The NWA is the Trade Association for the owners and operators of workboats, mainly built under the MCA Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Small Workboats – the “Workboat Code”.
The Association is run by a committee of members and employs a Secretary who represents the NWA at various government and industry bodies and carries out the administration work for the Association.
The main function of the NWA is to act as the liaison and focal point with our regulator, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) – from its beginnings twenty years ago the Association has worked closely with the MCA – providing a significant amount of practical guidance and constructive criticism in the formulation of the original Workboat Code which came into force in 1998. It is testament to the good work done by the founding members in drawing up the ‘Code’ with the MCA that it has stood the test of time – and is only now undergoing a major revision to keep it current with the ever-developing Workboat industry.
We have also worked closely with the Seafarers Standards branch of the MCA to establish sensible, practical manning levels for workboats and more recently in creating specific qualifications for Workboat Crews. – Several years ago we were heavily involved developing the Master <200GT (Code Vessel) Certificate of Competency and more recently the Master <500GT (Workboat) CoC which is now available. Both of these are unlimited STCW qualifications allowing the holders to act as Master of workboats operating world-wide. We are currently working to finalise a suite of 'Small Vessel Engineer' qualifications which will be applicable to Workboats.
In advance of our AGM last Friday (19th), we held the latest meeting of our Safety Forum on Thursday afternoon. The forum – rescheduled from November – included its usual safety pause, and covered a number of pertinent issues including near miss reporting and accident statistics. It also provided an opportunity to recap on some of the key themes from last year’s events and consider how the programme will look in 2018.
The G+ has now released the revised 2nd edition of its Good practice guideline: the safe management of small service vessels used in the offshore wind industry. The publication has been made available for download via the Energy Institute website.
2017 was another busy year for the NWA – and its Secretary! - as we continued to push forward with important initiatives in the areas of training and vessel safety, while grappling with a number of legislative and regulatory issues affecting our membership.