A new regulatory framework for yachts namely the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code (hereinafter referred to as “the REG Code”) was launched on the 13th November 2017 at the Global Superyacht Forum in Amsterdam.

The new REG Code is the result of a lot of work, lengthy discussions and cooperation between the members of the Red Ensign Group and the industry as a whole. Sir Alan Massey, CEO of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, described the Code as “an excellent example of how well the Red Ensign Group works both together as a team and also with the wider industry to make sure we continue to be that. We maintain the highest maritime safety standards but also recognise that we must take into account a changing industry.”

The REG Code consists of two parts with common annexes such as for over-side working systems, sailing vessels and helicopter landing areas, enabling builders and designers to continue to recognise the familiar formats of the existing REG codes. It will consolidate an updated version of the Large Yacht Code (LY3) and the latest version of the Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) to address the needs of the large yacht industry. Specifically, an updated version of LY3 in ‘Part A’ will continue to be applied to yachts that are 24 meters and over in load line length, in commercial use, for sport or pleasure and which do not carry cargo or more than 12 passengers. ‘Part B’ will consist of the latest version of the PYC 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.

As per Jo Assael, senior surveyor and yacht code specialist for the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, ‘although the codes remain mostly the same, we want to make sure that within this prescriptive framework, we have equivalent arrangement clauses. These support innovation and point to alternative SOLAS design routes as an alternative which would be just as safe as the prescriptive one.’

Highlighted in the REG Code are the necessary steps required to adapt to the International Maritime Organisation’s new four year adoption and amendment cycle for its Conventions (SOLAS, Load Line & STCW), to which the Codes form equivalences. This with the hope of making the Large Yacht Code more dynamic to industry change and development, while slowing the annual PYC editions to continue to meet the new international requirements for passenger ships.

The new Code will come into force on the 1st of January 2019 in order to give the industry sufficient time to become familiar with its provisions. The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry will take the lead in the secretariat function of the code, on behalf of the REG.

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