Code of Practice: The Safe Operation of Recreational Craft

Code of Practice: The Safe Operation of Recreational Craft

The Code of Practice is a valuable source of information, advice and best practice operational guidance for owners, masters, operators and users of a range of pleasure and recreational craft operating in Irish coastal and inland waters, including:

Sail and Motor Boats                          Sailing Dinghies

Personal watercraft (e.g. jet skis)        Power boats

Canoes, Kayaks                                  Rowing Boats

Charter Boats                                     Ski boats and dive boats

Windsurfers, Stand-Up Paddle Board users and other non-powered craft.

Part A (Chapter 1) outlines the legislative requirements that apply to all recreational craft or specific types or size of craft. Owners and operators must comply with the requirements appropriate to their craft.  A useful Checklist of Basic Requirements and Advice can be found on page 5 of the Code.

Part B (Chapters 2 to 11) contains recommended guidelines and best practice information on the safe operation of recreational craft. Chapters 2 to 9 provide guidance in relation to particular types of craft/activities. Chapters 10 and 11 provide information on safety operations and emergency procedures, while a series of 11 Appendices cover such topics as radiocommunications, collision prevention, weather and sea states, lifejacket use, passage planning, buoyage and anchoring.

The Code of Practice is available free of charge and copies of English and Irish versions may be requested from the Maritime Safety Policy Division of the Department at

Owners and operators of recreational craft should familiarise themselves with Part A of the Code, the particular Chapter in Part B appropriate to their type of vessel, together with Chapters 10, 11 and the Appendices. 

The Code of Practice is available to download in both English and Irish versions.

Individual Chapters and the Appendices are also available to download for those who may only have an interest in a particular type of recreational craft.