Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Owners and skippers reminded to apply for a Safe Manning Document

Owners and skippers of fishing vessels are reminded to apply for a Safe Manning Document from the Marine Survey Office at the Department of Transport. Safe manning is an important factor in the safe operation of fishing vessels and takes account of the vessel’s operations, machinery, and maintenance.

Since the 19th of December 2019, it has been a legal requirement for owners of sea-going fishing vessels, 15 metres in length or over, to ensure that the vessel is manned by a competent skipper and to apply to the Marine Survey Office for a Safe Manning Document.  A transitional period is in place to allow fishing vessel owners time to comply with the requirement for a safe manning document.

The deadline for applications is determined by the date of completion for the renewal of the fishing vessel safety certificate or certificate of compliance.  The owner is also required to ensure that the fishing vessel is manned in line with the minimum requirements set out in the regulations.

The Marine Survey Office will consider the safe navigation of the vessel, the vessel’s operations, its machinery and maintenance before issuing the Safe Manning Document. Once the relevant transitional period is over (it will have already passed for some owners), it is against the law for a fishing vessel to go to sea without a Safe Manning Document on board, or for the vessel to be operated below the level set out in the Safe Manning Document. Depending upon the qualifications of crew and proposed manning arrangements, the initial Safe Manning Document may only be valid for a period of two years.

Owners and Skippers can apply for a Safe Manning Document by completing the application form (Form #1004.1)  which is also available from Gov.ie and returning it to the Marine Survey Office. There are guidance notes on the application form to assist Owners and Skippers. Any queries should be directed to mso@transport.gov.ie.