Regulations Threaten Superyacht Innovation
To increase innovation within the superyacht industry, designers need to work with flag states, classification societies and naval architects to ensure regulations are workable, as said by experts.
Mark Staunton-Lambert, RINA’s Technical Director, explained, “Depending on the size of the yacht (usually defined by length or tonnage), the maximum number of ‘passengers’ to be carried and whether the vessel will be engaged in international sea going voyages or restricted to inland or costal voyages, it will have to comply with a range of national/international regulations such as the Large Commercial Yacht Code, the Maritime Labour Conventions and Safety at Sea conventions”.
However, industry figures claim it is difficult to keep up to date with the conventions, and rules can often be different for different flag states.
The extensive number of regulators in the yachting market includes: RINA, MCA, IMO, SOLAS, DNV, MARPOL, MLC, etc. Each regulator contains a set of detailed requirements, bringing added confusion from potential contradicting requirements.
The operation, design and manning of yachts is regulated predominately by The Maritime Labour Convention.
Some experts complain that yachts are very similar in today’s market due to fire and safety regulations and conventions. Therefore, if a designer knows that a feature works, they will repeat this in successive projects, repressing innovation.