The Red Ensign Group has announced that it is working on a new code of practice for the safety and operation of large commercial yachts designed to merge the Large Yacht Code (known as “LY3”) and the Passenger Yacht Code (known as “PYC”) into one consolidated framework.

The Red Ensign Group is the collective working party for the shipping registries comprising the British Register of Ships. This includes the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) and eight UK Overseas Territories (including the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands).

Any vessel registered in the UK, a Crown Dependency or UK Overseas Territory, is a “British ship” and is entitled to fly the Red Ensign flag. The Red Ensign is the most popular international flag flown by large yachts due to its high level of quality, prestige and universal acceptability. It is estimated that around 80% of the world’s large yacht fleet flies the British flag.

The new code of practice will be titled, ‘The Red Ensign Large Yacht Code’, and will be unveiled at the 2017 Monaco Yacht Show. It will further develop the well-established industry standards of the current codes and assimilate the lessons learned from almost 20 years of regulating the large yacht sector since the first version of the Large Yacht Code was published by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 1997.

The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry will take the lead in the secretariat function of the code, on behalf of the Red Ensign Group.  Highlighted in the code are the necessary steps required to adapt to the International Maritime Organisation’s new four yearly adoption and amendment cycle for its Conventions to which the codes form equivalences (SOLAS, Load Line & STCW). This will make the Large Yacht Code more dynamic to industry change and development, whilst slowing the annual Passenger Yacht Code editions to continue to meet the new international requirements for passenger ships.

The new Red Ensign Group Yacht Code will be a code of two parts with common annexes, such as for helicopter landing areas, enabling builders and designers to continue to recognise the familiar formats of the existing REG codes. An updated version of the Large Yacht Code in ‘Part A’ will continue to be applied to yachts which are 24 metres or over in load line length, in commercial use for sport or pleasure and don’t carry cargo or more than 12 passengers. ‘Part B’ will consist of the latest version of the Passenger Yacht Code applicable to pleasure yachts of any size, in private use or engaged in trade, which carry more than 12 but not more than 36 passengers and do not carry cargo.

The new code will make larger use of industry best practice and international standards such as ISO (British Marine have a large input into the development of ISO standards by sitting on SME 32 BSi working groups). It will also follow the IMO’s overarching remit for increased ‘goal based standards’ as a form of regulations, allowing room for further flexibility and innovation in the design and construction of yachts.

Oceanskies has always recommended the adoption of the applicable code of practice as the benchmark standard for the build and operation of any yacht regardless of its usage and we welcome this latest evolution that recognises not only the dominance of the British Register of Ships in the large yacht market but also the importance of the codes in establishing and maintaining this position.

As one of the world’s largest yacht registration and documentation agencies we welcome enquiries from owners considering options for their chosen flag state and port of registry for their vessel.

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