From guidance to policy

On 6th September 2021 the new Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels (MSN 1871 Amendment 2) came into force. The new Code regulates new and existing fishing vessels of less than 15m length overall and introduces new requirements that are intended to reduce the high rate of fatalities in the fishing industry, approximately 100 times higher than that of the UK general workforce.

With regard to vessel stability and freeboard, key MAIB recommendations have now been implemented such as 2016/30 (F/V JMT) ‘...all existing vessels of under 15m to be marked using the Wolfson Method or assessed by use of another acceptable method’. For more information on the F/V JMT accident investigation and the Wolfson Unit’s involvement please see this news item.

Crucially, the new code states that ‘all vessels not required to hold a Stability Information Book must have a Wolfson Stability Notice posted on board the vessel, which gives information on the loading of the vessel and its effect on stability’. This new requirement applies to nearly all fishing vessels under 12m RL and to pre-2017 fishing vessels between 12m RL and 15m LOA.

The new Code also recommends that the Wolfson Freeboard Mark, which is integral to the Wolfson Stability Guidance presented in MGN 526(F), be applied to all pre-2021 fishing vessels that are not required to hold a Stability Information Book.

For more information of the Wolfson Unit’s vessel safety services, and to produce a Wolfson Stability Notice for your vessel, please see our Vessel Safety Page.

Wolfson Stability Notice