Category: Uncategorized

Recovery of Persons in Water (PIW) Guide to Good Practice for Small Vessels

The British Tugowners Association are pleased to release to industry is latest guidance release, Recovery of Persons in Water (PIW) Guide to Good Practice for Small Vessels.

The Guide to Good Practice is available as a free pdf for use across the industry.

The BTA Chairman, Scott Baker from Svitzer, when releasing the Guide at the BTA’s Annual Safety Seminar on 10 November, stated that

“The guide looks to debunk and demystify various myths and fallacies within the industry, spurring on open debate and discussion with the intent being to save lives. For their expertise and input the BTA extends special thanks to Paul Savage OBE, Managing Director Saviour Medical Ltd, Professor Mike Tipton MBE from University of Portsmouth, and the Workboat Association Safety Forum.”

The intent of the guide is not limited to tugs but applicable across the small boat sector, whether crew transfer vessels, pilot cutters, workboats or tugs, many of which share similar characteristics and equipment.

The BTA’s Technical Committee has for over a year been working on reviewing the task of recovering people from the water to small vessels and appraising the equipment typically found in the small vessel sector. The end goal being to arrive at a complementary suite of equipment which can be used to effect a rescue across the four stages of recovery.

  1. Making a connection to the casualty
  2. Getting the casualty under control
  3. Recovery of the casualty to the deck
  4. Medical care and post rescue support on board

Key areas of discussion:

  • the ineffectiveness and potential of lifejackets without crotch straps
  • Cold Water Immersion, its effects and incorrect confusion with hypothermia
  • the truth around vertical and horizontal rescue
  • protection for the rescuer(s) on board
  • demystifying Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs)
  • post recovery trauma and support
  • standardising the handover/transfer of the casualty to emergency services (ATMIST)

The guide stresses the importance of effective and realistic drills and training, a historical idea captured by Archilochus c. 650 BC who wrote, “We do not rise to the level of our expectation; we fall to the level of our training”,  yet repeatedly is found to be wanting in accident reports and investigations.

Professor Mike Tipton MBE, FTPS, from the Extreme Environments Laboratory, at the University of Portsmouth provided the foreword, commenting:

“Immersion in cold water represents a serious threat to life. But this threat can be significantly reduced with the correct knowledge, procedures, equipment, and training. This comprehensive guide provides the information needed to significantly reduce the chances of a tragedy if an individual goes overboard. It follows that reading this guide, and implementing the recommendations contained herein could, quite literally, be lifesaving. 

In the area of cold water survival, knowledge = survivability. 

I commend this Guide to Good Practice to you, and the knowledge it provides.”

Download the Good Practice Guide here

The BTA wish for the Guide to be an iterative document, which will be reviewed and updated over time. As such, feedback and comments are invited to the Secretariat at

The GTGP follows earlier publications for the BTA Technical Committee which include the Second Edition of the Pilot’s Pocket Guide and Checklist, released January 2022 (available here), and the BTA’s Rope Selection, Procurement and Usage Guidance for Tow Ropes, released July 2021 (available here).

Mark Ranson – 2022 Merchant Navy Medal Award


Mark Ranson has this weekend, on International Merchant Navy day (Sep. 3rd), been awarded the 2022 Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service.

The award was made to Mark for his services to workboat safety standards and training, he will be 1 of a group of 14 persons who collectively have been awarded the 2022 award, to be presented on the 22nd November.


Read the Gov.UK announcement here

Mark Ranson became the Workboat Association’s Secretary in 2011, later becoming the CEO, before taking over the reigns as Chairman for a year from 2019-2020.

He was previously awarded the 2019 European Commercial Maritime Awards ‘Maritime Professional of the Year’ for his work with the Workboat Association.

This latest award signifies a large number of safety and training related activities that Mark has been a part of thought his career. From; developing the first ISM system in the wake of the Herald of Free Enterprise Capsize, to nurturing Mass Evacuation Systems. A dedicated, long-serving, stalwart of the WA and his local maritime training centre HOTA, to working many years within the towage sector as a safety expert (and many more to list).


Mark retired from the WA in 2020, though he continues working in his role on the board of HOTA and looking after his small-holding;

Clémence Barbey wins 2022 John Percival Memorial Award

The Workboat Association is proud to announce that Clémence Barbey of the Port of London Authority has won the 2022 John Percival Memorial Award.

The Award was announced by Workboat Association Chair, Mark Meade. during a surprise ‘hybrid’ presentation ceremony held at the Port of London Authority‘s Headquarters alongside the River Thames.

This award was set up by the Workboat Association to commemorate John Percival, the founder of the Hoylake Sailing School. The annual award is to recognise the best industry trainee.

Clémence Barbey, the winner of the 2022 John Percival Memorial Award, was trained and then nominated by SeaRegs Training for her commitment and enthusiasm to make sure that she completed her apprenticeship throughout adversity and did so with flying colours.

Clémence, who works as a deckhand on the Port of London Authority’s lower river harbour launch, said: “I want to thank everyone, especially the PLA, for the opportunity I have had to work on the Thames, my dream job.”

Learn more about the John Percival Memorial Award here:

Workboat Association launches On-Demand resources library

The Workboat Association launches its new* on-demand service. An online catalogue containing; Training Videos, Safety Tools, Meeting Recordings, Good Practice Guides, Safety Notices and Premium feature content.

Access to the new on-demand library is free to members and options are available for non-members to gain access (excluding meeting recordings).

“The new on-demand services allows members to catch-up with meetings they may have missed and direct access to important Good Practice Guides without the need to download or print hard copies.” says Kerrie Forster, Workboat Association CEO.

“It is our intention in the near future to link the new service to historically relevant Safety Notices and offer a one-stop shop for those looking to research industry best practice or refresh their memory”.

The new on-demand service will go live on Tuesday 19 April, access can be made via the WA website ‘on-demand’ page or using this link.

*Please note, access is only permitted to registered email addresses. Those already registered with the WA will automatically be enrolled (expect and auto-email from Google Groups).

The Workboat Association supports the UK’s inaugural Pride in Maritime Day

As members of Maritime UK’s National Council, the Workboat Association is standing side by side with Maritime UK and supporting the UK’s first Pride in Maritime Day.

Pride in Maritime Day has been launched in collaboration with the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce and Pride in Maritime Network, both are initiatives under Maritime UK’s Diversity in Maritime programme.

The session will be livestreamed directly from the ABP offices on Monday 28 February 2022, 1100-1300.

Chrissie Clarke, Head of Diversity and Operations, Maritime UK said:

“Maritime UK is committed to ensuring the sector is welcoming to the LGBT+ community. We are delighted to be launching Pride in Maritime Day, in collaboration with the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce and Pride in Maritime Network. The launch will involve a live streamed panel event with members of our Pride in Maritime Network discussing progress to date, lived experiences and how we can break down barriers faced by our LGBT+ employees. We are grateful to ABP for hosting the event and we encourage everyone to register for the event.”

Kerrie Forster, Chief Executive of the Workboat Association said:

“Diversity in Maritime is a historically closed matter, the Workboat Association is proud to support a workforce of those who break the conventional mould. Skills, Loyalty, Intelligence, Charisma and Passion have no common stereotype. The maritime industry is slowly opening doors to wider opportunities of previously unreleased talent. We welcome the ‘World’s first’ Pride in Maritime day, a day established to ensure we are welcoming to our current and future LGBT+ employees. Unified we walk hand-in-hand with all those who are making our industry the success it is and breaking down barriers together.”

Register your interest here

Watch: ‘Get Set for Workboat 2050’

The Commercial Marine Network, in partnership with Seawork and Maritime Journal and in association with The Workboat Association, introduce ‘Get Set for Workboat 2050’.

Now in it’s second series, ‘Get Set for Workboat 2050’ provides a range of discussion topics from decarbonisation and autonomous vessels to hybrid battery and electric propulsion systems.

Watch all the sessions for free on demand here.

Sessions include:

  • Best of Decarbonisation. Showcasing industry success: How to reduce fleet emissions – Learning from real world implementation.
  • Vessel tracking & monitoring. Optimise your fleet and minimise carbon emissions with vessel tracking and monitoring technology.
  • Long Term 2035 onwards: The future fuel race – Battery, Hydrogen, Ammonia etc.. How do we go about comissioning a vessel in this changing environment?
  • Medium Term 2025 onwards: Vessel design & Technologies for the future – Focus on propulsion systems: Hybrid Battery & Electric & SCR.
  • Medium Term 2025 onwards: Vessel design & Technologies for the future – Focus on new hull designs.
  • Short Term 2050 to 2025: Reenginering & Re-fitting the Fleet; improved technologies for engines efficiency to decrease emissions including Tier III diesel.
  • Short Term 2050 to 2025: Current Viofuel Choices & Optimising Existing Diesel Engines: Using new fuels in existing engine.


John Percival Memorial Award 2021: Winner announced!

The Workboat Association is proud to announce that Scarlett Barnett-Smith of the Port of London Authority / SeaRegs Training has won the 2021 John Percival Memorial Award.


The Award was announced by John’s daughter Anna Percival-Harris during a surprise ‘hybrid’ presentation ceremony held at the PLA’s Headquarters alongside the River Thames, four candidates from around the UK were nominated to win the 2021 Award for the ‘Best Industry Trainee’ of which Scarlett was chosen by the selection committee.

Anna Percival-Harris said “The John Percival Award selection committee decided that Scarlett Barnett-Smith shall receive the ‘2021 John Percival Memorial Award for Best Industry Trainee’ based on her high level of dedication, not only within her training and daily function but also via extracurricular activities. Scarlet we want to recognise you for your efforts to encourage apprenticeships in the maritime sector and also to promote women in maritime, as well as being a ‘superb’ student. Scarlett’s eagerness to achieve and to encourage others made her stand out against other nominees for the award, all of whom we are very proud to have working and training within our industry”.

Learn more about the John Percival Memorial Award here:

Scarlett was nominated for her hard work and  development whilst completing her Boat Masters License Apprenticeship, by her training provider SeaRegs Training and referenced by her employer Port of London Authority.

Pictured L-R: Winner, Scarlett Barnett-Smith holding the John Percival Memorial Award 2021                                                                                                         –  Rachel de Bont (PLA), Scarlett and Simon and Vicky Jinks (SeaRegs Training)




The new Workboat Association Constitution


At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Workboat Association held on 11.05.2021, the attendees voted in favour of  adopting the proposed new Constitution.

The new proposal was made after the WA Committee requested a legal review of the previous constitution from Myton Law.

The new Constitution and the EGM Agenda & Minutes are all available to members here

(You will need to be logged in to visit this area of the website).


Members Profile: Owen Evans, Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners

Having completed his OOW Unlimited Cadetship, Owen visited both the Arctic and Antarctic with BAS before returning to his beginnings at Brightlingsea Harbour


What it really did teach us was (as Kenneth Grahame so eloquently put); “there is absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats”.

Where is Brightlingsea Harbour located and what is your commercial offering for the Workboat sector?

Brightlingsea Harbour is located centrally within the Northern Thames estuary, where many of the workboat sector often have requirements to service local marine operations for both short and extended periods. Brightlingsea Harbour is a popular choice for leisure and commercial users, offering a natural harbour to berth vessels in a location where the full life-support for that vessel can be provided (thanks to mature and evolving local maritime industries and facilities). Repeat trade is a core strength of ours, sometimes we see old faces come back simply to layby their vessels prior to a deployment. Brightlingsea Harbour facilitates solutions for small vessel users at costs more competitive than many ports and facilities within the Thames estuary and surrounding areas.


What is your role and when did you first start at Brightlingsea Harbour?

I first started working here as a harbour assistant shortly after leaving university, taking on tasks such as pressure washing pontoons, driving the water taxi, and assisting in berthing visiting yachts. After working for the harbour for several years I decided that I wanted to progress my career deep sea, so I took up a cadetship with Trinity House training to be a navigation officer. After studying for a number of years I qualified as an Officer Of the Watch Unlimited and took up a position as 3rd Officer with British Antarctic Survey (BAS); after several years working for BAS culminating in my position on the trials and commissioning team for the RRS Sir David Attenborough, I was offered the position of Deputy Harbour Master back at Brightlingsea Harbour which I gladly accepted taking me full circle, where I now find myself leading a growing team with a variety of services on offer.


What are the responsibilities of Brightlingsea Harbour Commisioners?

Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners have a general obligation to keep [under formal and active consideration] the overall safety of the Harbour as a service and a facility, and to apply all available statutory powers as appropriate to secure the safe use of the Harbour by all craft. This includes the maintenance of navigation marks and the use of byelaws and directions with regard to the use of the Harbour. Within the defined Harbour limits the Commissioners have been created by Statute ‘Brightlingsea Harbour Act 1927’ to serve the public interest. The public interest is wider than that of Harbour users and includes the local community and natural environment, referred to as stakeholders. There is a public right to use the Harbour for the shipping and unshipping of goods and passengers, and there it is also a public right of navigation upon payment of Harbour dues and charges.


When did your interest in the sea first start?

My interest first developed at around 18 years old, myself and three friends purchased a 24ft ‘pirate ship’ looking leisure vessel (a Buckler Buccaneer) called ‘Doubloon’ for £250 one night in the local pub! The deal included five litres of diesel and three fishing rods! Together we knew very little about boats, but we did know it would make a great place to base summer activities from. It was a baptism of fire, and we all learnt a lot, mainly do not buy boats in the pub on a Friday night! What it really did teach us was (as Kenneth Grahame so eloquently put); “there is absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats”.


What were the highlights of your deep-sea career?

Without a doubt the highlight of my sea-going career would be navigating through the Northwest Passage on the RRS Ernest Shackleton from East to West, then returning West to East, escorting the Crystal Serenity, a 250m long, 68,000 tonne luxury cruise ship; it was the first time a ship of that size had passed through the Northwest Passage and it was an incredible experience to be part of.


What does a day in your life look like?

I get into the office at 0730 each morning and meet with the heads of each department to brief on that day’s operations. At 0800 the afloat operations team arrive and head out to start their duties, be it ferry, water taxi, or maintenance. I spend most of my morning working on staff rotas, training new starting staff and our apprentices in varying marine skills, organising commercial shipping movements with the Port of Brightlingsea, Shipping agents and our pilot boat crews and of course dealing with the unforeseen; such as a boat drifting free from its mooring overnight, or the occasional boat that has sprung a leak! In the afternoons I often find myself dealing with emails and calls with regards to projects we are currently working on.


Do you have any upcoming projects within Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners?

A number of projects, yes! To name a few;  we have recently commissioned the build of a new pilot boat from Seaward Boats on the Isle of Wight, we have intention to build a new Ferry landing platform on the Southern side of the river, and within the next 4 years we intend to develop a berthing pontoon which is entirely powered by renewable energy.


What are the objectives of Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners?

The Commissioners have set the following objectives:

  • Ensure sufficient water depth is established and maintained.
  • Maintain similar mix and number of moorings.
  • Establish dedicated area for visiting boats.
  • Identify gaps in services and, where appropriate, either work with others to provide or provide ourselves.
  • Work towards achieving relevant quality standards (e.g. ISO, Eco Port).
  • Establish and maintain financial model which ensures sustainability, phased capital equipment replacement and a regular maintenance schedule.
  • Maintain and build strong working relationships with all Harbour users and stakeholders.
  • Provide value for money.
  • To maintain, protect and enhance our natural environment.



Workboat Code Training Sessions

Session 1:           May 27th 2021, 10 :00 – 11:00 (UK time)

Target audience: Seafarers and those relatively new to the Workboat Code and Maritime Regulation.

Presented by: WA CEO – Kerrie Forster and YBDSA CEO (and former MCA Code Vessel Lead) – Bas Edmonds


Introduction to Maritime Regulations

– Background to IMO, International and Domestic Regulations

– The MCA and the development of the Workboat Code

– Regulations that affect Workboats outside of the Workboat Code

The Workboat Code

– The history of the Workboat Code

– The contents of the Workboat Code

– The future of the Workboat Code

International interpretation

– Using the Workboat Code outside of UK waters

Session 2:           June 3rd 2021, 14:00 – 16:00 (UK time)

Target audience: Those coming ashore, Managers, Superintendents, Charterers, and Inspectors & Auditors new to the Code.

Presented by: WA CEO – Kerrie Forster and SeaRegs Training Director – Simon Jinks


The Workboat Code

– The history of the Workboat Code

– The application of the Workboat Code

– The future of the Workboat Code

International Interpretation

– Using the Workboat Code outside of UK waters

Layout of the Workboat Code

– Deep dive into the layout and Annexes of the Workboat Code

– Construction & Technical requirements, Navigation & Communication equipment

– Manning, Documentation, Publication and Health & Safety

Understanding the changes in the Codes development

– Difference between the Brown Code, MGN 280, WBC2 TWGS and WBC2

– Dangerous Goods

– Manning

Certification under the Workboat Code

Session 3:           June 8th 2021, 14:00 – 16:00 (UK time)

Target audience: Further understanding for Primary users, Workboat Surveyors & Inspectors and Advanced stakeholders

Presented by: WA CEO – Kerrie Forster, SCMS CEO – Stuart Gladwell and MCA Code Vessel Lead – Rob Taylor.


Prior Session Re-cap

– Brief oversight of the elements captured in Sessions 1 and 2.

Certifying and maintaining a vessel to the Workboat Code

– How does the process work? (Including behind the scenes)

– What version of the Code can I certify a vessel to?

– What happens if the vessel or crew do not meet the Codes requirements?

Understanding the changes in the Codes development

– Difference between the Brown Code, MGN 280, WBC2 TWGS and WBC2

– Dangerous Goods

– Manning

Additional Certification supporting the Workboat Code

– Need for a Safety Management System

– Dangerous Goods DoC, Safe Manning Document, Radio License

– Other certification required by external Port States or Charterers

FAQ and Myth Busting

– Frequently asked questions and common mis-beliefs related to the Code