The Republic of Marshall Islands Amends Yacht Code

20 May 2021 By Laura Shaughnessy
superyacht sailing at sea
iStock/Paul Vinten

Laura Shaughnessy is the former managing editor at Dockwalk. 

In May, the Republic of the Marshall Islands Yacht Code was updated and amended to become even more practical and realistic for owners and shipyards to choose RMI as a building standard. Not only does the most recent code update include all previously issued supplements, but there are additional technical and safety updates that address building requirements of modern yachts. This is reportedly the most significant update to the code since it was published in 2013.

“The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator has a track record of innovation in the yacht sector,” Marc Verburg, Fleet Operations Manager, Yachts, told Dockwalk. “The 2021 RMI Yacht Code was drafted to encompass all the latest developments in the design, build, and operation of large and small yachts.”

According to their press release on May 11, some of the main changes and updates include:

  • New requirements for modern design elements such as underwater glazing for observation lounges and glazed bulwarks.
  • Helicopter landing areas (Annex 2 of the Code) revised throughout with alternative standards for firefighting.
  • Shipyards now have the possibility to apply for a Helicopter Landing Area Technical Certificate (HLATC) issued by an Aviation Inspection Body (AIB).
  • A more practical approach for submersible launching.
  • A practical approach to structural fire protection for Category 2 yachts.
  • Modified rescue boat requirements to provide a practical alternative standard for yachts under 500 gross tons.
  • Updated radio equipment requirements.
  • Modified firefighting appliances to provide alternative standards when taking the typical size of the yacht into consideration.
  • Safe working practices for working over the side and man-riding cranes were clarified and addressed to meet national requirements.

Due to the sizable changes, many key contributors came together to update the Code. The International Registries, Inc. (IRI) and its affiliates helped organize an RMI Yacht Technical Working Group (YTWG) to make recommendations to the Code. These included yacht managers, naval architects, Classification Societies, surveyors, maritime safety consultants, aviation experts, representatives from the RMI Registry, and the Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss).

According to Verburg, the 2021 version of the Code lets builders and designers create innovative and safe superyachts to a practical standard.


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