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MGN 580 (M) – Fire Protection – Fire Retardant Treatments for Fabrics – New Legislation

Although the new MGN 580 (M) legislation replaces the previous MGN 453 (M), all vessels with MGN 453 (M) certification will continue to be covered until the renewal date of their certificate. Upon which any future certification will be completed to the new MGN 580 (M) standard.

Here’s What You Need To Know about Compliance and MGN 580 (M)

The requirements regarding flame retardant treatments and those who apply them on-board vessels certified under the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Large Commercial Yacht Code part A (vessel < 500GT) have improved immensely over the last 20 years. We believe some of the the most significant changes took place when MGN 453 (M) was introduced. The MGN 453 (M) requirements were more stringent and raised the standards of those companies providing this crucial service. At that time, any prior MCA accreditations were revoked and all companies had to be approved and certified in accordance with a new set of procedures to recognise and document what was fire safe. As a result, crews, owners, and guests would benefit from the advancement.

Important Facts to Note

Although the new MGN 580 (M) legislation replaces the previous MGN 453 (M), all vessels with MGN 453 (M) certification will continue to be covered until the renewal date of their certificate. Upon which any future certification will be completed to the new MGN 580 (M) standard.

To control the approval of these fire retardant treatments, the MCA continues to use MCA Approval Procedures and a Declaration of Conformity for such treatments.

The standards required by those applying flame retardant products to floor coverings, suspended textile materials, upholstery materials and bedding components are set out in The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Marine Guidance Note (MGN) 580 (M).

The duration of the MGN 580 (M) Declaration of Conformity is not decided by the MCA, but by the Service Provider.  

The MCA, and therefore all of the REG Flags recommend treatment every 12 months.  Take a look at this article explaining the pros and cons of MGN 580 (M) Declaration of Conformity duration so you can make an informed decision.

Timeline of Legislation

  • The first Yacht Code was published by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 1997
  • LY2 The Large Commercial Yacht Code MSA 010/009/0184 published September 2007
  • LY3 The Large Commercial Yacht Code MS 174/004/055 published August 2012
  • MGN 453(M) came into force on 1st October 2012
  • The Large Yacht Code LY3 combined into The Red Ensign Group Yacht Code known as The REG published Jan 2019.
  • Finally, the most recent amendment has been MGN 580 (M) which came into force in 2020.

Very little has changed in MGN 580 (M) from the previous MGN 453 (M) legislation. As a result, owners, guests, captains, crew, management companies and charter companies, won’t have to do anything new.

We have set out the amendments below in more detail in a QA format.

The New MGN 580 (M) Legislation – What has changed from the previous MGN 453 (M)? Your Questions Answered.


MGN 580 (M): What do owners and captains of vessels need to do?

There are no changes from the client perspective at all. MGN 453 (M) certification is still recognised and valid until the renewal date. Then the certification will be completed to the new MGN 580 (M) standard.

MGN 580 (M) – What has changed compared to MGN 453 (M) legislation?

1. MCA Notified Bodies to Manage the new legislation.

The MCA have passed the management of MGN 580 (M) to any interested parties who are on the MCA’s Notified Body List of UKAS Accredited Companies.

2. Changes to the pre-test process when the flame retardancy chemical is tested.

The MGN now requires a pre-soak of all textiles before we visit to treat them and the process witnessed, before the samples are then sent to test.

The fabrics are now soaked in water for 72 hours and the water is changed every 24 hours to prevent any pre-treatment tampering, before the company is invited in to spray. This is done to break down any previous treatments which may have been applied and thus preventing a spurious result.

Under the new MGN 580 (M), are all textiles tested to a higher performance requirement than previously?

No, that is not true. The only addition is the pre-soak discussed above which has nothing to do with flammability testing, that is exactly as it was and is strictly controlled by the IMO FTP Code of 2010, none of which has changed.

Do carpet and floor coverings require both flammability and the stringent life saving toxicity test under the new MGN 580 (M)?

No, that is not true, the IMO FTP CODE 2010 (Revised 2012) Part 5 – A.653 (16) Test for Surface Flammability for primary floor coverings is exactly the same, this includes the smoke toxicity test. They now have a water extraction element after treatment, which has been taken from the rules used for Cruise liners and Passenger Ferries, but no change to the Flame Test.

What does the MCA say about the requirement to treat carpets?

We contacted the MCA regarding this very subject and here is what they said about carpets and floor coverings:-

1. There is currently no requirement on Large Yachts under 500GT to treat floor coverings

2. The REG Yacht Code (Red Ensign Group) provides the current requirement.

3. Part A Section 14A does not require FTP Code compliance of carpets. (in line with SOLAS for under 500GT cargo ships).

4. Part A Section 14B does not require FTP Code compliance of carpets – only Primary Deck Coverings.

5. Part B Passenger Yachts does require FTP Code compliance of carpets – (in line with SOLAS for Passenger ships)

MGN 580(M) details how to treat floor coverings and primary deck coverings if there is a requirement to do so. MGN 580(M) does not constitute the requirement.

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