In the winter of 2020 the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Inland Water and Technical Rescue Group (IWTRG) formed a task and finish working group to review the options for developing a Rescue Boat Code for the Fire and Rescue Service. Based on a review of existing legislation and codes, meetings with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which is an executive agency of the Department for Transport (DfT), and in response to the recommendations of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) Accident Investigation Report 17/2020, it was agreed unanimously that the best approach was to produce the ‘Rescue Boat Code for the Fire and Rescue Service’’.

This was completed in November 2021 and published on All fire and rescue services should consider the boat code when developing or reviewing policies for training, procurement and operations involving working on water.

This code applies to powered rescue boats from local authority fire and rescue services of less than 7m in length with a maximum survivor capacity of 20.

This code applies to rescue boats from the fire and rescue services operating and training on inland waters and categorised waters.

The document serves as the minimum standard for fire and rescue services that operate rescue boats to save life, and it does not include commercial activity.

The Rescue Boat Code for the Fire and Rescue Service acknowledges other codes that fire and rescue services may be required to meet or choose to utilise based on their individual organisational needs and activities.

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