THE National WORKBOAT ASSOCIATION was originally formed in 1994 to facilitate an industry input into the formulation of the ‘Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s’ Workboat Code of Practice.
This proved to be an extremely beneficial move from the members’ [industry] point of view and it is fair to say that, had Workboat Owners not been able to present their views, the finished Code would not have been a representation of the Industry’s work practices and overall safety standards. More recently the NWA led a working group in thoroughly reviewing and revising the 2nd Edition Workboat Code which was issued by the MCA in December 2018.
Other recent success has been the creation of the “High Speed – Offshore Service Craft Code” (HS-OSC) with the MCA which has been well received by operators, allowing them to increase the number of pax carried onboard certified workboats. In addition to this, our close relation with the MCA saw the introduction of new Certificates of Competency tailored for the workboat industry, initially at <200gt Master Code vessels and more recently an Unlimited <500gt Master Workboat CoC as well as Small Vessel Engineer CoCs. We are currently continuing effort in developing a <500gt Code of Practice for Workboats that has been heavily requested and supported by industry.
The NWA runs regular proactive ‘Safety Forums’ looking to raise standards, share best practice among members and – where appropriate – learn the lessons from incidents that have occurred. Currently we run two safety forums on routine basis; one specific to the Offshore Wind industry (which includes external industry stakeholders) and a member’s safety forum to encompass the wider workboat industry from within our membership. We have [to date] published ‘Good Practice Guides’ on safe Workboat operations and management for both the Towing and Crew Transfer industry, with further additions currently in preparation/ planning.
Through our membership of the Maritime Skills Alliance, we have developed and maintain a Workboat Apprenticeship and a ‘Diploma in Maritime Studies: Workboats’ for crew coming into the industry. We also are currently the only recognised body administering the MCA’s approved system of Voluntary Towage Endorsements which are quickly becoming more prominent within the towage industry.
In 2019 our current membership now incorporates Workboat Owners, Operators and Stakeholders from outside the UK. Our scope now offers advice to any industry stakeholders who are either working in the UK, to UK regulations or those aiming to benchmark their own standards of practice to a well adopted, respected and understood level – as we promote. Hence this year the Associations name is changing simply to ‘THE WORKBOAT ASSOCIATION’.