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Old 04 September 2001, 17:27   #1
Paul Glatzel's Avatar
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Chartering your RIB

This thread is posted following John’s request for me to start a discussion on the subject. I sincerely hope that I have not made any mistakes but this is a bit of a minefield of an area and the rules are constantly changing – and indeed vary according to which authority you speak to. I have tried to break this topic into manageable chunks – if you have questions please post them and I will do my best to answer them. Paul

What type of charter do you want to use your RIB for - Skippered or Bareboat?

The requirements for both are pretty much the same in terms of the RIB, the key difference being with skippered charter the skipper must have their qualifications ‘commercially endorsed’ (more of which later). The vast majority of RIBs available are only for skippered charter which is not hugely surprising when you consider how poorly some people treat items like hire cars. Check out for a site where you can advertise your boat (very very expensive to advertise though) for charter.

Do you have to code - can’t you get a local authority ‘licence’?

There was a way some while ago where some local authorities ‘licenced’ charter boats to operate within very strict areas. This is almost totally phased out now and there is no doubt that if you wish to charter your vessel you need to get it ‘coded’ (you will have probably noticed the MCA posters in boatyards asking you to call their hotline to inform them of unlicenced charterers)

What is ‘coding’

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) in association with numerous other organisations including the RYA have devised a set of rules and levels of coding that must be adhered to. In essence there are seven levels of coding which define the geographical area in which the charter vessel is allowed to operate:

Category 6: Within 3 miles of a Nominated Departure Point (NDP) and never more than 3 miles from land in favourable weather & daylight
Category 5: Within 20 miles of a NDP in favourable weather & daylight
Category 4: Up to 20 miles from a Safe Haven in favourable weather & 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

A RIB can be coded fairly easily (a broad interpretation of the word easy here!) to reach Cat 4 and subject to having “a substantial enclosure for the protection of persons on board…” might be accepted for Cat 3 or 2

What are NDPs and ‘Safe Havens’

The best way to consider a NDP is by example. The NDP for a boat operating from Poole is the chain ferry at the mouth of the harbour. The 3 or 20 miles is from this point. However if you operate from Lymington then the NDPs are at Hurst Castle and the Nab Tower thus giving a huge operating area – this is probably an exceptional example though – but does explain the attraction of basing a charter boat in the Solent!. A safe haven is simply a point of refuge like a harbour.

What kit do you need?

This varies according to the length of the vessel and the cat rating you choose to go for and the number of persons the vessel is being coded for. The best way to consider this is to look at the coding of my vessel and look at a reasonable number of the bits needed.

The boat: Avon 5.6m Dive Rescue (the forerunner to the Adventurer series – different colour same boat) with a 90hp Mercury. Originally I was seeking to get the boat coded to cat 3 however trying to create a ‘substantial enclosure’ on a 5.6m RIB I thought would prove too difficult/expensive (Jon Clift though has coded an identical boat to cat 3), I’ve thus settled on cat4.

The kit:

Liferaft!! When the codes were first published it was stated that RIBs under 6m didn’t need liferafts. This has been recinded following an objection by ‘The Professional Boatman’s Association’ who objected to the fact that RIBs under 6m were as likely to catch fire as any other RIB thus why exclude them. Cost for 4 person liferaft c£800-£1000. I don’t actually have a problem with this as I can understand the logic however my brand new liferaft with a four year service interval needs servicing every year to accord with the rules!

Electrics: Twin battery installation, twin high powered bilge pumps (one manual), fixed & h/h VHF (optional), searchlight (for Advanced course work)

Radar reflector, VHF, Barometer (yes a barometer), 4kg fire extinguisher (very big!!), two anchors (both with c15m chain, c30m warp – one c6kg, the other c8kg – very big), lots of flares, a grab bag for the liferaft (more flares, thermal bags, inflatable radar reflector (c£200!!!), knives, lifejackets ( for 4 persons I must carry 6 lifejackets as mine are inflatable), deviation cards, safety instructions, big first aid kit and lots lots more!

There is a lot of kit to buy and I estimate I’ve spent c£1800, ironically the hardest part is storage as there is a real limit re space and accommodating a liferaft and an enormous anchor is not easy!

Why bother coding?

I think there are two reasons to code:

- To offer boat charter services
- To broaden the scope of the courses a RYA school can offer.

My reason was the latter with the boat charter being an added bonus. When the RYA accredited my school (accredited for up to/including Advanced courses) they code the boat to a slight variation on Cat 6. The boat can operate up to 3 miles from the NDP day or night. I felt this limited the ability to offer passages and cruises as part of extended courses and also prevented me doing any corporate entertainment work. I questioned the MCA and the RYA about how they view the extra day ‘bolted’ onto a level 2/advanced course. The MCA said no one had ever mentioned this and they felt it fell outside the ‘licence’ applied by the RYA whilst the RYA said they were okay if the course/extra day followed the ‘essence’ of the RYA scheme – yes I was confused too!

What about the skipper?

If undertaking skippered charter the skipper must hold ‘commercially endorsed’ qualifications. For cat 4 this means

- Advanced course
- MCA medical
- Sea survival course
- First aid qualified
- Approved (30 hour) engine course

Required books

Cat 5 & 6: ‘Red book’ – The code of practice for the Safety of Small Vessels in Commercial use for Sport or pleasure operating from a NDP’
Cat 4 – 0: ‘Yellow book’ - The safety of small commercial motor vessels – a code of practice
These are available from the Stationary Office on 0870 600 5522


Legally any charter boat must be coded. I know plenty of boats that aren’t but still do charter work and this is a decision for each owner to make. I made the decision that I couldn’t run the risk of being held ‘at fault’ in the event of an accident and therefore am adhering to the code. I don’t believe these codes are well understood and I think some RYA schools fall foul let alone ‘normal’ charter companies. I believe it is very difficult to make much money from chartering (except Cowes/Americas Cup type events) and most boats just contribute to their costs. I suspect I may have put many people off the thought of chartering - hopefully I might have saved some some money

I am no expert on this subject but do feel free to post questions and I will try to answer them

Questions for the forum

- Who of you are making money from chartering
- Are many chartering and falling foul/don’t know about the rules

Paul Glatzel

Powerboat Training UK, Poole &

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Old 05 September 2001, 10:56   #2
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Paul, you say that with chartering most boats just contribute to their costs. Do you believe this happens because chartering is expensive (is it?), bad weather enormously affects operations?
other reason?

Thanks a lot

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Old 05 September 2001, 12:42   #3
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It is only opinion that not much money is to be made from chartering and I only have anecdotal evidence to support the view. For example though another Instructor I know borrows a fully coded boat for training when he needs a second boat or is doing advanced. The guy he borrows off had the 7.5m RIB set up for charter at significant cost yet never gets any business for it so its always available (Solent based). Clearly there is business out there however there are a lot of charter boats and is there really that much charter business such that each boat makes a good amount.

Over to the visitors to this forum. What have you all heard/experienced re chartering - is there money to be made, is it legal or 'illegal' boats doing the work. What are your views?
Paul Glatzel
Powerboat Training UK, Poole & Lymington & Aquasafe Powerboat School, Lymington,
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Old 05 September 2001, 14:16   #4
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Your link to appears to end up at a site for Amiga computor owners. Could you confirm the link please. Many thanks.
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Old 05 September 2001, 16:28   #5
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Sorry it is
Paul Glatzel
Powerboat Training UK, Poole & Lymington & Aquasafe Powerboat School, Lymington,
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Old 18 January 2004, 08:58   #6
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sorry for dredging this post up from the past but its one of the better ones on coding a boat and Paul give some very useful advice (as apposed to some of the threads that have become lost in RCD drivel).

Anyway on to the main point, I have found a link to the various codes that people ask about. Should make some interesting winter reading for those thinking of chartering there boats.

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Old 18 January 2004, 10:43   #7
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Paul, sorry to go off on a tangent but do you know if Jon Clift is still in the 'training game' these days?

I did a couple of courses with him a few years back and when i tried to get in tough with him again it seem'd that he'd disappeared off the face of the earth!

His old website is now another training companies??


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Old 18 January 2004, 10:57   #8
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A good guide indicating what's required to enable people to decide whether or not it's worth chartering.

Just a couple of things that are about to change.
The codes are currently being "Harmonised" by the MCA - ie they are all being put in one book. There are not many changes proposed but one that will help everyone is that liferafts can be serviced at manufacturers service intervals.
Unfortunately there is also a proposal that all RIBs will require regular over pressure tests of the tubes. I feel that many may have problems with this as it requires a minimal pressure loss overnight. Mine always needs topping up in the morning!

At the moment the consultation period for the code has ended and the final issue is being finalised. MCA won't give a date for implementation but April this year is favourite.

I carry out coding inspections for the MCA via YBDSA and if anyone has any specific questions regarding the requirements please feel free to ask.

Pete - you refer to "RCD drivel". This is a subject often misunderstood and this is something the company I work for also specialises in. If anyone has any questions please ask me or look at which has explanations of what vessels need to comply.

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Old 18 January 2004, 11:27   #9
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Hi All,
Below is from the yellow book:

1.2 The Code has been developed for application to United Kingdom motor vessels of up to 24 metres Load Line length which are engaged at sea in activities on a commercial basis and which do not carry cargo or more than 12 passengers.

"which proceeds to sea"

From the definitions

“To sea” means beyond category D waters, or category C waters if there are no category D waters;

Would anyone like to confirm what category of water the Solent is?
Then tell me where it says that i have to code my boat in the solent?

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Old 18 January 2004, 11:36   #10
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Cat c or d waters are normally inland waters, shelted esturies and harbours. I will try and dig out the pdf with the info.

There is some more info coming soon with regards to commercial vessels operating in cat waters.

JG Marine Services Ltd Specialist Safety Boat Services

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