Updates to the Yacht Code Underway
17 June 2020

Work is currently underway to update and amend the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Yacht Code (the “Code”). Taking input from across the Registry’s global specialist teams, as well as external experts, a revised version is expected to be ready in the first half of 2021.

“We hope that these amendments to the Code will make it more practical than ever before for owners and yards to choose the Marshall Islands as a building standard,” said Marc Verburg, Fleet Operations Manager Yachts for International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI), who is leading the Code revision.

The newly formed Yacht Technical Working Group (YTWG), which includes representatives from Classification Societies, yacht managers, naval architects, surveyors, maritime safety consultants, and aviation experts from around the world, is focused on updating the Code to reflect changes in today’s yacht market, such as helicopter landing areas, structural fire protection measures for yachts under 500 gross tons (GT), and lifesaving appliances.

The growing trend for helidecks on larger yachts means that the approach to firefighting systems needs to be reviewed. Currently, the rules are based on the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority’s CAP 437 guidance, which is aimed at offshore platforms. This is not always a practical solution for yachts, and so a goal-based standard is being reviewed.

“The pop-up deck spray nozzles found on rig helipad firefighting systems are not always feasible on a yacht, so we’re looking at alternative means that can perform the task just as well,” Verburg explained.

The RMI Yacht Code has long been designed to address the practical issues faced by builders, managers, and owners alike; it last had a major update in 2015.

For many builders of large yachts, the appeal of the RMI lies in the differentiations in the standards for yachts capable of carrying more than 12 guests. Large private yachts do not have to be built to the same specifications as are provided in the Code, Chapter III for passenger yachts. The RMI allows, through its national legislation and the Code, the registration of commercial yachts, private yachts, private yachts limited charter (PYLCs), and passenger yachts (PAXYs). It also allows for RMI-flagged private yachts to charter in French and Monégasque waters without the need for commercial registration by requesting a Temporary Certificate of Registry for Yacht Engaged in Trade.

“Although we are not the largest yacht registry by size, we focus our attention on quality and our ability to provide a 24/7 problem solving service,” said Patrick Bachofner, Director of IRI’s Geneva office and Worldwide Director, Yachts.