MCA Coded vessels – Marine Guidance Note MGN 280 (M)

In 2004, the MCA published Marine Guidance Note MGN 280 (M) Small Vessels in Commercial Use for Sport or Pleasure, Workboats and Pilot Boats – Alternative Construction Standards.

This set of standards was based upon the Yellow and Blue Codes and attempted to draw together harmonised standards for small commercial vessels that could be used as an alternative to the four earlier Codes.  However, in the intervening years, concerns have arisen about the validity of MGN 280 (M) which have led to revision of regulations for workboats and pilot boats.

Workboats and pilot boats must now use the Revised Workboat Code, published in December 2018 and available here:

For commercial vessels used purely for sport or pleasure charter a new code is being developed.  In the interim, MGN 280 (M) may continue to be used for UK vessels up to 24 metres load line length, which:

  • are engaged at sea in activities on a commercial basis
  • carry no more than 1000kg cargo / not more than 12 passengers, and
  • are used purely for purposes of sport or pleasure.

Full information on the MCA Codes of Practice can be found on the MCA website:

If you are operating your vessel commercially, or are considering providing commercial services (e.g. chartering) with your leisure vessel, Blabey Engineering Limited can help you interpret the regulations and find the right MCA Code of Practice to suit your operation. I have extensive experience in overseeing the design, build and operation of a wide range of vessels in compliance with the Codes, and have – throughout some 18 years – contributed to the work of the MCA and industry groups to devise and update them.


Contact us