Republic of the Marshall Islands Authorizes Maritime Aviation as an Aviation Inspection Body for Yachts

26 October 2021

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator (the “Administrator”) recently authorized a third Aviation Inspection Body (AIB), Maritime Aviation, to certify helicopter landing areas (HLAs) aboard RMI flagged yachts. Effective 1 November 2021, Maritime Aviation may inspect and certify HLAs and crew readiness for RMI flagged yachts.

“An HLA certificate is an important layer of safety for passengers and crew,” said Patrick Bachofner, Director, Geneva Office and Worldwide Director, Yachts. “The Administrator relies on authorized AIBs to be experts in aviation, working alongside the owners and other stakeholders to ensure the safety of the yacht, passengers, and crew anytime an HLA is used onboard yachts.”

“As a global leader in facilitating safe, efficient, and regulatory compliant helicopter operations from aviation-capable vessels, Maritime Aviation is delighted to have been appointed as an AIB by the RMI Administrator,” commented Jonathan Turner, Managing Director, Maritime Aviation. “We are very excited to be working on behalf of the forward-looking Administrator, to enable owners of RMI flagged yachts to operate their helicopters safely and commercially, in accordance with the new RMI Yacht Code 2021.”

Maritime Aviation, Squadron Yacht Helidecks, and HeliOperations are the only AIBs that meet the Administrator’s requirements to be eligible to certify HLAs on RMI flagged yachts. All RMI flagged yachts used for commercial purposes are required to have their HLA inspected and certified every 24 months by an authorized AIB. The certification process includes certifying the physical HLA as well as crew readiness.

“Helicopters are increasingly popular, especially since the pandemic. Today’s yachts go around the world exploring remote regions of the globe,” commented Marc Verburg, Fleet Operations Manager, Yachts. “The Administrator must constantly adapt to ensure proper compliance of equipment on board and stay ahead of what our clients need, wherever they are,” he continued.

“The number of aviation-capable superyachts at sea is increasing each year and both owner behavior and commercial demand has created an obvious increase in helicopter movements to and from their heliports. The variety of roles for which owners choose to use their helicopters is also expanding, thanks to the true flexibility that helicopters can offer, if they are operated and managed appropriately,” said Mr. Turner.

Anticipating the needs of the market, the RMI Yacht Code was updated earlier this year to enhance the safety of RMI flagged yachts and to include innovative new design features and technology. These updates have already found their way to the shipyards, who are increasingly interested in building yachts and vessels to meet specific flag State requirements.

“The RMI Yacht Code 2021 includes specific regulations and guidance regarding HLAs,” noted Mr. Verburg. “This has allowed shipyards to incorporate these requirements into the build process. At present, we have six yachts under construction that have incorporated these amended requirements, underscoring how popular helicopters aboard yachts are becoming,” he concluded.

Visit our website for more information on the RMI Yacht Code 2021.

A list of organizations that can act on behalf of the RMI Maritime Administrator, including Classification Societies and AIBs can be found in MG 2-11-15, Organizations Acting on Behalf of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator.