Author: Kerrie Forster

Association Revisited: The Conception of the Workboat Association

Norman Finlay MBE, FCMS: First Secretary of the Workboat Association gives his story on how the Association was conceived and some of the challenges it has overcome.

“Tom explained what they wanted to do, we were to create a Code that would be a combination of the best Industry Practice and the necessary Statuary Regulations “…

How did the (then called National Workboat Association) first become formed.

In 1994 I was elected President of the Society of Consulting Marine Engineers and Ship Surveyors and in that position I was a top table guest at the annual dinner in London of The Institute of Naval Architects. Sitting next to me at the dinner was Tom Allen of the then MSA (Maritime Safety Agency), Tom was at the time head of a new Code section which had just finalised a new safety code for Commercial Pleasure Vessels 

We got on well together since it transpired that he had been born about 400 yards from me in Belfast and that he had been for a short time my Brother’s Apprentice in the famous Harland & Wolfs Shipyard in Belfast. He asked me if I thought that our Society would like to become a Certifying Authority for these new Codes.

After a little thought I suggested to him that a good sector to target any new work towards would be Workboats, (this being based on my 19 years’ experience with these vessels at the Westminster Dredging Company). He responded “do you mean Tugs?”, “No!” I replied  “all those smaller boats working with Marine Civil Engineers doing harbour works , laying buoys, anchors, carrying out local towage ,assisting with dredging and surveying  but generally doing  jobs not carried by tugs. I  explained about the new Multicats and Eurocarriers and the type of work that they carried out”.

He explained that he was a ‘Big Ship Man’ and that he did not have any experience of these  types of vessels. I arranged for him to meet me in Southampton and I showed him some of the local Workboats.  Tom soon agreed with what I had suggested for a new code, but in order to take the matter forward – he would like to meet with representatives of the Industry and explain the possibilities. I was tasked with arranging the Industry Representatives. 

Through my experience as both an Operator and Surveyor I knew many of the other Workboat Owners and Operators. I talked it through with several contacts and soon a small group of the more influential and enthusiastic Owners had formed and we were keen to get something sorted out and agreed. 

At that time one big problem the Workboat industry faced was the fact that there was no legislation suited for these types of vessels and problems often arose if a vessel was inspected by an MCA Surveyor. Recommendations from Surveyors often differed and at times it caused a lot of unnecessary cost and delay for Owners. For those involved a new standard Code would be a great step forward.

In the Autumn of 1994 a meeting was held at the MCA offices in Spring Place, Southampton with representatives from the MCA, Class, possible Certifying Authorities and Workboat Owners [both large and small]. Tom explained what they wanted to do, we were to create a Code that would be a combination of the best Industry Practice and the necessary Statuary Regulations.  After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed by those present that the scheme was in the best interests of the Industry and the Code was conceived.

Who were the original Members

  • Norman Finlay: Independent Surveyor, President of the SCMS
  • Colin Weaver:   Marine Superintendent, Westminster Dredging Ltd.
  • Mark Meade:  Holyhead Towing Co. Ltd. /  Owner
  • Dirk Kuyt:          Maritime Craft,  Clyde, Ltd / Owner
  • Mike Stansfeld:    Coastal Launch Services Ltd. / Owner
  • Peter Smith:           Marine Superintendent, Williams Shipping Ltd.

What was your role during those early days

After the initial meeting the National Workboat Association was formed with Colin Weaver being elected as Chairman. I acted as Secretary (general dogsbody!) until the year 2011 when Mark Ransom was elected as the Association’s Secretary.

Shortly after the Code was finalised Colin Weaver stood down as Chairman and in the year 2000 Mark Meade was elected in his place. Part of my role was to liaise with the MCA regarding Members queries (of which there were many) and to advise the members on what they could and could not do. The Code favoured Classed vessels and since many of the older fleet were not Classed; it was quite a chore getting the necessary approvals in place to issue certificates.

Did the structure of the Association quickly become what it is today or did this take time to develop.

When the Code was completed in 1998 it was agreed that due to the wide variation in both age and types of vessel it would be put in place on a voluntary basis until the 31st December 1999, after which it would become a Statuary Document and a requirement for all Workboats and Pilot Boats which put to sea. One of the benefits of the voluntary period was that it sorted out some of those Owners who were not keen to put the time and effort in to bring their vessels up to the required standards causing them to leave the Industry thus making it a safer place to work for those still working in it.

Initially there was a lot of interest in the Association from the industry in general but gradually it developed into a group of Owners / Operators who wished to set Industry Standards and who were willing to expand their business and also work overseas. It took time to develop the industry but slowly and surely Owners and their fleets have developed,  moved forwards and are now working all over the world.

Development overall was slow but steady, however when the Offshore Windfarms started to be constructed it brought a new dimension to the Industry which required some different types of vessels, ones that could carry more people and travel much faster than before. Also with the development of the original vessel types and their ability to work further afield and Overseas – it became apparent that there was a need for a new type of Crew Certificate. When the Workboat Code was first envisaged there were no Certificates available at that level, for someone to be considered the “Master of the Vessel”.  It was agreed however that the existing RYA certificates would be acceptable for work within the UK area and personnel were encouraged to get these.  This was fine for UK Operations but as more and more vessels were working Overseas it became apparent that due to the requirements of other Flag States; a different approach was required.  A request was made to the MCA for them to consider agreeing to a special certificate for Masters of Workboats. Their response was the offer to put in place a 200 ton Certificate which would cover the necessary Workboat requirements and which they felt would be acceptable to other Flag States. This offer was accepted and put into practice and has been a great success, so much so that there is now a follow up 500 ton certificate in place.

Another first for the Association was the Voluntary Towing Endorsement which Masters could qualify for to show that they had the experience and knowledge to safely and professionally carry out the towage operations.

As previously stated progress was slow but sure, however at all times the Association has tried to anticipate what was going to be required in the future and take the necessary steps to ensure that nothing got in the way of progress. Safety of vessels and personnel has at all times been paramount.

What was one of your big highlights since the Associations conception.

There have several highlights for me personally during this period, one was being awarded the  “ Lifetime Achievement award “at Seawork in 2013 and another was the award of the MBE from the Queen for services to shipping which I know was put forward by the Association.

However one other thing which gives me great pleasure is the dinner which takes place at Seawork.  When we started the Association it was agreed that we would support Seawork as both an organisation and individuals. However it soon became clear that a lot of our members knew each other through telephone conversations about business but had never actually met face to face.  With that in mind my wife and I thought it would be good for the members to meet socially – and so we organised a barbecue in the garden of our house! 

We originally started with about 40 guests, but over the ensuing years this number doubled and we transferred the venue to the Chilworth Manor Hotel which my wife arranged for many years with the hotel being very accommodating and cost conscious to the Association. The barbecues and dinners were a great success and I got a lot of pleasure from seeing the members enjoying themselves. It was also very good for the Association since it fostered a good trusting and open atmosphere amongst the members.

What occupies your time these days.

These days I am, I suppose, retired – but I still do some vessel valuations and occasionally do a little bit of consulting on specialist topics. I also still attend meetings with the MCA on matters concerning the Code and Workboats, but generally I hope for each quiet sunny day when I can have my coffee on the terrace and reflect on what used to be!

Association Revisited: Origin of the Safety Forum

We look back at some of the key events from the past 25 years and hear from the people involved and where they are now.

This month we learn about the origins of the WA Safety Forum from it’s first Chairman; Philip Woodcock.

“Of all the significant achievements that the Safety Forum has achieved; that initial trust and openness was the juncture that I am most proud to have been a part of.”

How did the Safety Forum originate?

The idea germinated following the 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM), at the event were the Senior Management of some companies who had all recently suffered some ‘much-known’ incidents within their fleets but no-body was openly discussing their experiences or the lessons learned from the MAIB investigations they had all undergone. In fact, nothing at all was said about any of the events! I was concerned, there was a critical interest to me as an operator to learn more from the industry following such safety cases.  Negatively my reaction was to re-consider my companies involvement with the [then named] NWA, I contacted Mark Meade who was Chairman at the time to ventilate my concerns. Mark’s response was clear and simple, “I agree Phil, – What are you going to do about it?” 

My Managing Director at the time (Jan-Dirk Hudig, Workships Contractors and Offshore Wind Services) greatly supported my concern and gave me the permission to devote some of my time to the NWA for the purpose of supporting the start of the Safety Forum and subsequently I was made the first Safety Forum Chairman.

Can you remember the first Safety forum, what was it like?

The model we used to structure the meeting was that of the IMCA Renewables Workgroup of which I was a member1, where there was always an informal “Safety Pause” each meeting. This remains a non-minuted section of the meeting and it allows members time to share important safety experiences and lessons learned in confidence. The Forum agenda also included developing and formalising industry ‘Good Practices’ which were being performed by the members and supported by the secretariat. 

The first meeting was held at the JPMA Training Centre in Hoylake, it was very comical because the meeting did not give the appearance of openness and sharing! We managed to get most of the major members in the room which was our first success, though they were also serious commercial rivals – which demanded a different relationship in this setting. Many attendees sat with their arms crossed looking at the floor, and when the aforementioned Safety Pause began initially one could hear a pin drop! Despite the cautious start, the membership agreed it was a good idea and the initial piece of collaborative work was agreed; to collect some simple safety statistics.

Subsequent meetings became very dynamic and collaborative, and there was almost a competition with who could be the ‘most open’. Over the years, the level of trust became such, that members discussed and sought assistance with safety issues from one another outside of the Forum (a short time previous these events would have never become public knowledge). Of all the significant achievements that the Safety Forum has achieved; that initial trust and openness was the juncture that I am most proud to have been a part of.

1The WA remains a member of the IMCA Renewable Energy Safety Committee in 2020, Kerrie Forster (WA CEO) holds the regular attendance, with Neil Clarkson (Windcat Workboats) his second.

What were the first goals of the Forum?

It was quite simple;

  • To have a place where small vessel safety was the prime objective – The larger NWA had other issues to focus on like the Workboat Code and their close relationship with the MCA and Government.
  • To gather and make public some key safety indicators. At the time IMCA was gathering statistics from their members, of which some were workboat operators and the G+ had just issued their first statistics. As neither reflected workboats accurately it was felt that hard data was needed so that the NWA Board could honestly answer the question if asked “is the industry safe or not?”.

Where are you now?

I left the Netherlands where I lived at the time and moved back to Canada in July 2018. I grew up in Victoria, BC and wanted to spend some time with my parents as they are getting older. I now have a house overlooking Haro Strait, where I can see all the ships heading to and from the Pacific to Vancouver.

I finished working with the NWA in September 2016 when my company Workships Contractors sold its Coded Workboat fleets (Offshore Wind Services and OWPMS) to Acta Marine – who remain members.

What does a day in your life look like today?

Since moving to Canada, I started my own maritime consultancy, Wyndward Maritime ( Simply put; I help the Owners and Operators of Ships solve problems.

As an independent contractor no two days are ever the same. I am either working with a Client or doing business development to try and get new Clients. The Maritime Industry in Western Canada is very different to that of Northern Europe,  there is not the volume of offshore work underway.  A large amount of work is undertaken by tugs and barges, but they are generally controlled by a few larger Operators. Due to the protectionist rules here, it is very difficult for non-Canadian Operators to compete in Canadian water – as they need Canadian Flagged vessels and Canadian certified Seamen. Canada do not recognise foreign certificates and do not have a regime to allow Certificates of Equivalent Competency, so I cannot use my British CoC on a Canadian Ship.

I also continue my work with Workboats here and have worked with one small vessel Operator to develop and certify their Safety Management System, with their intention to perform crew transfer duties using mono-hull whale watching vessels as CTVs for the ‘LNG Canada’ project in Kitimat supporting Boskalis. That company looked at importing ex-windfarm CTVs from Europe, but the cost to reflag was prohibitive.

I have also worked on the quality system for a local Ship Repair Yard, performed ISM and ISPS Audits for a Cruise Line and a local Ferry Operator. I have helped a small Cruise Operator getting a foreign built vessel into Canadian Registration and I am currently providing project management support to a Cruise Line who are lengthening three vessels, which is a new area for me. As you can see, no two days are the same and as I am writing this I am working on a cruise ship currently crossing the Atlantic!

Do you visit Europe/ UK still?

I am fortunate that work sends me over to Europe fairly frequently. My oldest Client, ‘Dropsafe’ (the Offshore Industry leader in dropped object prevention) has asked me to support them at Offshore Energy in Amsterdam for the last two years – which has been great fun. My current project seems me in the shipyard in Palermo, Italy on a regular basis, which is four long flights from Victoria, but a nice place to be in Winter. It is fascinating to see a ship chopped in two and then put back together.

Member Profile: Chris Stopford, Alphasea Marine

Indvidual Corporate Member ‘Chris Stopford’ provides us a view into his career and the world of a Self-Employed Mariner.

What is the history of Alphasea Marine Ltd?

I began working as ‘Alphasea Marine Ltd’ originally in 2002 to fulfil a Leisure and Small Commercial Vessel delivery service, as well as numerous local and near European vessel deliveries; it included the deliveries of two ex-Admiralty Tugs’ to destinations in the Mediterranean and Trans-Atlantic.

What projects are you currently involved in?

The mainstay of my current business in 2020 is to provide relief cover of Masters or Deckhands in the CTV industry. It has provided full-time employment in the past, however due to the nature of the Windfarm CTV business, last minute cover is often required when full-time crew are unable to attend. It means being fast, flexible and able to complete various inductions at short notice, this linked with the ability to travel and learn new management systems and vessel layouts quickly.

What was your background before ASM?

A life spent at sea, but not doing the same thing.  I left school at 16 and started commercial fishing in the Thames Estuary. An astute fishing skipper taught me at that young age the art of dead reckoning using a compass, clock and depth sounder and it inspired me to learn more!  For 15 years I fished around most of the UK in various vessels, but Scalloping in the Irish Sea and Trawling from Whitby were the most memorable, as well as a season on Seine netters on Dogger Bank [from Grimsby]. This was before modern mechanical rope-drums; lifting and stowing coils of rope on deck from the Beccles rope coiler was my job, doing 18 day trips on a wooden 55 footer! 

After some time, and with the decline of the fishing  fleet, I sold my fishing business and sailed away to Mediterranean with my wife and 2 children.  Whilst living in the south of France fate led me to becoming Captain on a 55m Private Yacht with 12 crew for the next 12 years.  – Although Mediterranean based, every winter we went to the Caribbean, Florida or oppositely to the Seychelles. 

On returning to live in UK, I operated as an RYA Instructor on the Scottish West Coast before starting as a CTV Master and Marine Superintendent in the Offshore Wind sector [2009 onwards].

What services do you offer?

Along with the previously mentioned; I have learnt how important a good network is in this industry! It’s a case “who you know” and what you can do for them.

In recent years the following projects have all been completed:-

  • The setting up of a training scheme for a Jackup barge business, training aimed at the recruitment of new entrants into the Jackup sector. Providing a tailor made training system to introduce new recruits to the marine aspect of the Jackup industry. We put large emphasis on ropework, knots, splices and heaving lines, as well as classroom activities that were relevant to their job. This covered learning sessions on weather and tides, and a basic introduction to safe working practices for life on a Jackup.
  • I often perform vessel inspections and thorough/practical Sea-trialing to determine maneuvering characteristics and vessel/equipment condition for purchasing, modifications, reparations or other.
  • In-depth research projects into practical aspects of technological developments for Workboats. Example:- if  a company introduces a new product or idea for a vessel, how will it affect the vessels operations and the crews familiarisation or need for further training.
  • Crewing services
  • Vessel deliveries
  • Dry-dock or project based Superintendence works
  • I am also working part-time as a Duty Harbour Master for a small Port, it involves hands-on operation with a large variety of different sized vessels on a routine basis

What has been the most memorable Workboat experience so far?

So many to choose from! But, there are a few highlights;

Once I was guided by a VTS authority to a large object adrift in hazy conditions by their radar. We duly assessed that it was a large ships mooring buoy that was loose, we conducted a retrieval operation of the buoy as it was risk to shipping.

Similarly, another VTS warned us one day, of a large piece of timber spotted by a small vessel adrift in a major harbour. We offered to recover it, which they accepted, and it ended up becoming the large feature lintel over our fireplace in the new house I was building at the time!

An ongoing experience I get great pleasure from, is seeing younger crews and career starters gain valuable skills and confidence through my (and other peers) guidance and instruction.

Do you find it easy to transfer skills across the various sectors of the maritime industry you are involved in?

With some caution, yes.  For example, one particular technician I remember being a regular passenger onboard one of my vessel, taught me everything I needed to know about carrying out lifting operations safely. His clear precise attitude, his toolbox talks, coaching, energy and his dedication to the operation is something I often use and have never forgotten.

It comes back to my statement earlier about meeting and working (and learning) from people you respect.  Only when you have worked with someone who has confidently and clearly shown you a new skill, can you start to implement it.

What advice could you offer any persons looking to go self-employed within the water-based maritime industry?

Self-employment in the marine industry is (I think), becoming less popular. As the workboat industry continues to mature, I have seen more companies employing crews as full time employees rather than contractors or sole proprietors/ sole traders. Offering services under a limited company, with associated liability insurance, has been a requirement in obtaining work in the past, but that has in my eyes ‘evolved’ rather than being a planned event.

Think carefully before jumping into self-employment, especially if you have domestic financial commitments. But, I am proud of Alphasea and what it [I] has achieved over the years. If anyone wants the challenge of self-employment, then “nothing succeeds like success!”.


Wanted or Needed?

An article by maritime writer Captain Henk Hensen

Read the latest article written by Capt. Henk Hensen here:


Author Biographic

Captain Henk Hensen is a Master Mariner F.G. and got his master’s certificate for all ships, unlimited, in 1964. After his career at sea he became a Port of Rotterdam pilot for 23 years.

Following his pilot career, he continued to work as marine consultant on the nautical aspects of port studies, harbour tug advice, simulator research and training, etc.

As an author he published amongst others the book “Ship Bridge Simulators. A Project Handbook” (1999), “Tug Use in Port” (3rd edition 2019); “Bow Tug Operations with Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs” (3rd edition 2016), a section of the book IMPA on Pilotage (2014), “Tug Stability. A Practical Guide to Safe Operations”, with co-author Dr. Markus van der Laan (2016), and numerous articles in maritime magazines.

Captain Hensen is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute and of the International Tugmasters Association and member of the International Federation of Shipmasters.

In 2010 he was elected as tug personality of the year by the British Tugowners Association.

Member Profile: Ray Douds, Port Of Tyne

How long have you been working at the Port Of Tyne and what is your current role?

I joined the Port Of Tyne just over seven years ago as the Marine Services Manager. I have responsibilities to deliver safe and efficient maritime services to meet the needs of our customers and clients alike. Principally I am responsible for the safe and efficient management of the Ports commercial Workboats, Pilot Launches, MultiCat Plough Dredger, and Hydrographic Survey Vessel. – Another key aspect of my role is to ensure that these vessels are both maintained and certified in strict compliance with the Workboat Code.

What is the history and current main operations at the Port Of Tyne?

Once world-renowned for coal exports – the Port of Tyne has diversified in recent times to ensure it can keep pace with the global economy and its customers’ varying needs. It is now one of the UK’s largest deep-sea ports, one of Europe’s largest car exporters and one of the largest handlers of wood pellet in the world.

With the mission of creating a vibrant and sustainable Port recognised for outstanding customer service and as a great place to work and do business. The Port receives no government funding, it is run on a commercial basis and reinvests all profits back into the Port for the benefit of all of its stakeholders, who are customers, employees, business, government and the community.

Operating in bulks, break-bulk, offshore, rail-freight, automotive logistics, cruise and ferry, and, port centric logistics, the Port also has a portfolio of commercial property. Offering unrivalled agility, security and flexibility for global shippers, manufactures and retailers.

When and where did you first start your career within the maritime sector?

I began my maritime career eighteen years ago right here in South Shields, serving ten years with the local Shields Ferry Service. In that role I was responsible for the operation of up to three 350 passenger vessels (Class 5) and their crews, along with ensuring strict compliance with all relevant MCA codes of practice.

Do you get to go to sea often in your role?

The main body of my role involves an obvious amount of office based managerial activities, I do however try my best to get out onto the water whenever the opportunity arises, whether this be on a fine summers day or an inclement winters evening. I genuinely believe that you should always maintain an ‘on the job’ realisation of your deliverable services. Sea-trials following major engineering works being one of my favourite excuses to escape the office!

Are there any projects or big news for the Port Of Tyne coming in the near future?

Port Of Tyne is preparing to take advantage of its close proximity, (closer than any other port to some of the world’s largest offshore wind farms). Only 96 nautical miles from Dogger Bank, it is ideally placed to become a major centre for the manufacture and maintenance of these wind farms.

Investing in the long term – the Port’s ‘Tyne 2050‘ strategic aims will see it devise an infrastructure master plan and land usage plan by 2021. In a bid to make port infrastructure ‘future proof’ in the face of increasing vessel size by incorporating plans for automisation and new technology by 2030. Tyne 2050 also sees the Port aspire to become a clean energy test bed by 2025 and be all-electric by 2040.

Utilising new technology and open innovation through the UK’s first maritime Innovation Hub; the Port of Tyne is already collaborating with sector representatives to meet the challenges facing the “blue economy” and to provide solutions across the spectrum of maritime logistics.

What gives you the best reward in your daily role?

When heading out to work, I genuinely look forward to the day ahead and the challenges it may bring – as every day is certainly different! Having worked within the maritime sector for almost twenty years I find myself able to effectively deliver the needs of the business in-line with the requirements of our customers. However, the best reward without doubt has to be applying my experience to ensuring the operational safety of our staff.

If you had one “Christmas wish” to benefit the Port of Tyne, what would it be?

Please can we have a new Pilot Boat and another one of those ‘big blue Quayside Cranes’!

Revisit: Understanding Fatigue

At Seawork 2018 the Workboat Association launched the ‘Understanding Fatigue’ safety poster which was developed in conjunction with the MCA and The Shipowners’ Club, to help crewmembers identify the signs of fatigue – both in themselves and in others – at sea.

Following the 2017 WA / Offshore Wind Safety Forum, where the issue of fatigue featured as a major point of concern and discussion, the WA spent the best part of a year researching and discussing this challenge with its members and the wider maritime community.

Particular thanks go to NWA Safety Forum Chair & Committee member Kerrie Forster, for his tireless work on this initiative.

The posters ‘designed to be displayed on all vessels, were distributed at WA events following the launch and ran until stocks dried up! But don’t worry, the posters are still electronically available for download here:

The campaign page can be viewed by members here:

For further information or access for non-members, please contact us via:

Further Reading:

2018-08-09 09:00:00.0

Member Profile: Mike Proudlove, Offshore Turbine Services

At what age did you first decide to take up a career in the Maritime Sector?

I grew up in Pembrokeshire, west Wales and started messing around in boats at an early age. After completing my first commercial yacht delivery while I was still at university, the idea of making a living while working on, or around, the sea was not so much a conscious decision, more a natural progression. A career in the maritime sector has allowed me to work in some beautiful places, such as Turkey, Vancouver Island and more recently Kaua’i.

How did your career progress prior to your current role?

Prior to working with CTVs, I worked as a vessel surveyor for ten years, first in the US and then the UK. As well as doing vessel inspections, I taught at the boatbuilding college in Milford Haven and worked with the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS) to develop the BTEC HND in Marine Surveying. I am still involved in surveyor training and education.

What is the history of Offshore Turbine Services?

Offshore Turbine Services was formed in 2011 by Nick Bright, Phil Collins and Robin Jones. Nick has a successful fishing business in the English Channel and North Sea, fishing for whelks and crabs. Nick was obviously aware of the growth in offshore renewables and he also had a large pool of skilled crew who were eager to try something different. Meanwhile, Phil and Robin were looking to invest in the renewables sector and the combination led to the formation of OTS. The commitment and unique selling point, right from the beginning, has been to run fuel-efficient vessels with a team of like-minded crew, motivated to reducing our environmental impact in all aspects of our business. This has remained our philosophy and, along with safety, remains our most important KPI.

Where are the Offshore Turbine Services fleet currently working?

Four of our vessels are currently in Germany and the other three are in the UK. As well as offshore renewables in the German Bight, over the last three years we have worked on some very interesting projects in the Baltic, including the construction of the first offshore wind farm in Finland.

Do you ever get involved in work outside of the Offshore Wind Sector?

Yes, for the last three years we have focussed as much on marine civils as we have on offshore renewables. All our vessels have water jets and their shallow draft makes them well-suited to river and near-shore work, such as supporting dredging and pipeline projects. We had three vessels working on the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline last year and we are currently working on the Elbe Deepening project. These are exciting projects with innovative partners and they present plenty of new challenges for our team.

How do you see the future for the Workboat industry and how do you think the WA can help its members further?

Workboat operators in Northern Europe have modernised their fleets and greatly improved standards and safety on board over the last twenty years. This has required a huge effort, both in personal commitment and financial terms and it has been led by a number of well-known Workboat Association members. I believe we are going to need to make a similar commitment of time and probably even more resources, to reduce C02 emissions across the workboat industry. We [operators] will need to lobby government departments for assistance, spend money on R&D, develop new fuels, purchase new equipment and in some cases even completely new vessels. This comes at a time of tight margins for all workboat operators, whether it is due to the pricing pressures in offshore renewables and marine civils, or simply because world economic growth has been sluggish over the last ten years. The Workboat Association is in a unique position to coordinate this transformation. It can assist with the necessary new legislation and standards and help to minimise the duplication of effort in our goal to first reduce engine emissions and ultimately, eliminate C02 emissions.

Code of Safe Working Practices: 2019

Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers: 2019 Amendment

MIN 601

“This Marine Information Note provides information about the 2019 amendments to the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers (“the Code”). The Code deals with the regulatory framework and provides best practice guidance for health and safety on board ship. It also gives guidance on safety management and identifies statutory duties underlying the advice and includes practical information for safe working on board.”

CoSWP (Soft copy)

This document includes the text and images from the code of safe working practices for merchant seafarers (COSWP) 2015 edition, 9780115534027, published on 4 September 2015, plus subsequent amendments 1 ,2, 3 & 4.

This document does not match the pagination of the published version, which is available for purchase from

IMDG (Dangerous Goods) Training and Certification for Workboats.

Feedback Survey


IMDG (Dangerous Goods) Training and Certification for Workboats.
Those involved in the transportation of Dangerous Goods at sea will know that training for those handling and working with Dangerous Goods cargo is mandatory for a vessel to receive and maintain its Dangerous Goods DoC.

Though unless Owners/ Operators provide inhouse training, there are few ‘off the shelf’ training packages that are relevant to the best practice, regulations and normalities associated with operations within the Workboat Industry.

The Workboat Association has discovered via its IMDG awareness campaign that more can be done to raise safety and understanding within this sector;
Please could you spare the time to complete this short questionnaire to aid us steering our IMDG workgroup.


Take the Survey here!


(Those interested to join our IMDG workgroup or find out more about the campaign
can contact Kerrie Forster on