The “Code of Practice for the Safety of Large Commercial Sailing and Motor Vessels”, or LY1, was introduced in 1998. The Code applies to vessels in commercial use for sport or pleasure, which are 24 metres in “load line” length and over. Or, if they were built before July 1968, are 150 gross tons and over, according to the tonnage measurement regulations at that date. Such vessels are not permitted to carry cargo, or more than 12 passengers.
The code sets standards of safety and pollution prevention, which are appropriate to the size and operation of the vessel. For vessels of this size, standards are normally set by the relevant international conventions. The Code provides equivalent standards, as permitted by these conventions where it is not reasonable or practical to comply with the prescriptive requirements of the international convention.
As with the Codes for small vessels, it was recognised that LY1 would have to be revised to take account of advances in technology and changes of practice. This revision has taken place in consultation with the Large Yacht Industry. All comments from that consultation have been considered by Working Groups comprising experts from the international large yacht industry.
The new Code, now known as The Large Commercial Yacht Code, or LY2 for short, came into effect on 24th September 2004. LY2 has now been revised and is available as Merchant Shipping Notice (MSN 1792).
The revision process was designed to fine tune the original Code, rather than change the fundamental requirements, and as such the basic philosophy remains the same. It is important, however, to take account of experience gained through its implementation, and note the two major changes outlined below:
In LY1, there was no upper size limit to the Construction and Equipment sections. However, there is an upper limit of 3000 GT for deck officer qualifications specifically designed for yachts and sail training vessels. The general view amongst the industry was that any yacht of more than 3000 GT should not be built to the code but in accordance with the relevant IMO Conventions. Thus, the upper limit for all applications of the code is now 3000 GT. Existing yachts exceeding 3000 GT which are already operating within the code may of course remain within the code.
Yachts exceeding 3000 GT, for which the building contract was signed before 24th September 2004, may still be built to the code. The code however is intended for genuine yachts and sail training vessels and the Agency will not permit it’s use to be abused by its application to ships for which it was never intended. If a vessel is realistically beyond the scope of the code, it will not be accepted for survey and certification.
Possibly the most significant change in LY2 was the introduction of the category “Short Range Yacht” for those vessels that cannot, or have no operational need to, meet the ‘unlimited’ criteria. This is particularly relevant to high-powered yachts with large engines that do not meet the subdivision and ‘damage survivability’ requirements in relation to engine-room flooding.
The parameters for Short Range Yachts are:-
- Less than 300 GT (for new vessels); or Less than 500 GT (for existing vessels);
- Operation up to 60 miles from a safe haven (this may be increased to 90 miles on specified routes with the agreement of the Administration); and Operation within favourable weather – Force 4 by forecast/actual.