Law of Yachts and Yachting

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Yacht Codes: Safety and Compliance for Superyachts

Yacht Codes: Safety and Compliance for Superyachts

  • 1. Yacht codes 256
  • 2. The SOLAS Convention 260
  • 3. The ISM Code 261
  • 4. The ISPS Code 264
  • 5. The STCW95 265
  • Compliance and classification societies 266

1. Yacht Codes

[11-001] The Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY3). Whether a superyacht is used as a private pleasure vessel or operated for commercial charter purposes, it is necessary for her to comply with all safety and pollution prevention requirements set by all applicable international Conventions. However, the size and design constrains of large yachts, the particular environment in which they are crewed and operated and the manner in which they are commercially used would make the full application of three key IMO Conventions1 impractical, if not impossible and inappropriate in a commercial yachting context. For this reason, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, in consultation with classification societies, yacht-builders and other key stakeholders in the commercial yachting sector, developed in 1997 a Code of Practice to establish standards of safety and pollution prevention appropriate to the size and use of vessels in commercial usage for sport and pleasure. The purpose of the Code, therefore, is not that of lowering the well-known and tested IMO safety standards applicable to merchant ships, but rather that of adapting them to meet the requirements of this very special sector of the shipping industry. The substitution of alternative provisions in place of the standards set by international Conventions enforceable in the United Kingdom is expressly allowed by the text of the three safety Conventions discussed in the Code, which permit state administrations to set “equivalents”, provided that the administration concerned is satisfied that they are

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as satisfactory as those required by the Conventions.2 To be effective at international level, such equivalences must be notified to the IMO; under this scheme, the UK notified two instruments currently in force to the IMO: the LY3 by Circular Letter SLS.14/Circ.523-LL.3/Circ.228 and the Passenger Yacht Code or PYC3 by Circular Letter 3171.

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