Charterers & Boat Owners

All UK vessels in commercial use up to 24 metres load line length, which go to sea are required by law to comply with one of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Small Craft Codes.

Vessels that meet the MGN 280 code or one of the other specialist small craft codes are issued with Certificates by the IIMS Certifying Authority, which is approved by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

IIMS Certifying Authority Registered Examiners are authorised to carry out vessel coding and compliance examinations for certification by the IIMS and are shown in the IIMS Certifying Authority directory on this site.

Read our article Vessel Coding for Dummies

The IIMS uses the “The Harmonised Code MGN 280” for vessel coding covering:
• 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 use of each vessel are considered and the category approved will depend upon the nature of its operations, distance from a safe haven, limiting weather and whether overnight passages are to be undertaken.

So which category is right for you and your vessel?
Category 6: To sea within 3 miles from a nominated departure point(s) named in the certificate and never more than 3 miles from land in favourable weather and daylight.
Category 5: To sea within 20 miles from a nominated departure point named in the certificate in favourable weather and daylight.
Category 4: Up to 20 miles from a safe haven in favourable weather and in daylight.
Category 3: Up to 20 miles from a safe haven.
Category 2: Up to 60 miles from a safe haven.
Category 1: Up to 150 miles from a safe haven.
Category 0: Unrestricted service.

How to choose an IIMS Certifying Authority Examiner

The IIMS Certifying Authority Examiners are all Full members of the International Institute of Marine Surveying and are not employed by us. You may select any of the Certifying Authority Examiners to carry out the vessel coding inspection. Click to search the full list of IIMS CA surveyors and examiners.

Transferring your vessel(s) to the IIMS Certifying Authority
If you are already registered with another Certifying Authority, you can transfer to the IIMS at no extra cost should you so wish. In that event, you as the vessel owner must write to your current Certifying Authority and ask them to transfer the documents to the IIMS. 

You may wish to do this for commercial or practical reasons, or because you wish to change coding examiner to one registered and approved by the IIMS.

Our helpful brochure will explain why you might want to consider coding your vessel(s) through the IIMS Certifying Authority. Click here to read it.

Vessel coding overseas

The IIMS Certifying Authority Examiners cover the whole world with some actually living in overseas locations. But if in doubt, contact the IIMS HQ for details of an individual member’s location.

To discuss any matter regarding MCA vessel coding please call David Parsons in the IIMS Certifying Authority department on +44 (0) 23 92 313014 (Ext: 225) or email.