The Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) is five years in the making and appears to be very slowly gaining traction. Spearheaded by the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, the code was devised to offer a more yacht-friendly alternative to rigid SOLAS requirements, and as passenger number demands increase, so do the limitations placed on builders, naval architects and guests by commercial regulations.
The purpose of the code is to relax some of these rules, while still providing a constructional and operational framework that is robust enough to ensure superyachts remain safe. And some of its key contributors over the years are among the industry’s most respected regulatory minds.
However, when sitting in on a five-year review of the code at the Global Superyacht Forum led by two of these key former contributors – Wright Maritime Group’s Pete Southgate and Döhle Yachts’ Richie Blake – the view among attendees was that it’s still not quite relaxed enough.
Equanimity was originally built to PYC...
The main query was relating to the fairly arbitrary on board personnel limit of 120. The view shared among some of the builders in attendance was that this number was too low to deliver the modern superyacht experience, and that it should be raised or lifted altogether. There was also some disquiet about the stringency of manning requirements and engine room supervision.
Like the MCA’s Large Yacht Code, which is now onto its third edition, the PYC is a living document, which is constantly being finessed and improved. As such, the 2016 version will include a sailing yacht-specific code to accommodate their burgeoning size and scope.
However, compared to the Large Yacht Code, which has established itself as the de facto document of its kind, uptake has been slow. There are only a handful of yachts built to PYC and only a handful of managers certified to look after them.
...as was VaVa II.
But if one finds themselves questioning the point of the code, they might like to consider that Paris MoU has vowed to clamp down on unilateral flag state interpretations of international regulations, designed to bend the rules just enough to accommodate superyachts on their books.
For that reason alone, the evolution of a yacht-specific code of international repute is clearly advantageous. Perhaps the more pertinent question then is, does the industry really need two codes? And if so, do we go PYC or LY3?
Messrs Southgate and Blake reunite to review the code's progress at the Global Superyacht Forum.