Floating Life meeting discusses new megayacht rules

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New maritime laws that will affect both the commercial and recreational yachting sectors could change the way megayachts are designed moving forward.

Floating Life International, a Swiss yacht and superyacht charter and sales company, held a summit Feb. 26-27 to discuss Maritime Labor Convention rules and their effect on the recreational yachting sector.

“The primary reason for this meeting is to analyze and bring the 2006 MLC to the forefront of our attention and then to familiarize the captains with the Floating Life system, which already conforms to the MLC regulations,” Floating Life CEO Andrea Pezzini said in a statement.

For yachts already operative, the impact is relative, but from 2013-2014 on, for new builds that will be delivered in the next few years, the effect of the MLC will most certainly be felt, especially regarding construction costs and their impact on owners, Floating Life said.

“Ratification and implementation of the MLC is a revolution for our sector and influences the customs of on-board life — on- and off-duty hours, salaries, logistics and on-board safety, specific behaviors and inspections,” Pezzini said. “It also influences the development of new designs.”

One effect will be the increased size of yachts, according to Floating Life.

Although a yacht will maintain the design parameters for her use, she must now allocate more space for a more numerous crew. During the summit, discussions revealed that commercially registered yachts as large as 50 meters, if the convention were to be literally applied (to those yachts, commercial or private, with a load line certificate), would disappear.

In reality, to carry 11 crewmembers and conform to the new rules regarding maximum daily and weekly on- and off-duty hours, a yacht must have a length overall superior to 50 meters and displace more than 500 gross tons, Floating Life said. Yachts running with reduced crew are no longer permitted.

The convention creates a single, coherent instrument that embodies the standards of existing maritime labor agreements. The series of regulations is applied to all seafarers and influences many administrative activities.

The convention is applicable to the commercial and private yachting sectors if the vessel is in possession of a load line certificate.

In August 2013, when the convention went into effect for its ratifying states, there was little publicity about its effects on the yachting world, summit organizers said.

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