Maritime and Coastguard Agency code of practice for superyachts will be reviewed following calls by designers

Concerns raised at New Zealand’s Yacht Vision ’02 Design Symposium in New Zealand, about Britain’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Code of Practice for Safety, has prompted the Coastguard to call for a review of the regulation. Critics of the MCA Code, including superyacht designers Ron Holland and Ken Freivokh, have claimed that the regulation was introduced after very little discussion with designers and builders of pleasure craft who now find they are forced to comply with many regulations affecting design and construction. They argue that owners find them expensive and in many cases unnecessary.

While welcoming the need for safety, the marine industry has found that the administration of the Code by the MCA was also being driven by brokers and charter operators who believe that eventually all motor and sailing vessels would need to be MCA certified or would be difficult to sell if a new owner wished to charter. This would not only involve new vessels but also existing vessels which would be forced into expensive refits to meet the Code.

It has now been agreed that the Code should be reviewed by the Superyacht Society, an international industry organisation to which most leading builders and designers belong. The Society will establish a regional review process through its board of directors that will involve representatives of all parties to debate and put forward proposed changes to the Code of Practice of Safety which will be coordinated through the Superyacht Society and discussed at least annually with the MCA.