Category: Guidance

IR35 employment tax changes (UK) Workshop

On Thursday April 8th 2021 the WA, supported by Brookson Group and industry guests ran a Workshop focused on the implications of the new IR35 employment tax regulations.

“Brookson’s are a regulated law, finance and accountancy firm with over 20 years’ experience in self-employed finances.”


Following on from our introduction at the recent Safety Forum into IR35 this specially organised event focusing purely on IR35. The event covered training on the new regulations, tailored information directed to vessel owners and crew managers and included a panel Q&A session.


The Workshop re-watched on demand here:

R&D Tax returns Webinar – ForrestBrown

On the 21 April, the WA joined up with ForrestBrown, the UK’s largest specialist R&D tax relief consultancy, to deliver this WBA specific 30-minute webinar.

ForrestBrown’s marine sector specialist Mike Harrison and Adam Kotas CTA explained:

  • How marine businesses can claim R&D tax relief
  • How to capture the full value of your R&D work
  • How to claim securely and protect your business from risk


The recording of the webinar can be watched on demand here: 

Guide to Brexit for the Workboat Industry

Following two workshops held during the Transition Period between the Workboat Association, UK Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – the following guide has been created for stakeholders of the Workboat Industry.

In the coming months before the end of 2020, independent agreements with foreign countries and their maritime administrations may happen, until this information is formally announced it is advised that all UK Workboat Industry stakeholders read and understand this guide and where available / relevant; follow the links for further official Government information.

Launch of: Carriage of Dangerous Goods on Workboats GPG

The carriage of Dangerous Goods on Workboats Good Practice Guide is printed and ready for distribution.

Those interested in purchasing copies of the guide can contact the Workboat Association now via:
(Hard copies available only)

“The carriage of Dangerous Goods on Workboats Good Practice Guide has been developed between the Industry and Regulators, providing a zero to hero knowledge on both the regulations and best practice associated with the transport of Dangerous Goods by sea on board Workboats.”

“Written with Seafarers, the vessel Management, stakeholders and end-Clients all in mind, this guide is set to be an unmissable tool from the education and training of those wishing to operate, work with or contract Workboats of any nature”

Kerrie Forster, Workboat Association CEO.

Costs per copy:

Members: £ 10 (plus postage)

Non-members: £ 12.50 (plus postage)

Orders of 20 copies or more receive 25% discount

BREXIT – Update Page (*new info)

A page dedicated to Brexit updates and official promulgation


Update #1

Update #2

July 2020 – The UK’s Points-Based Immigration System: Further Details

Update #3

August 2020 – Three steps to prepare for the end of the transition period (Advice for business)

Update #4

August 2020 – Importing goods from January 2021: The UK Global Tariff 

Update #5

August 2020 – Visit Europe from 1 January 2021

Update #6

August 2020 – New employee coming to work in the UK from abroad

Update #7

Update #8

September 2020 – Survey: Answer a few questions to get a personalised list of actions for you, your family, and your business

Update #9

October 2020 – BREXIT Workshop with the UK Department for Transport and MCA: 28th October @ 12:00-13:30 online

Joining details and agenda will be promulgated closer to the event

Update #10

October 2020 – End of the Transition Period information video by the UK Government: Watch it here

Update #11

October 2020 – Workboat Association Guide, Impact of Brexit for the Workboat Industry: View it here

Update #12

Update #13

Update #14

January 2021 – Maritime UK: What does the UK-EU Deal mean for Maritime?


Updates will be added sequentiallyIf you are aware of important and relevant information concerning Britain’s withdrawal from the EU that is not featured on this page please contact the WA via the contact page

COVID-19 Information for the Workboat Industry

Guidance and Best Practice from Industry and Regulators

“Please note that as of 15.07.2020 the bi-weekly meeting will stop routine organisation, though should there be need to re-hold a meeting or if the current situation or controls change; a meeting will be re-scheduled”

Listed here you will find a number of Recommendations, Guidance, Best Practice and Governmental Advice linked to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic. It should be remembered that it is imperative to follow the local Governments advice at all times and any information contained within this document is subject to change as the research surrounding the virus develops.

If you are aware of any information that you believe should be captured within this update, please contact us here

New* :



International Organisations:


International Maritime Organization

International Labour Organization

World Health Organization (WHO)

European Commission

  • The Green Lane Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services

European Union

DenmarkCurrent information from the Danish authorities about COVID-19

From the UK Government:


UK Government business support webinars;

Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available:


  • MIN 611 (M+F) Guidance and information to follow in the event of COVID-19 outbreak impacting UK seafarer services
  • MIN 612 (M+F) Corona virus (COVID-19) – MCA approach to survey and certification of UK vessels – Amendment 2
  • MIN 613 (M) Navigation – vessel traffic services COVID-19 impact and safety measures
  • MIN 614 (M+F) Corona virus (COVID-19) – UK Ship Register approach to registration services for UK Vessels
  • MIN 615 (M) The Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) Fund During the COVID-19 Period
  • MGN618 COVID 19 the reporting of occupational diseases
  • MCA: MIN 622 (M+F) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Use of alternative measures for the completion of surveys on internationally trading UK registered ships.
  • MCA: MIN 623 (M+F) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – MCA approach to a phased return to survey and certification activity
  • MCA: MIN 624 (M) The Extended Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) Fund During the COVID-19 Period – Extension
  • MCA: MIN 632 (M) COVID- 19 Extension of Seafarer Employment Agreements – SEAs
  • MIN 620 (M) Update on online oral exams and future issue of Notice of Eligibilities during the COVID-19 lockdown period

GOV.UK Webpage: Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators

  • Foreign travel advice Advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

HM Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Dept. for Health and Social Care

Public Health England

Department for Transport

  • Information on ‘Key Workers’ This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating (see Transport)

Department for International Trade

“We advise you should now:

1. Visit the Business Support website for more information about these and additional measures and support available to your business. This website will continue to be updated with the latest information.

2. Pay particular attention to the
guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

3. Read the guidance for
UK businesses trading internationally

4. Take
steps to protect yourself and others.”

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

A £10 million financial assistance for Fishing and Aquaculture businesses



From Industry:



Free Industry Webinar;

Marine Society: Online education in a post-Coronavirus maritime world1st June @ 11:00 UK

Workboat Association


Maritime UK

UK Chamber of Shipping

Society of Marine Industries

Institute for Apprenticeships

British Marine


ORE Catapult

International Chamber of Shipping

Maritime Skills Alliance

Seafarers UK

SSI Energy

Safety 4 Sea

Chirp Maritime Reports:

Seafarer Help

  • Seafarer Helpline Free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Ship Owners Club



One Ocean

Wilhelmsen Ships Agents


Squire Patton Boggs

Maritime Safety Forum

Maritime Journal

Energy Institute

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



  • Interview Experience of international travel from Workboat Crew at Acta Marine during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Interview Workboat Magazine, Operator Golding Barge Line USA
  • Toolbox talk video: Information video, virus transfer awareness (press the video to play)
  • Information video: Information video, on board catering, cleaning and hygiene practices (press the video to play)

Workboat Code Explained – Interactive Guide

Download the Workboat Association’s ‘Workboat Code Explained’ Interactive Guide


This guide provides clear explanation to the background of the Workboat code, the development of the code since its beginning in 1994, implementation of Workboat Code 2 and much more…

Download the guide for free here

(This tool requires Microsoft Powerpoint to function as intended)

Those not able to run Powerpoint should contact the Workboat Association for alternative possibilities.

Make the best of working from home

Professor Stephen Heppell provides some clear and practical advice for making the best of working from home.

See original link:

“appreciating that not everyone is currently able or expected to work at home, many jobs can only be done directly (eg health professionals, bus drivers [or marine crew]) but for many of you the information below is the basis of a great project and you will be amazed at the difference that a cognitive makeover can have on your work in these difficult times.”

Optimising the physical space to be your very best

Our project, led by 30+ years of educational research, together with sporting insights into the aggregation of marginal gains, has been looking for 5 years at the small details that have a substantial impact on learning and behaviour in schools, colleges and sport. We have millions of hours of data and know what works, with good evidence.

Given the current coronavirus crisis there are now many children and adults worldwide facing a substantial period working at home / from home. This summary below is freely offered to help you make the home working space the very best it can be to keep you bright, engaged, clever and productive. All the details are easy to implement – and anyway, it looks like many of you now have time on your hands…


For your brain to be at its best for learning, you need to be in a place between 18°-21°C. Every degree above that and your performance declines in a straight line. By 23°C there is a statistically significant performance drop. With each degree temperature goes up, your performance goes down. Air circulation is a big help – keep the air moving through your working space.

With coronavirus we are being asked to work with open windows anyway, currently, so that also helps to moderate temperatures.

Light levels

Light is complex (see more here). Your working brain needs good light. There is brightness (lux levels), but also whiteness (the kelvin number, or temperature, of light). You can measure the lux levels easily with a simple phone app. There are many. On an outdoor Spring day in England light would be many thousands of Lux. Your brain needs a minimum of 500 lux and our project normally looks for 1,000 lux – which feels quite dramatic – like an operating theatre. Less that 500 and you will be yawning and off task pretty soon.

The old fluorescent tubes are not good for learning. Your brain perceives a flicker even if you don’t notice it and this is stressful, giving headaches, making reading hard and often resulting in real tiredness. Do not try to work under fluorescent tubes.

Fortunately you can usually retro fit modern LED bulbs into your existing fittings. when you buy LED bulbs you will note they have a kelvin value. The higher the kelvin rating the ‘whiter’ the light. You need “daylight white” a kelvin 5,500 or higher. Nothing else. Here is an example from Amazon but try to support your local shops if you can.


At its simplest, movement gets the blood flowing around your body, and thus your brain. It’s all a bit more complicated than that, but the important thing is to stand, move, stretch, and when you sit do so at a body angle more like 130° that the “sit up straight” of 90°.

You can do this with thoughtful furniture, by having a place to stand and work sometimes, or just by good habits. Move at least every 20 minutes. Even just standing rather than sitting prior to an important event (like a phone conference perhaps) will measurably sharpen your brain up.


Years ago teachers were taught that eau de Nil (an insipid green quite unlike the Nile!) was calming whereas orange would make children a little hyper. The evidence of any of this however is poor. We do know that red wakes you up in the morning (hence all those red dresses and clothes on breakfast TV shows) but really what is more important is a bit of variety. If you are lucky enough to have (or afford) a colour changing lightbulb or two, just use them to keep your ‘space’ changed as time goes by. Or add bits of spot colour by swapping in cushions or hanging things around the place – just bits and pieces, not whole walls!

White walls

Walls reflect light. White paint on walls reflects more light than coloured paint. Dark colours soak up light. In our project we have become enthusiasts for Dulux Light and Space paint, in white. If you get bored at home take a day to repaint your walls with this clever paint – it reflects a LOT more light than standard emulsion paint and it is only slightly more expensive. Worth doing; this may all go on for some time.


This is a hugely important variable. Again, it is complex and more details are here. We measure CO2 in ppm (part per million) and anything over 1,000ppm begins to impact on your learning and thinking. Our little boxes measure CO2 and much more for schools and colleges, but for your home space it is enough to know that CO2 is a heavy gas, hangs around in a room and we all exhale it as we breathe. A room can get to 1,000ppm surprisingly quickly. The more people in the room the faster that threshold is reached.

But there are simple solutions – keeping doors open lets the CO2 pour out of the room. Plants are your friends though. Through photosynthesis plants absorb CO2 and give back oxygen in daylight hours. So three or four biggish household plants (Aloe Vera, Sansevieria Trifasciata, that kind of thing) will do more than enough work to keep your room oxygen rich rather than CO2 flooded. In schools we really see a substantial behaviour problem resulting from the disengagement that too much CO2 brings, so spend some time on this bit of the makeover in your home.

Noise and Music

There is a lot of research about this, some of it surprising. We did our own as well. We concluded from all of this that:

Quiet music is less distracting than silence – perhaps because in silence you hear all kinds of little bits of noise and your ears strain to make sense of them.

However, if the music is at all loud, then it is also distracting. “Too loud” varies from person to person but it is usually much lower than you might expect. Keep the music down very low.

If the music has a lyric that you know it appears that the bit of your brain that sings along with the lyric is also the bit that does writing / reading and that is not helpful. So no lyrics.

and finally, If there is a noise, or music, with faster than around 75 beats per minute (eg a noisy fan) then that is unexpectedly distracting already. By 100 bpm it is really distracting. Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven is at about 65 bpm as an indicator. In classical music Andante would be too fast.
So in summary – go with music that is quiet, has no lyrics and is quite slow.


At the risk of seeming a bit New Age, smells matter. After we came across a school that opened every morning to the seductive smell of fresh bread, we looked at evidence of other positive smells. Mainly, we found that Rosemary has a quite substantial and positive effect on memory.

Shakepeare said “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance…” and turns out, he was right! Rubbing your hands on a Rosemary plant and sniffing them really does help short term memory. But Lavendar will send you to sleep, so keep away from that!

Finally, we do appreciate that not everyone is currently able or expected to work at home – some schools are still open (17th March 2020), many jobs can only be done directly (eg health professionals, bus drivers [Marine crews]) but for many of you the information above is the basis of a great project and you will be amazed at the difference that a cognitive makeover can have on your work in these difficult times.

An environment that is good for your brain is also a healthy and less stressful environment – that should perhaps help everyone to stay healthier too… every little helps.

And of course for everyone, you will have noticed that most of the above variables can be dramatically improved by working out of doors, if you are in a place where that is an option. There is a reason for all those fond childhood memories of outside learning! Even getting your head out of the window, or moving onto a balcony, will be helpful if possible.

Please forward this on to anyone that it might help. Hopefully, we can all play a part as this crisis sweeps by us all.

Professor Stephen Heppell

Greening the Offshore Wind Workboat fleet

An article written for the Workboat Association by Sue Allen of 4C Offshore Ltd

“Optimising current performance is the first stage. Excitingly, workboat operators in the offshore wind industry are leading on innovative vessel design. Investment in new hulls which improve seakeeping without sacrificing fuel consumption”

When the client is paying for fuel, there would seem to be little incentive to reduce fuel consumption, but this is not the case for workboat operators in the offshore wind sector. A report by 4C Offshore on ‘Greening the service vessel fleet’ shows that increasing pressure on competitiveness along with determination to deliver a quality service means a significant number of operators have introduced ways to reduce their operations’ environmental impact.

Some operators have invested in real-time vessel performance monitoring. Systems such as Reygar’s BareFLEET provides quantifiable data to optimise performance. Not only is the mechanical performance logged, but vessel motion and comfort, and impact on turbine foundations are just some of the other metrics being made available to vessel operators and their clients. While automated monitoring is not a requirement for contracts in the offshore wind industry, it is viewed favourably by clients as it provides an independent evaluation of performance for contract negotiations. This is important to offshore wind project developers and OEMs, including Ørsted, Siemens, and Vestas, all of whom have corporate agendas to improve the environmental performance of their own operations. It is not only about the environment. Every pound or euro saved on fuel is an addition to the profit margin. With 25- to 30-year lifespans, the savings could be considerable.

Optimising current performance is the first stage. Excitingly, workboat operators in the offshore wind industry are leading on innovative vessel design. Investment in new hulls which improve seakeeping without sacrificing fuel consumption is ongoing: Mainprize Offshore, Windcat Workboats, World Marine Offshore, and Northern Offshore Services are just a few companies that have already delivered new vessels meeting these criteria in the last few years.

And it doesn’t stop there. This year will see six vessels with hybrid options entering the market. CWind has gone one step further. Its new vessel, to be launched in June, will be a Surface Effect Ship (SES) with hybrid power. SES vessels are not new but are relatively new to offshore wind, currently there are only three SES vessels in the global fleet.

Fully electric vessels are still confined to other sectors such as ferries and port tenders, but one operator, Leo Hambro of Tidal Transit, has carried out a feasibility study. It supports the viability of converting an existing CTV to battery power with an electric vessel, delivering like for like performance compared to diesel. While electric may not suit every wind farm location, there are plenty of existing nearshore sites and some new sites currently under construction, which could be candidates.

The future could bring increased use of alternative fuels. The falling price of electricity from offshore wind is potentially opening up opportunities in hydrogen production, making it more readily available for use in shipping. Windcat Workboats is currently finalising the design of Hydrocat 1, which will use hydrogen in its fuel mix and will be first CTV in the market to use hydrogen as a fuel. The vessel already has a charter in place with Vattenfall, working on Hollandse Kust Zuid Holland I and II in 2022. Hydrogen could also be used to generate electrical power via a fuel cell, as can ammonia. Both fuels are potential alternatives to carbon-based fuels.

So, is it worth it?

The shipping industry reportedly accounts for around 3% of annual global green-house emissions. While this may be a small amount and the contribution from crew transfer and service operations vessels even less significant, the steps being taken by offshore wind service vessel operators are important. They are providing case studies and research opportunities whilst working in a highly competitive, commercial, and physically demanding environment. While reducing fuel consumption often starts with a need to cut costs, there is an undeniable desire among operators to lead the way in greening the service vessel fleet.