Regulations and Technical Services Group

Coronavirus: Temporary suspension of NCI Operations

The Board of Trustees of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) has reluctantly made the decision to suspend all current operations because of the ongoing Coronavirus situation.  As from midnight 18/03/20 all NCI stations have suspended watchkeeping duties and will remain closed until further notice.

18 March 2020


When and where to cruise? The CA advises on measures for consideration

The Cruising Association is advising its members to be aware that Covid-19 presents a challenge to cruising unprecedented outside wartime. The situation and the measures being taken by various governments are fast moving and members are advised to follow these measures closely through the usual news media.

In deciding whether and where to cruise, the CA’s RATS (Regulations and Technical Services) group advises the following should be considered:

The CA responds to the Budget Statement concerning the use of red diesel

Following the proposals for the future use of red diesel in the Budget Statement on Wednesday 11 March 2020, the Cruising Association (CA) notes that from April 2022, private pleasure vessels will no longer be able to use red diesel for propulsion but will be able and are indeed entitled to use it for on-board heating purposes. Other marine commercial vessels such as fishing boats will still be able to use red diesel but at the lower duty rate.

Demise of CG66 brought forward

Important update 12/03/20: demise of CG66 is brought forward to end of March 2020

The Cruising Association’s Regulatory and Technical Service group (RATS) has today been advised by the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) that the scrapping of the CG66 Safety Identification Scheme - the name given to the MCA’s free and voluntary scheme for registering identification and other details of pleasure craft and vessels - has been brought forward from the end of July to the end of March.

Not quite farewell to the EU

In formal terms the UK left the EU on January 31. However, due to the transition period that is included as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU, nothing will change until the end of Transition Period – currently scheduled for December 31, 2020. This means that all existing rules will stay in place during 2020, such as free movement of goods, services and people, Union (VATpaid) status of yachts, and the existing immigration rules.

Withdrawal of Admiralty Small Craft Folios

Do you use Admiralty Small Craft Folio charts? UKHO has just announced that it is planning to withdraw them. RATS is urging members who use and value these charts to let UKHO know of their views, but hurry: the deadline for comments is October 11 now extended to 31 October! .

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has made the following announcement:

HMRC consultation on the future of red diesel

The Cruising Association urges UK boaters to respond to HMRC consultation on the future of red diesel

IIn 2018 the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the UK should not allow private pleasure craft to continue to use red diesel. HMRC has just issued its consultation document which outlines the proposed change to white diesel for the propulsion of powered leisure craft, including inland boats. The document contains a number of questions for owners of diesel-powered craft.

Red Diesel Use in the EU Campaign Archive

RATS has been campaigning on the red diesel issue over a number of years. This page includes all our older news items on the topic.

For the most recent news and the current advice from RATS, please go to UK red diesel, current news and advice.

UPDATE: January 2021, Red diesel and the validity of the Istanbul Convention of 1990

AIS checks

Following our piece last month on VHF radio checks, RATS has come across the use of National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) stations to check AIS transmissions. This seems to us to be good practice, certainly at the beginning of the season. A vessel’s AIS transceiver may use the same antenna as the VHF set or a separate one. As with VHF radios the most likely cause of any fault is the antenna or cable or the splitter (if the antenna is shared with VHF).

VHF Radio Checks – who should you call?

As the 2019 UK sailing season approaches, members are reminded that the MCA have confirmed that radio checks with HMCG should not be a first resort as it ties up the air and increases operator workload.