The British Red Ensign Group (REG) has over the past three years been developing a Code for the technical standards to be applied to what are now being referred to as Passenger Yachts. It has come about in response to industry’s desire to have a single reference document for the construction and operation of large passenger yachts rather than the need to follow many different sets of rules and regulations
That Code has now reached an advanced stage of development and the current draft (i.e. Passenger Yacht Code - Distribution Version 3) (PYC - DV3) is now available on the REG website at (www.redensigngroup.org).
The Code has been developed to address the difficulties in applying some of the international Convention standards (in particular the Safety of Life at Sea [SOLAS] Convention and the Load Line Convention), which were designed for merchant ships, to the present day superyacht.
Regulators are insisting that the Code in no way dilutes current Convention standards but instead provides equivalent standards and arrangements, where appropriate, aimed at addressing in a pragmatic and practical way the challenges imposed by the design operation and usage of today’s large yachts. The Code will provide standards for both privately operated and commercially operated yachts.
After further industry consultation it is expected that the Code will be published by the REG and lodged, by the UK on behalf of the REG, with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) by November of this year as the "official" REG-wide equivalent for this type of vessel.
By way of comparison, the PYC may be viewed as a natural progression, although philosophically very different, from the well adopted UK "Large Yacht Code" which sets out standards for commercial yachts over 24m, less than 3000gt and carrying not more than 12 passengers – a code that is itself being revised over the next few months.