form and submit it with the appropriate fees and support documentation, eg:

  • a copy of certificate of incorporation - if the owner is a body corporate
  • safety certificate - for vessels over 15 metres
  • International Tonnage Certificate (ITC69) - if the vessel is over 15 metres
  • Seafish Certificate

Find form MSF 4740B Application to Register a UK vessel and MSF 4728 Declaration of eligibility to register a fishing vessel.

Carving and Marking

On receiving your application, the vessel will be issued with a Carving and Marking note. The vessel must be carved and marked and measured by an Authorised Measurer. A measurement  of vessels:

  • 15 metres in length and over is carried out by one of the classification society surveyors, who complete a certificate of measurement and an International Convention certificate 1969
  • under 15 metres in length in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is carried out by a local Coastguard - in Scotland measurement is carried out by a local fishery officer and a certificate of measurement only is issued for these vessels

The Carving and Marking note and the measurement certificate are then to be returned to the UK Ship Register in Cardiff, along with the appropriate fee.

When you apply to register, you must have a list of nominated names for the vessel. These names must be unique to the port that you wish to register under. A Certificate of Registry is valid for five years and must be renewed if you want to continue to fish for profit.

Fishing vessel survey

A fishing vessel must be surveyed before it can be registered.

In most cases surveys are carried out by a UK Ship Register surveyor. However, under certain circumstances, surveys can be carried out by a Class surveyor on our behalf.

To avoid any lost time, a transfer of flag survey can be arranged to suit the working pattern of your vessel.

The Principal Fishing Surveyor (PFS) will request a copy of all existing statutory certification in order that new certificates can be prepared prior to survey.

If, during a survey, your vessel meets international standards of safety and pollution prevention, a short-term certification can be issued immediately. Full term certification would then follow in due course.

Details of certification, plans and operational information will be discussed by the owner and the PFS.

You can find a list of ports of choice on the UK Ship Register website.

Please contact your local marine office to find a list of authorised surveyors/inspectors of marks..

Small fishing vessel survey

If you own a fishing vessel that is under 15 metres in LOA, it will not be subject to a regular statutory survey. However, UK law requires that registered small fishing vessels are seaworthy and equipped to a safe standard so still need to have regular inspections.

If your vessel build was completed between 16 July 2007 and 20 July 2020, its construction must conform to the Seafish standard for small fishing vessels. If build was completed on or after 21 July 2020 its construction must conform to MGN628 Construction Standards for Fishing Vessels of less than 15m length overall.

If your vessel was built after 16 July 2007 and does not conform to the relevant standard you will not be able to register it. The only way to ensure that your vessel does conform is for either Seafish to have overseen the construction before 20 July 2020 and MCA after that date.

Important note:

From 21 July 2020, Seafish will no longer be providing a marine survey service for vessels of less than 24m registered length. From this date onward, MCA will resume this work.

A notice of intent to build form (MSF1356) should be submitted to the Marine Office closest to where the vessel is to be built. This is the start of the application process for every newbuild fishing vessel of less than 24m RL.

For further information on vessels which will be built after this date and vessels currently in build please download:

From 21 July 2020, if your vessel was built before 16 July 2007, you must prove it is seaworthy by getting your vessel surveyed by an authorised surveyor of a Fishing Vessel Certifying Authority against MGN628 The Construction Standards for Fishing Vessels of less than 15m. The authorised surveyor will provide a report to the MCA who will decide whether your vessel can be registered or not.

Download list of fishing vessel certifying authorities

MCA authorised surveyors can also continue to undertake this work until 31 December 2020. For further information please see MGN630 Amendment 1 - Pre-registration surveys for fishing vessels of less than 15m length overall built before 16 July 2007 and existing vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length wishing to join the UK Register.

Download MGN 630 Amendment 1 - Pre-registration surveys for fishing vessels of less than 15m length overall built before 16 July 2007 and existing vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length wishing to join the UK Register

The UK Registry will examine the report and either:

  • allow registration
  • ask you to address areas of concern
  • reject the vessel. If there are any areas of concern, you will have to address them before registration can proceed.

Table for Hull Construction Certificate, Outfit Compliance Certificate and Safety Inspection on new vessels built since 16 July 2007 and 20 July 2020.

Vessel length Hull construction certificate issued by a certifying authority Outfit compliance certificate issued by a certifying authority Safety checklist (Annex 1.1-1.6) Stability information
Under 7 metres (LOA) Yes Recommended Yes Recommended
7 metres (LOA) to less than 12 metres (L) Yes Yes Yes Recommended
12 metres (L) to less than 15 metres (LOA) Yes Yes Yes Yes

Table for Hull Construction Certificate, Outfit Compliance Certificate and Safety Inspection on new vessels built from 21 July 2020

Vessel length Hull construction certificate issued by a fishing vessel certifying authority (FVCA) or MCA Outfit compliance certificate issued by a fishing vessel certifying authority (FVCA) or MCA Safety checklist (Annex 1.1 - 1.6) Stability information
Under 7 metres (LOA) Yes (FVCA) Recommended Yes Recommended
7 metres (LOA) to less than 12 metres (L) Yes (FVCA) Yes (FVCA) Yes Recommended
12 metres (L) to less than 15 metres (LOA) Yes (MCA) Yes (MCA) Yes Yes

To register a fishing vessel built before 16 July 2007, the following is required:

Vessel length Registration inspection by a fishing vessel certifying authority (or for vessels whose registration survey commenced before 31 December 2020) Safety checklist (Annex 1.1 - 1.16) Stability information
Under 7 metres (LOA) Yes Yes Recommended
7 metres (LOA) to less than 12 metres (L) Yes Yes Recommended
12 metres (L) to less than 15 metres (LOA) Yes Yes Yes

Before buying an existing vessel, you should get professional advice on whether it is suitable to be registered as a fishing vessel.

Fishing vessel certifying authority and MCA authorised surveyor surveys, fees and contact details

Fishing Vessel Certifying Authorities and MCA Authorised surveyors charge a fee for the survey of other existing vessels. To arrange work by an MCA authorised surveyor, you should contact a surveyor from the list download list of authorised surveyors.

MCA Safety Inspections

An MCA safety inspection on all vessels - new builds and otherwise - must follow the Seafish survey/registration inspection.

The MCA inspection will cover safety equipment and crew qualifications and is free of charge. You can arrange an MCA safety inspection by contacting the relevant offices. These include:

  • West UK: Plymouth Marine Office on 020 390 85245
  • East UK: Hull Marine Office on 020 381 72018
  • Scotland and Northern Ireland: Aberdeen Marine Office on 0203 817 2001

Download MSF 5100 Application for Survey and Inspection of ships and fishing vessels.

Engine power

Since 10 January 2000, you need to declare the maximum continuous or permanently de-rated engine power (MCEP) to be able to register or re-register a UK fishing vessel.

MCEP is the total power you can get at the flywheel of each engine that can be used to propel the vessel.

You can find information on engine power on the MCA website.

Further information

Fishing Team Enquiry Line

029 2044 8855

Download MSN 1871 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Practice for Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length.

Download a publications catalogue from the IMO website

Download MSN 1872 (F) Amendment 1 The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length

MSN 1873 Amendment The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and over which can be downloaded

Download fishing vessel survey preparation guidance from the MCA website (PDF, 511K)

Fishing vessels survey instructions and guidance on the MCA website

Download contact information for authorised surveyors of radio installations on passenger ships, fishing vessels and unclassed cargo vessels from the MCA website (PDF, 55K)

Fishing survey office contact details on the MCA website

Download MGN 331 (M+F) Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 2006

Download MGN 332a (M+F) Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 2006

Find MSF 4740B Application to Register a British Ship

List of designated ports on the Marine Management Organisation website

Download the MSF5100 form - Application for Survey and Inspection of Ships and Fishing Vessels

Engine Power information on the MCA website

Flag-in matrix for fishing vessels on the MCA website

Download MGN 581 (F) FISHING VESSELS: Registration Surveys for Fishing Vessels of less 15m built before 16 July 2007

Download List of authorised surveyors

Download MIN 608 (M+F) Amendment 2: new build vessel procedures from 21 July 2020 and

Download New build fishing vessel survey guide

Download MGN628 Construction standards for fishing vessels of less than 15m length overall

Download MGN629 Construction standards for fishing vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length

Download MGN 630 Amendment 1 Pre-registration surveys for fishing vessels of less than 15m length overall built before 16 July 2007 and existing vessels of 15m length overall to less than 24m registered length wishing to join the UK register

Download list of fishing vessel certifying authorities

Download MSF 1356 Notice of intent to build

Published 9 October 2012
Last updated 30 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. Uploaded links and information to MSF 1356

  2. Added link to MGN 630 Amendment 1

  3. Added link to fishing vessel certifying authorities

  4. Updated information on the registration of fishing vessels

  5. Link update to MIN 608 Amendment 2

  6. Link added for MIN 608 (M + F) Amendment 1.

  7. Important note added regarding the provision of marine survey service.

  8. Links added. Tables added. Text added.

  9. Added links to new Amendments for MSN 1871,MSN 1872 and MSN 1873

  10. New link to registering a fishing vessel added

  11. Page updated with latest Fishing vessel survey information

  12. Text edited.

  13. Updated links MSN's

  14. First published.