MCA Coding


All UK vessels in commercial use, up to 24 metres load line length, which go to sea and carry no more than 12 passengers and/or cargo, are required by law to comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Small Commercial Vessel and Pilot Boat Code of Practice and be issued with Certificates by an Authorised Certifying Authority. The number of persons that the vessel carries can be greater than 12, for example 10 crew and 12 passengers.

The YDSA is a Certifying Authority appointed by the MCA and issues certificates under the Code, with currently about 1600 vessels on our register. YDSA Nominated Surveyors are authorised to carry out Compliance Examinations for certification by the YDSA, and are shown in the YDSA members' directory on this site.

The revised Workboat Code has now been put out for consultation and may be used for coding purposes. Download WB Code 2014

The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 was ratified internationally on 20th August 2013. This covers areas such as employment contracts, medical, health & safety, etc. Full details can be found in MGN 490. A joint CA training day was held on 18th September to train surveyors to carry out the compliance inspection for MLC. However, there are still a lot of questions as the MLC was designed for ships. Compliance for under 24m will require pragmatism! All vessels undertaking an international voyage will be required to comply. International voyage is over 60 miles from the UK, or if operating in another nation's waters - therefore a trip from Dover to Calais will be an international voyage. UK flagged vessels operating commercially outside the UK (such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean) are considered to be permanently on an international voyage and MLC therefore applies. The surveyor will check the MLC requirements when he visits the boat and the certificate will have an MLC endorsement if required. MCA FAQs on the MLC.

Reporting of accidents - you should report any accidents to MCA and MAIB and also your Certifying Authority in case the vessel requires suspension. The MAIB forms are available at :

MCA Codes - The codes were developed specifically for each class of vessel: sail, power, nominated departure point and workboat. These older codes are still in legal force. MGN 280 - know as the "Harmonised Code" brought these codes together. However, work is now going forward to extract Workboats as a stand-alone code.

The codes cover the following categories (under 24m):

  • 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 vessel are primarily contingent on the nature of its operations, distance from a safe haven, limiting weather and whether overnight passages are to be undertaken.

For a list of the notices issued by the MCA that may be relevant to you, please see here. For the documents in full please visit the MCA website


  1. Apply for survey by completing the SCV1 form and sending the fee to the YDSA
  2. Your instructed surveyor will develop a detailed list of the required works to the vessel using the requirements of the appropriate code
  3. The operator prepares the vessel based on the required works
  4. The surveyor attends the vessel and fills out the SCV2 form; it is very unlikely that the vessel will be ready on the first visit. A list of outstanding works will be given to the operator.
  5. The surveyor will inspect the vessel out of the water
  6. The surveyor will perform a heel test
  7. The surveyor will revisit the vessel and close out outstanding items
  8. The surveyor's paperwork will be sent to the YDSA for checking
  9. When all is in order and fees have been paid to the surveyor and the YDSA, the certificate will be issued.

The certificate is valid for five years but is subject to annual renewal, including a mid-term examination between years 2 & 3, and may require annual surveys to be performed in some cases. An MLC endorsement will be added if required.


With the YDSA you have a choice of Compliance Examiners. Our Nominated Surveyors are Members of the Association, not employees, and you are free to choose from over 60 YDSA Nominated Surveyors around the UK and overseas.

If you are already registered with another Certifying Authority, you can transfer to the YDSA at no extra cost.

Vessels Overseas

YDSA surveyors travel all over the world, so if we do not list a Surveyor based locally, please contact us to ask who is likely to be visiting the area soon.


The following forms must be completed and signed by the Owner/Managing Agent and the Nominated Surveyor and forwarded with the required fees to the YDSA before a Small Commercial Vessel Certificate can be issued:

  • SCV1 Application Form
  • SCV2A Compliance Document
  • SCV2B Supplementary Compliance Document (if Stability Booklet is required)
  • Stability Application Form (Sailing Vessels, Motor Vessels and RIBS) or Stability Information Booklet

Nominated Surveyor Grades

YDSA Nominated Surveyors are selected from our Membership of experienced Marine Surveyors and are divided into two levels, according to their qualifications and experience:

  • Level 1: Coding vessels in all categories; carrying 16 or more persons; lifting/towing; carrying more than 1 tonne of cargo and Pilot Boats.
  • Level 2: Coding vessels up to Category 2 not requiring a Stability Information Booklet.

See the directory of YDSA nominated surveyors on this site.

If you would like more information about obtaining a Small Commercial Vessel Certificate, please contact the YDSA Certifying Authority or talk to one of our Nominated Surveyors to arrange a Compliance Examination.

Swordsman 30


To download these forms, right-click and select Save Target As or Save Link As.
SCV1 - Application for 5 Year Examination
SCV3M - Application for 3 Month Extension
These forms are in fillable PDF format and a suitable PDF reader should be used. We recommend using Adobe Reader.


We now accept payments by Debit/Credit Card and by PayPal. We still accept payments by bank transfers and cheques - Please refer to the relevant forms for details.
New Applications For 5 Year Examinations
For vessels that will be new to us use this link for payments (remember to send us your completed SCV1):
Pay for a new application
Annual Renewals
For vessels due for their annual renewal (you may need your invoice/request for payment):
Pay for an annual renewal
5 Year Cycle Renewals
For vessels are due for their 5 year renewal use this link for payments (remember to send us your completed SCV1):
Pay for a 5 year renewal
Administration Fees
For various administration fees including retrieval and extension fees:
Pay administration fees

Certification Fees

as from 5th January 2015
LOA = Length Overall; LLL = Loadline Length
Application Fee for the issue of a compliance certificate (1st year and subsequent 5 year renewals)
Vessels under 15m LOA and not in the below criteria £140.00
Vessels between 15m and 19m LOA and not in the below criteria £265.00
Vessels under 19m LOA which are operating in Categories 0 or 1 OR carrying 16 or more persons, OR over 1000 Kg cargo, OR engaged in lifting, towing or Pilot Boat operations OR any other supplementaries £265.00
Vessels 19 - 24m LOA (LLL of <24m required for vessels >24m LOA) £380.00
Annual Renewal fee for the issue of a compliance certificate (years 2 to 5)
Price Band A
Annual renewal fee for vessels <15m not requiring annual examination by the Certifying Authority
Price Band B
Annual renewal fee for vessels >15m and <19m LOA requiring annual examination by the Certifying Authority
Price Band C
All vessels >19m
VAT is not payable on the above fees
Additional Fees
To obtain a Stability Category (applies to vessels not requiring a Stability Booklet) £75.00
MLC compliance £95.00
Administration Fee (e.g. issue of duplicate certificates) from *£55.00
Retrieval of files from archive (typically vessels that have not been coded for 2+ years) from *£25.00

* VAT is payable on the above fees

Charges for Stability Information Book Approval (if presented in the approved format - further fees may be charged if additional work is required)
Intact Stability *£515.00
Damaged Stability *£515.00
Sailing multihulls *£465.00

* VAT is payable on the above fees


Compliance Examination - Surveyor's Fees

The fees for the Compliance Examination are negotiated with and paid directly to the Surveyor. The quoted fee will be on the basis that the vessel is presented for examination complying fully with the Code requirements. An additional charge may be made for a return visit or providing assistance with stability information.


YDSA Certifying Authority Committee Members 2015

Ray Johnston, Derek Levy, (Joint Chairmen), David Cannell, Martin Evans, David Greening, Hugo Morgan-Harris, Martin Pittilo, Charles Rossiter, Chris Temple, Tony Tucker. Ad-hoc - Neil Edden



The Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association, The Glassworks, Penns Rd, Petersfield, GU32 3EW Tel: (01730) 710 425. Email: © The Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association.