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Safe Manning Documentation

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) requires all ships to be sufficiently manned for their safe operation according to the nature of their work.  

The following vessels are required to hold a Safe Manning Document specifying the minimum required manning levels:

  • All UK registered of vessels of 500 gross tonnes (GT) or more
  • All seagoing passenger vessels registered to the UK of less than 500 GT, that travel internationally - an example would include vessels that do not exclusively operate from UK port to UK port
  • All UK registered yachts (excluding pleasure vessels not engaged in trade) over 24 metres length overall (LOA), regardless of GT

Owners or operators of vessels below 500 GT may also find it advantageous to hold a Safe Manning Document. 

Apply for Safe Manning Documentation

To apply for a Safe Manning Document, simply submit an application form along with required supporting documents via email. Further guidance relating to the Safe Manning of vessels over 500 GT is available in MSN 1868 (M) Amendment 1.

When applying to the MCA for a Safe Manning Document, owners or operators should submit a clear and concise explanation of:  

  1. How the proposed manning level has been determined
  2. How it takes account of the guidance of MSN 1868
  3. How it takes account of the hours of work provisions in the regulations

If a vessel has already been issued with a UK Safe Manning Document and it needs updating or amending, please email the Safe Manning team on with the required amendments.

We understand that our customers may, at times, need an emergency reduction in crewing. If an exemption for a vessel to sail shorthanded is required, email Please note that all exemptions are time-restricted and cannot be issued for either Masters or Chief Engineers.

  • Where to send your documents

  • You can email documents to us at

    You can also call us on +44 (0)203 817 2200. Phone lines are open 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Thursday, and 09:00 to 16:30 on Fridays, excluding UK public holidays.