The High Speed Craft Safety Certificate


This journey through ship certification is now exploring some of the more specialized certificates, that is that required by High speed Craft.

Two High Speed craft Codes

  • The International Code of safety for High speed Craft 1994
  • The International Code of safety for High speed Craft 2000

The 2000 Code applies to high speed craft of which the keels were laid or which are at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 July 2002.

The High Speed Craft Safety Certificate

Why is the HSC safety certificate required?

It is required by the International Code of safety for High-speed craft 2000 ( the HSC CertHSCUKcode)

What does it certify?        

That the craft has been surveyed in accordance with the HSC code and in all respects the craft complies with the relevant provisions of the Code.

That the life‐saving appliances are provided for a stated number of persons

What is a high speed craft?

High-speed craft is a craft capable of a maximum speed, in metres per second (m/s), equal to or exceeding a value obtained from the formula

Cert HSC formula

Where Delta is the volume of displacement corresponding to the design waterline (m3),excluding craft the hull of which is supported completely clear above the water surface in non-displacement mode by aerodynamic forces generated by ground effect.

What vessels must comply with the High Speed craft code?

High speed craft that:

  • Are engaged in international voyages
  • Had keels of laid or which are at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 July 2002.

And is either:

  • A passenger craft which does not proceed in the course of their voyage more than four hours at 90% of maximum speed from a place of refuge.or
  • A cargo craft of 500 gross tonnage and upwards which do not proceed in the course of their voyage more than 8 hours at 90% of maximum speed from a place of refuge when fully laden.

The code does not apply to:

  • Craft of war and troopcraft
  • Craft not propelled by mechanical means
  • Wooden craft of primitive build
  • Pleasure craft not engaged in trade
  • Fishing craft

What information is shown on the Certificate?

Particulars of craft

  • Name of craft
  • Manufacturer’ s model and hull number
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • IMO number
  • Port of registry
  • Gross tonnage
  • Sea areas in which the craft is certified to operate
  • Design waterline details, and corresponding draughts
  • Position of reference line
  • Category:
    • category A passenger craft
    • category B passenger craft
    • Cargo craft
  • Craft type:
    • air‐cushion vehicle
    • surface‐effect ship
    • hydrofoil
    • monohull
    • multihull
    • other
  • Date on which keel was laid or craft was at a similar stage of construction or on which a major conversion was conducted

The Certificate shall be supplemented by a Record of Equipment.

What Surveys are required to maintain the certificate?

The Harmonised System of Survey and Certification does not apply, the surveys required by the certificate are:

  • An Initial Survey before the craft is put in service or before the Certificate is issued for the first time
  • A Periodical Survey (which includes an inspection of the ship’s bottom), annually within 3 months, before or after, the anniversary date of the certificate
  • A Renewal Survey (which includes an inspection of the ship’s bottom) at intervals specified by the flag state, but must not exceeding 5 years
  • An Additional Survey as required

Permit to operate High speed craft

Another document required to be held by High Speed Craft is the Permit to operate. Th permit is more specific than the High Speed Craft safety Certificate; covering a specific craft trading on specific routes.

When must a Permit to operate High Speed Craft be held?

The permit must be held for shall not operate commercially unless a Permit to Operate CertHSCPermitHigh‐Speed Craft is issued and valid in addition to the High‐Speed Craft Safety Certificate. Transit voyage without passengers or cargo may be undertaken without the Permit to Operate High‐Speed Craft.

When is a Permit to operate High Speed Craft required?

The permit is required by high speed craft operating on a commercially with passengers or cargo onboard.

The Permit to Operate High‐Speed Craft shall be issued by the flag state to certify compliance with the code and state the conditions of the operation of the craft.

When may a voyage be conducted without a Permit to Operate?

On transit voyages provided the craft is not operating commercially with passengers or cargo onboard. These transit voyages include delivery voyages and repositioning voyages.  These voyages may be undertaken provided that:

  • The craft has a valid High‐Speed Craft Safety Certificate or similar before the start of such a voyage
  • The operator has developed a safety plan for the voyage including any temporary accommodation to ensure that the craft is capable of safely completing the transit voyage
  • The master of the craft is provided with the materials and information necessary to operate the craft safely during the transit voyage
  • The Administration is satisfied that arrangements have been made for the safe conduct of the voyage

What consultation will the flag state conduct before issuing the Permit to operate?

The Administration shall consult with each port State to obtain details of any operational conditions associated with operation of the craft in that State. Any such conditions  shall be shown on the Permit to Operate and be included in the route operational manual.

What must a flag state be assured of before issuing a Permit to operate?

  • The suitability of the craft for the service intended
  • The suitability of the operating conditions in the route operational manual
  • The arrangements for obtaining weather information
  • Provision in the area of operation of a base port
  • The designation of the person responsible for decisions to cancel or delay a
    particular voyage
  • Sufficient crew complement
  • Crew qualifications and training
  • Restrictions with regard to working hours, rostering of crews and any other
    arrangements to prevent fatigue
  • he training of crew in craft operation and emergency procedures
  • The maintenance of crew competence in regard to operation and emergency
  • Safety arrangements at terminals
  • Traffic control arrangements
  • Restrictions and/or provisions relating to position fixing and to operation by night or in restricted visibility
  • Additional equipment which may be required, due to the specific characteristics of
    the service intended
  • Communication arrangements
  • The keeping of records
  • Arrangements to ensure that equipment is maintained
  • The existence and use of adequate instructions regarding:
    Loading of the craft
    Provision of adequate fuel reserves
    Action in the event of reasonable foreseeable emergencies
    Provision of contingency plans

What information is contained on the permit to operate?

  • Name of craft
  • Manufacturer’ s model and hull number
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • IMO number
  • Port of registry
  • Category
    • Category A passenger craft
    • category B passenger craft
    • Cargo craft
  • Name of operator
  • Areas or routes of operation
  • Base port
  •  Maximum distance from place  of  refuge
  • Number of:
    • Passengers maximum permitted
    • Manning scale required
  • Worst intended conditions
  • Other operational restrictions

What is a Category A and Category B craft?

Category A craft is any high‐speed passenger craft:

Operating on a route where it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the flag and port States that there is a high probability that in the event of an evacuation at any point of the route, all passengers and crew can be rescued safely within the

least of:

  • the time to prevent persons in survival craft from exposure causing hypothermia in the worst intended conditions,
  • the time appropriate with respect to environmental conditions and geographical features of the route, or
  • 4 hours


  • Carrying not more than 450 passengers.

Category B craft is any high‐speed passenger craft other than a category A craft, with machinery and safety systems arranged such that, in the event of any essential machinery and safety systems in any one compartment being disabled, the craft retains the capability to navigate safely.

Further information on HSC Certification



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2 thoughts on “The High Speed Craft Safety Certificate

  1. […] complete the exploration of the High Speed Craft Safety Certification, here is a quick post on the high speed craft […]


  2. […] High-Speed Craft Safety Certificate–SOLAS 1974, regulation X/3 […]


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