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Inland waterways working time regulations come into force

Published on: 21 December 2017

hotel boat

New regulations which govern the working hours of crew on board passenger vessels and hotel boats operating on inland waterways will come into force in the new year. The Merchant Shipping (Inland Waterways: Working Time) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 were placed in the UK statute book last week (on 14 December) and will come into force on 5 January 2018.

The full Regulation is available to read/download at this link: The regulations are explained, and guidance provided in MSN 1876(M).

The key points of note to operators of passenger vessels and hotel boats on the UK's inland waterways are:

  • The Regulations apply to vessels (other than pleasure vessels) ordinarily operating in categorised waters
  • Employers of workers on vessels engaged in the carriage of passengers or cargo must comply with the daily, weekly, and annual limits on working time and daily and weekly minimum rest periods
  • The regulations apply to young persons (under the age of 18) except where the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) (Employment of Young Persons) Regulations 1998 provide a higher level of protection
  • Night work is limited and health and safety protection measures must be taken for night workers
  • The work schedule must allow rest days for workers, based on the number of days they have worked continuously, normally following immediately the period of continuous work
  • A rest break must be provided if the worker works for more than 6 hours continuously
  • Records must be kept to demonstrate compliance with the Regulations
  • Workers must be provided with at least 4 weeks paid leave per year, and also 1.6 weeks of additional leave (recognising that there should be an entitlement to leave for public holidays); each entitlement should be given pro rata for periods of employment of less than one year
  • Annual health assessments must be available at no financial cost to the worker

Concerns or questions should be directed to Julie Carlton at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency at British Marine members may contact the technical team with any queries at