For today’s superyacht owners, bigger, it appears, is better. SuperyachtIntelligence.com tells us that over the past 10 years the average length of yachts delivered has risen from 39.1m to 50.1m, while average gross tonnage has jumped from 485.4gt to 763.3gt. And bigger yachts, in most cases, mean more guests. So as capabilities of designers and shipyards grow, are owners beginning to consider looking at building superyachts that are compliant with the Code of Practice for Yachts Carrying 13 – 36 Passengers, otherwise known as the Passenger Yacht Code (PYC)?

“Expected deliveries for 2014 show how the size of the 100 largest privately owned superyachts continues to grow. It therefore standards to reason that if an owner is building larger, he will want to be able to accommodate more than 12 guests on board,” explains Michele Flandin, marketing manager at Oceanco, which is currently close to delivering its first fullly PYC-compliant superyacht. The 91.5m vessel can accommodate 22 guests in 11 staterooms – a figure that jumps to 26 guests should the owner’s library and study be converted into separate VIP cabins. The owner’s requirement of accommodation for a minimum of 26 guests, divided over at least 11 guest cabins, meant that building the superyacht in accordance with the PYC made sense, while offering the owner substantial benefits surrounding the number of guests on board.


Oceanco's PYC-compliant superyacht will be able to accommodate 26 guests on board. Credit: Oceanco

Building a yacht to the PYC is complex and the decision requires careful consideration by an owner due to the Code’s approach to requirements on size, use and voyage limitations - something Captain Malcolm Jacotine believes can be complex for someone not wholly familiar with the code. “One of the most important decisions to be made is whether the yacht will be a ‘Pleasure Vessel – Unlimited’ – [a private yacht not engaged in trade] or one of the commercial [charter yacht] categories: Passenger Yacht – Unlimited, PY1 or PY2. A Passenger Yacht – Unlimited would impose a significant constraint on the total number of persons on board, unless lifeboats are carried. So, if intending to charter, careful consideration will have to be given to defined voyage limits if wanting to carry more than 50 crew and passengers and whether this is a practical option for the way the yacht is to be used,” advises Captain Jacotine, who adds that the interpretations of the Coastal States are an added consideration. “Many costal states, including Italy and Croatia, impose cruising and anchoring restirctions on Passenger Ships. Those restraints would likely be applied to the yacht which could severely impact on cruising those waters.”


"We know it’s possible to build a superyacht in compliance with the PYC to the full satisfaction of her owner, exterior and interior designers, flag state and classification society, while still maintaining the character of a high class, luxury superyacht."
- Michele Flandin, marketing manager, Oceanco


Crew are an additional consideration and the Code’s requirement for commercially qualified crew is likely to limit the number of industry-specific experienced crew and, moreover, is likely to create a barrier to an owner keeping crew from a previous vessel.

“As with every new set of rules and regulations, all parties involved went through a steep learning curve coming to grips with the full implications of the Code while ironing out some inconsistencies and imperfections,” admits Flandin. “A PYC yacht implies more safety equipment and thus requires more space to integrate this equipment on board. We know it’s possible to build a superyacht in compliance with the PYC to the full satisfaction of her owner, exterior and interior designers, flag state and classification society, while still maintaining the character of a high class, luxury superyacht.”

As yachts get bigger it is possible that more will be built in compliance with the PYC. This is a readily available option for owners today, but it is imperative that an owner and his or her team takes the time to understand the limitations and constraints as well as the possibilities and opportunities of building a vessel to these complex regulations.