ULTRALIGHT HOVERCRAFT COMMERCIAL CONSULTANCY SERVICES
Here at Coastal Transit Services, we operate our own craft for hire services on intertidal and inland waters. However, we can't do it all, and we're quite willing to share our knowledge of the advantages, challenges, regulations and limitations that these unique vehicles bring.
Small hovercraft ops are only possible because of the 2015 introduction of The Hovercraft Code of Practice, an MCA code, of which we were one of the primary contributors and authors. Having been, for many years, a Director of The British Hovercraft Company Ltd, and now as a commercial skipper, Russ Pullen is well qualified to offer advice and consultation on all aspects of Ultralight Hovercraft Operation to other hovercraft operators.
The Code of Practice sets out strict regulations for the use of hovercraft. It’s a fair, industry-lead document, but a can be a bit overwhelming. A thorough understanding of it is necessary to ensure safe, legal operation. Based on The Small Workboat Code, it sets out requirements for build specifications, manning, craft examinations, equipment and operating parameters and restrictions. Meeting these is necessary for safe, legal operation and to protect the validity of your insurance. You can download it HERE.
With a decade, and thousands of hours, of experience in Commercial Operations, both in marine and inland waters, we can advise accurately on how to meet operator’s obligations. We are ‘Competent Persons’ under MCA regulations, so we can undertake safety and equipment inspections, train and license skippers, prepare risk assessments and operating procedures, inspect sites and advise on access, liaise with statuary authorities, landowners, councils and environmental bodies – all and everything to allow you to safely, legally deploy hovercraft for commercial operations. We understand marine hovercraft limitations, legalities and operating parameters probably better than anyone else in the UK.
Q : What is an ‘Ultralight Hovercraft?’
A : A commercially operated hovercraft up to 500kgs with no more than 4 persons on board. This is our area of expertise.
Q: What regulations must it meet?
A : The MCA Hovercraft Code of Practice removes Ultralights from a coding requirement and places them under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER.) This applies equally in both marine and inland operations. The Code of practice does not remove any obligation to obtain other necessary permissions.
Q : What are the operating restrictions?
A : Tight, but workable. Daylight hours only, in a restricted area and proximity to land or safety backup.
Q : What are the practical limits of small hovercraft?
A : Hovercraft by definition are a compromise, given their unique amphibious qualities. They don’t have quite the same sea-keeping abilities as a boat of the same size, though they are not bad by any means. Some surfaces are more suitable than others and they are more effected by wind, waves and load than any other vehicle! This ‘interaction’ is a critical part of hovercraft operations, as is an understanding of the dynamics of the craft.
CONSULTANCY SERVICES - WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU.
Skipper instruction from basic tuition to specialist roles.
Operator licences issued for commercial operations.
Hovercraft Certification and annual inspections.
Advise on, and inspection of, necessary equipment.
Preparation of Risk Assessments and Operating Procedures.
Liaising with river authorities and statutory ports.
Site inspections and advise on preparation.
Hovercraft Code assistance.