Following the British government’s final approval of the Large Yacht Code 3 (LY3) on 15 August, and its coming into effect on 20 August, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued a Merchant Shipping Notice – MSN1851 – which in addition to confirming the code as statute law, states that renewed safety requirements that will be applicable to existing vessels (detailed in section 3. 3. 3) may be implemented over an 18-month ‘phasing-in’ period.

The vast majority of LY3’s remit will cover the construction of new UK-flagged yachts after 20 August 2013. However, a small number of standards will be applied retrospectively.

According to Simon Milne, manager of the MCA’s vessel standards branch, the following rules will be applied to existing vessels, although as MSN1851 details the agency is now considering the option of allowing these requirements to have a grace period of 18 months.

Section 3.3.3.  For information, these are described below -

(a)    Section 13.2.4 Lifejackets (enacts into LY3 a SOLAS amendment for over-size passenger and infants that entered into force several years ago for other vessels);
(b)    Section 16.3.1 (Radio equipment)  (the only change to radio for existing vessels is the strong recommendation to carry MF radio outside
GMDSS Area A1; there is no technical change required);
(c)    Section 18.1.8 Vessels of 300GT and over have LRIT fitted (in accordance with SOLAS requirements since 2008 for other ships);
(d)     Section 18.1.9 Vessels of 150GT and over have BNWAS fitted (in accordance with SOLAS requirements, and includes a phase-in timetable for existing vessels);
(e)    Section 26 Manning and Personnel Certification (primarily a simplification that removes the old manning tables from 26.2.4 and .7, clarifies the exemption procedure from 26.1.7, and adds a reference for guidance about hotel staff in manning levels.  There is no change required to the vessel itself);
(f)    Section 29 Crew Agreements  (There is actually no change to the requirements for UK vessels.  Section 29 would permit another national administration to bring a change in further to MLC);
(g)    Section 30.2 Vessels under 500GT, Safety Management  (The only change to the safety management requirement is to add emergency towing and use of personal watercraft.  Again neither requires changes to the vessel and are only documentary);
(h)     Existing sailing yachts may take advantage of the definition of a ‘Short range yacht’ in this version of the Code (which allows them out in F6 instead of F4 winds).

Speaking exclusively to Milne said that the issuance of a MSN marks the entrance of the requisite regulation into law, making it mandatory for all UK-flagged vessels. “We have our parliamentary process to go through and it’s taken us from Monaco to 15 August to complete it”, he explained.

“The draft was finalised in May last year”, Milne said, and prudent project managers had already begun to build to LY3 specifications. “Keels have already been laid to these rules for both UK and [Red Ensign] flags.” Referring to the possibility of a phasing-in period for existing vessels, built to previous incarnations of the code, Milne said “there is reference to an 18-month period that can be requested if it’s not possible to do it [immediately] but superyachts usually have far more advanced wheelhouses than the regulations require anyway.”

There are a number of safety requirements that will be applied retrospectively, now LY3 has been passed into UK law.

To read MSN1851 in full, please click here.

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MCA - Maritime and Coastguard Agency / Ensign

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