The International Institute of Marine Surveyors (IIMS) is this week completing a pilot course for Registered Marine Coatings Inspectors’ qualification designed to resolve one of the most contentious issues in the superyacht industry: the paint job. The program was instigated by the Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) in conjunction with the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) working with IIMS.

Technical leaders at five SYBAss yards and a number of the leading ICOMIA-member paint applicator and manufacturer companies are attending the pilot course. Once completed and adjusted after feedback, the full course will be offered to the industry, with the first talking place in Portsmouth 20-24 October and a second in Amsterdam 6-10 December ahead of the first major industry coatings conference there.    

“At a meeting of the SYBAss Coatings Working group 2 years ago during METS the need for improved understanding of yacht building and its specific coatings process among marine surveyors was expressed by the yards,” said Robert van Tol, operational director of SYBAss. “When marine surveyors verify the paint job today, it’s done subjectively. There are a lack of tools and standards in place. So over the past few years, SYBAss and ICOMIA have been developing ISO standards for superyacht coatings and their measurement. What we’re doing now is equipping the surveyors with the tools to do the job correctly and to an equitable standard.”

It’s an industry-led initiative, and as such has broad support from shipyards, paint manufacturers and applicators alike. The course syllabus has been developed in conjunction with leading stakeholders in the industry, including the Institute of Corrosion, Awlgrip, Elcomoeter, Jotun, BYK and Wrede Consulting. "People like Ken Hickling and Joop Enllenbroek have been diretcly involved in building the curriculum," van Tol says. "It's a very rigorous course."

To be accepted on the week long course, which includes a formal examination, candidates require a NACE, FROSIO, or ICorr Level II qualification, or significant relevant industry experience.

“What is absolutely clear is that the superyacht industry struggles with the issue of coatings; this is a problem,” Mike Schwarz, CEO of the International Institute of Marine Surveying said. “If owners of very expensive vessels look to reduce the cost of the build by suing because they’re not happy with the finish of the coating, there is a problem. Our goal is to create a certification that is robust and becomes recognized and respected across the industry. It’s transparent, there is an examination at the end of it, which you pass or fail. We think the industry will buy onto this.”

“Currently, only a handful of inspectors are being hired to do this job,” van Tol comments. “That puts them in a good position, but that’s not of course how a professional industry would function. So we welcome more marine surveyors; over time we expect this RMCI certificate will be mandatory for entering the shipyard.”

Before this qualification was developed there were no specific qualifications for Marine Coatings Inspectors. IIMS is encouraging coatings surveyors and inspectors to complete the £1,800 Registered Marine Coating Inspector course and qualification so the industry collectively can deliver the performance clients expect. The RMCI qualification is organised, managed and delivered by the International Institute of Marine Surveying through the Marine Surveying Academy. The qualification is jointly certificated by IIMS and ICorr.

Profile links

Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss)


Awlgrip Europe

Jotun Coatings


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