Immarbe (Belize) launches Codes of Standards for yachts

Immarbe, the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, a U.S. Coast Guard "QUALSHIP 21" designated registry, takes pleasure in announcing the publication of its Codes of Standards for yachts, in commercial or private use, which will come into effect on 1st June 2008.

Immarbe has produced these Codes in order to address perceived gaps in the international regulatory regime which prescribes safety standards for yachts. At present, the standards are not adequately defined for yachts, as pleasure vessels, and the various categories distinguished by use, size and operational range. These Codes were developed as an enhancement of other similar Codes.

  • Three Codes have been developed: they distinguish between ‘Super Yachts’ and ‘Large Yachts’ thus eliminating cross referencing and rendering them user-friendly. The Codes set safety standards for:
    • yachts of 24 metres and above and 500 GT and over but less than 5000 GT (Super Yachts)
    • yachts of 24 metres and above and less than 500 GT (Large Yachts)
    • yachts of less than 24 metres but not less than 10 metres (Small Yachts)

By having separate categories for the abovementioned, the owner of a yacht will benefit from standards identified to be more appropriate for his yacht. Additionally, the owners of Super Yachts and Large Yachts will benefit from the technical requirements of the UK/ MCA's Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY2) which we have incorporated into the Codes. Our own national regulations have also been interwoven into these Codes, thus promoting uniformity of standards in the building of any yacht over 24 metres. After consulting our working group which covers a multitude of specialisations within the industry, this was considered to be the most sensible and desirable approach.

  • Comprehensive standards for yacht-based helicopters and submersibles - in our view, a regulatory regime for this growth sector is essential. Regulations have been developed by leading specialists in both fields who have experience within the yacht industry and who have taken a practical approach. The relevant existing regulations (such as CAP 437 for helicopters), have been reviewed and yacht specific regulations are now incorporated. These regulations are intended to give the safest construction and operational practices whilst not detracting from the overall aesthetics of the yacht’s design.
  • Comprehensive criteria for:
    • the application of alternative standards which are considered to be at least equivalent to ours
    • the granting of exemptions
    • a phasing in period of up to 24 months for compliance with the Codes by existing yachts which do not currently meet these standards
    • the application of manning and technical requirements which take into consideration an increased number of operating ranges
  • Comprehensive guidelines for yacht-based sporting and leisure activities such as sport fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling, jet skiing, water skiing and para-sailing. In particular, we believe that we are the first Open Registry to have implemented guidelines as well as a catch reporting system for its sportfishing yachts which operate both in national waters as well as on the high seas. Furthermore, we have introduced a special section on drug and alcohol abuse, the latter of which, according to the American Red Cross is a contributing factor for over 50% of all drownings in the recreational boating sector in the U.S.A.
  • Guidelines for the implementation of a safety management and ship security systems for those categories of yachts where ISM & ISPS Certification is not mandatory. These are of increasing importance nowadays because more yachts are venturing into exotic and remote destinations.

Immarbe have also reviewed certain other aspects with regard to the operation of yachts and feel that attention should be drawn to other factors outside the remit of the developed codes:

  • Granting the concession, subject to prior notification, for a yacht in private use to be chartered out for up to a total of 112 days in any period of 12 consecutive months provided it satisfies our additional requirements for commercial yachts, thus enabling the owner to recover some of its operating expenses.
  • A very competitive Schedule of Taxes and Fees which takes into consideration the size (Super, Large and Small) and use (commercial or private) of each yacht. Furthermore, our introduction of an additional category will result in additional savings for Owners of yachts of 24 metres and above and less than 500 GT (Large Yachts).

For more details relating to these Codes of enhanced standards and other information about yacht registration at Immarbe, please visit



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