Offshore Development Areas

Document Identification: Operations Notice 42
Publication Date: November 2022
Review Due: November 2025
Target Audience: All stakeholders
Internal Reference: 2022/
Document Owner: ED1 Operational Delivery Team


This notice gives details of the arrangements for the creation of offshore development areas (ODAs).


Offshore development areas were introduced in 1980 as a means of advising mariners not to enter particular areas because of the high levels of activity associated with the establishment of offshore oil and gas installations. ODAs are for the initial construction phase only and will not be granted for decommissioning. However, decommissioning areas can be marked on Admiralty charts at the discretion of the Hydrographic Office, and enquiries should be sent to [email protected].

ODAs are advisory only and have no statutory force.


Applications to establish ODAs should be sent to [email protected]. HSE acts as the link between interested parties. After consultation ODAs may be marked on Admiralty charts, or a Notice to Mariners issued by the Hydrographic Office.

ODAs are for a specified period of time which must be stated in the application.

If operators feel specific markings are necessary, they should apply to the Hydrographic Office to have a revised warning note included on Admiralty charts for the information of all mariners including fishermen.

In all cases, the Hydrographic Office has advised that they must be provided with full details of all activities/installations so that a decision can be made on the most appropriate way in which this information is distributed, to ensure the safety of all categories of mariners. Any such action is entirely a matter for operators and mariners. Enquiries should be sent to [email protected].

Further information

Any queries relating to this notice should be sent to [email protected]

This guidance is issued by the Offshore Major Accident Regulator (OMAR).  Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action.  But if you do follow the guidance, you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.  Inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice.

Updated 2021-02-16