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Boats: Licensing

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to enable operators in tidal Category C waters to obtain a Boatmaster’s licence under the new Boatmasters Licence Scheme. (189318)

Subject to satisfying the requirements of procedures published on the website of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency under Marine Guidance Note 333, an existing master in tidal category ‘C’ waters will be issued a ‘tier 2’ Boatmaster’s licence which will allow same type and area of operation. If an applicant wishes to change, or extend, his/her area or/and type of operation, beyond that authorised by their old licence, further assessment(s) may be required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons are for the time taken to introduce the new examination procedure for candidates wishing to take their Boatmaster’s examination; and if she will take steps to ensure that these arrangements will be in place before the start of the tourist season in March 2008. (189447)

The examination procedures for new Boatmaster’s licence (BML) regulations are already in place. The regulations allow the assessment of the candidate’s knowledge underpinning his/her practical skills to be assessed through a written or oral test. Currently, the Underpinning Knowledge (UPK) for a BML generic licence is tested orally. However, preparations are in hand for assessment to be undertaken by written examination. This system is expected to be fully operational by the end of the current year.