Isle of Man Ship Registry

Carlo Vinelli, Senior Surveyor with the Isle of Man Ship Registry

Innovation & safety

Carlo Vinelli, Senior Surveyor with the Isle of Man Ship Registry discusses clarity, consistency and improved safety in the new Yacht Code

The superyacht industry is moving forward at a rapid speed of knots – new technology and environmental advances are taking innovation, design and performance into unchartered waters.

Against this backdrop of this evolution, including an increasing focus on alternative fuel technology, the Red Ensign Group (REG), of which the Isle of Man Ship Registry (IOMSR) is a member, has unveiled a timely and significant revision of its hallmark Yacht Code.

The updating of the comprehensive framework, which has set the international benchmark for large yacht safety and design standards since its original release in 1997, has been two years in the making and has had input from across the industry. Explaining why the new code is so important, a REG spokesperson says: “We will never compromise on safety and crew welfare and maintain the highest maritime regulatory standards. However, we do recognise that it’s important to support innovation and technological developments in a rapidly changing industry.”

Delivering both clarity and consistency for the industry also sits at the heart of the updated code, which incorporates recent regulatory amendments by the IMO and has been adapted to meet contemporary design trends and innovation.

IOMSR has set the ‘gold standard’ for superyacht build and upkeep and has been actively involved in the creation of the updated code, which becomes enforceable this July 2024. IOMSR leads on innovation in decarbonisation and digitisation, becoming the first flag state to offer reduced registration fees to yachts deploying green technology.

Carlo Vinelli, Senior Surveyor at IOMSR, says the 2024 code looks to clarify ‘grey areas’. It also implements suitable requirements for new technologies, such as the storage of small electric powered craft. However, the key thrust of the code remains improving the safety of commercial yachts.”

Isle of Man Ship Registry Garages containing petrol or lithium-ion batteries on under 500 GT vessels are now considered equivalent to ‘machinery spaces’ in terms of structural fire protection and need to be insulated accordingly.

Carlo says: “The update is very much in response to the new technologies coming into the market and also to clarify some areas which may be open to possible different interpretations. Its uniformity is both welcome and timely for the industry.” Carlo continues, “Ensuring the safety of passengers and crew remains central to the code. Its adoption also gives charter operations greater piece of mind. Another added advantage is a stronger resale price if the yacht is built to code regulations.”

IOMSR specialises in helping boat owners deploy green technology, which is now more in demand in superyacht sector, including the use of future fuels like marine batteries and methanol.

Carlo says that through the new code and drawing on IOMSR’s vast experience with future fuels on ocean-going vessels, superyacht designers and owners can more easily deploy green technology. The IOMSR does this through its ‘alternative design and arrangement’ methodology, enabling it and Category 1 members of the REG group to support boat builders wanting to deploy innovative tech where formal IMO rules are not yet available.

Carlo says: “This ‘risk-based certification’ is another level of technical advice and guidance, few other flags operate to this level of safety or technical expertise for yachts. We take a long-term partnership approach. It can play a big part in the adoption of new fuel technology, for instance, and also have a really positive impact when it comes to vessel insurance.”

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