Unmanned Survey Solutions (USS), in close collaboration with Stehr Consulting Ltd, is excited to announce the launch of the groundbreaking project ‘Unlocking the Potential for ‘Mini-MASS’ in UK Waters.’ This innovative initiative, funded by Innovate UK under the Launchpad: Marine and Maritime in the Great South West – R1 MFA competition, aims to revolutionise the smaller Marine Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS) market.

Our partnership with Stehr Consulting Ltd brings together a wealth of technical expertise and extensive experience, making this collaboration the perfect fit to address a significant regulatory and certification challenges hindering the widespread adoption of smaller Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs) in UK waters.

The recent updates to the Workboat Code Edition 3 (WBC3) by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) represent a major step forward, incorporating provisions for Remotely Operated Unmanned Vessels (ROUVs). However, WBC3 predominantly focuses on larger, higher-risk vessels within the sub 24m market, overlooking the unique characteristics and lower risk associated with ‘Mini-MASS.’ As a result, the current requirements present significant challenges for these smaller vessels, creating a barrier to innovation.

This project aims to break down these barriers by providing a comprehensive open-source report and templates that meticulously analyse WBC3 requirements. These analyses will identify requirements that are:

  • Valid in the context of demonstrating safety for ‘Mini-MASS’.
  • Partially valid.
  • Not valid in the context of demonstrating safety for ‘Mini-MASS’.

For requirements in the latter two categories, the project aims to produce generate generic template safety argument patterns, streamlining the certification process for ‘Mini-MASS’ vessels and informing future policy development.

Building on the foundational work of the Surface Autonomy Subgroup of the Future Autonomous at Sea Technologies (FAST) Cluster, the largest marine autonomy cluster in the UK, this project aspires to minimise certification burdens while maintaining safety standards. James Williams, CEO of USS, and chair of the subgroup has championed engagement with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the MCA on ‘Mini-MASS’ matters. The results of this project are expected to unlock the potential of ‘Mini-MASS’ in UK waters, catalysing business growth, and fostering innovation and economic development in the Southwest’s maritime sector.

USS is committed to driving innovation and economic growth through initiatives like these. We look forward to the transformative impact this project will have on the marine and maritime industry.

For further information, please contact:

James Williams MSc IHO/FIG CAT A

CEO, Unmanned Survey Solutions



Unit 7 Hayle Marine Renewables Business Park, North Quay, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 4DD, UK

Unmanned Survey Solutions design, build and deploy remotely operated USVs to provide scalable turnkey data solutions in the offshore environment. Innovation and sustainability are at the forefront of the company’s mission to reduce maritime carbon emissions using electric and hybrid vessels. Established as a solution provider for Offshore Energy, Ports & Harbours and in Defence and Security, USS operates internationally and has successfully executed missions in Europe and Africa.


Ashley Stehr

Director & Principle Consultant, Stehr Consulting Ltd



Stehr Consulting Ltd is a leading engineering and technology consultancy dedicated to unlocking the potential of innovative technology across various sectors and markets. With a vision focused on decarbonisation, digitalisation, and disruptive innovations, we drive transformative change. In the maritime sector, Stehr Consulting Ltd leverages its extensive technical expertise and experience to support pioneering projects that enhance safety, efficiency, and sustainability. Our team is committed to advancing marine autonomy and fostering economic growth through strategic partnerships and cutting-edge solutions, exemplified by our collaboration with Unmanned Survey Solutions (USS) on the ‘Unlocking the Potential for Mini-MASS in UK Waters’ project.

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