Marine Design International

MCA To Increase Compliance in Coding for UK Commercial Racing Yachts

MCA To Increase Compliance in Coding for UK Commercial Racing Yachts

Thursday, 4 February 2021 / Posted in

In recent proceedings against two yacht owners and many other official cautions, the issue of code certification on commercially operated racing yachts has been tested. The action against the owners has been discontinued on the agreement that the owners will comply with certification requirements.

It is reasonable for owners to ask for a contribution to costs for sailing, many friends and club members do this, but if more than cost are asked for the vessel is operating commercially and must be MCA Code certified.

The MCA are clear that they will be enforcing the regulations, attending race start locations and verifying compliance. This is most likely to affect the popular aspirational races such as the Fastnet, ARC, Round the Island, etc. where more crew are willing to pay to take part in a race which they have aspired to compete in for many years.

While all yachts will require compliant construction, equipment and stability to meet necessary standards the yachts most impacted will be those competing in offshore races, over 60 miles from a safe haven. Those must comply with damage survivability requirements and therefore have watertight bulkheads fitted. This is not so much of a problem in a true racing vessel with limited fit out but severely impacts on a yacht also used for cruising charter.

The ISAF Special Regulation does state that they “do not replace, but supplement, the regulations of governmental authority,….” They cannot be used as an alternative, although the regulatory situation has not changed for many years it is clear that enforcement will pursued more actively.

MDI have completed certification for many sailing vessels including catamarans, sail training vessels and commercial historic vessels and have the experience qualifications and necessary software to advise on the best course of action for owners. We can offer the technical support on stability and structure allowing owners to use a local code surveyor or complete the full coding process.

The conversion for cruiser/racer yachts operating offshore will not be easy but with good thought and design the detrimental impact on the yacht can be minimised while the safety is greatly improved. To enquire about your specicfic vessel please get in touch

UK MCA Press Release 2nd february 2021

RYA Guidance on the Commercial Coding Process

UK MCA Small Commercial Sailing Vessel Code