I wanted to drop you a line thanking you and your team for the exceptional support you gave me leading up to my Coastal Exam. M Dartmouth, YM Coastal Course


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SCV Coding

SCV coded boat at anchor

What is SCV Coding?

Small Commercial Vessel (SCV) Coding is a legal requirement for any owner with a vessel of 24m (80') in length or less wishing to operate commercially. Commercial operation can simply be defined as use of a vessel to carry more than 12 passengers, or in any case operating for any financial gain to the owner. The SCV Code is upheld by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) on behalf of the British Government and refers to British flagged vessels only.

Benefits of Owning a Coded Vessel

  • SCV coding your boat will carry a number of benefits some of which are listed below:You will be entitled to reclaim the majority of the VAT provided that you paid the VAT during the purchase. You will have to discuss the amount of personal use with HMRC and they will then offer you the commercial portion of the VAT (eg if you use the boat for personal use 10% of the season the VAT man will withhold 10% of the VAT)
  • Reclaim duty on all items for the boat intended for commercial use, this includes but is not limited to:
    Berthing fees
    The VAT on the cost of the coding
  • As a commercial vessel owner you will be eligible for red diesel prices as well as the duty on each litre of fuel; this is a substantial saving
  • Your vessel will be operating under higher safety standards due to the mandatory equipment and vessel physical changes required by the SCV code, making it safer for you to use when out with family and friends.

What Does Coding Entail?

Marine Matters provides the one stop shop for SCV coding. Whether you are buying a new boat or SCV coding an existing vessel we can organise everything from ordering the paperwork on day one to attending the final survey and processing paperwork to complete the coding. All work will be carried out with the utmost care for your boat. We will do everything possible to ensure that all our structural work maintains the appearance of the original structure and crucially works to your instructions, and that safety equipment is placed as discreetly as possible while adhering to the SCV code. This will include:

  1. All paperwork relating to the SCV1, SCV2, stability category allocation and the issuing of the stability book
  2. Complete stability test with full compliment of passengers, crew, safety equipment and stores
  3. Write the required training manual, which will be specific to the vessel
  4. Order and fit all sign writing as required
  5. Organise and oversee the necessary skilled professionals to complete work on the mechanics, electrics and the boat building modifications
  6. Order, take delivery of and fit all required safety equipment
  7. Liaise and meet with the Surveyor for all necessary inspections
  8. Commit to a one year warranty on all parts and labour supplied by Marine Matters

Choosing The Correct SCV Code 

This can be confusing! The MCA are doing a lot to simplify this with the introduction of the new Harmonised SCV code which will incorporate all the different existing SCV codes. However, this is not yet passed as law so may be used or alternatively you may continue to use the older system. When the Harmonised SCV code is passed into law it will be the only code that can be used for small commercial vessel. However, you choose to code your boat the systems are very similar and are split into 7 categories with 6 being the easiest to achieve and 0 being the most difficult.

CategoryDescription of Limitations
6To sea, within 3 miles of a nominated departure point(s) and never more than 3 miles from land in favourable conditions and daylight
5To sea, within 20 miles of a nominated departure point(s) in favourable weather and daylight
4Up to 20 miles from a safe haven, in favourable weather and in daylight
3Up to 20 miles from a safe haven
2Up to 60 miles from a safe haven
1Up to 150 miles from a safe haven
0 (zero)Unrestricted
  1. The requirements for Category 0 are particularly demanding and should only be used if you intend to carry out ocean sailing

  2. The vast majority of boats are certified in category 2 because this will cover crossing the English Channel, Irish & North Seas as well as the inside route round the Bay of Biscay into the Mediterranean

  3. It is possible to have dual certification by varying the inventory and manning for more information about this contact us with details of the different types of operation you intend to engage in

  4. Important: These categories should not be confused with Design Categories of the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) which are governed by significant wave height and wind speed

  5. There are more stringent requirements for boats between 15m and 24m or carrying more than 15 persons. These include enhanced stability documentation and increased frequency of inspections

  6. The SCV Code sets out the requirements and the boat is examined against a checklist called the SCV 2 Compliance Document. This covers all aspect of the vessels documentation, seaworthiness, fittings, engines and machinery, safety equipment and fire fighting provision. This is used by the surveyor to ensure that the code is adhered to as specified by the MCA

  7. The Certificate of Compliance is effective for a period of five years of the initial hull survey but requires annual inspection by the owner or management agent and the servicing of all safety equipment in order to remain compliant with the Code. During the third year the vessel must be inspected in the water by the surveyor

  8. Re-validation is required upon change of ownership

  9. The Owner / Managing Agent will have to sign documents which commit them to the following:

    1. To maintain the vessel in a sound and seaworthy condition

    2. To report to the Certifying Authority any changes to the details shown on the compliance form

    3. To notify the Certifying Authority of any collision or grounding, fire or other event causing major damage. The Certifying Authority must approve the nature and extent of repairs

    4. If the vessel is over 15m or carries more than 15 persons, to have the vessel examined annually by a Certifying Authority Surveyor

    5. To make the vessel available for examination by the Certifying Authority at any time during the validity of the Small Commercial Vessel Certificate

    If you would like a quote for SCV coding please email info@marine-matters.co.uk with details of the boat type and code required.

RYA Course Map

The Course Map shows the order in which the RYA courses should be taken.


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