The United Kingdom Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) open up shop tomorrow (Thursday) at the Radisson Bahia Mar Hotel in Fort Lauderdale by hosting a breakfast seminar for key players in the industry in order to encourage comment upon their review of the Large Yacht Code.
The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Large Yacht Code was developed from initial work, and was only intended for application to Red Ensign yachts over 24m in length. It was developed through the active participation of the large yacht industry but this participation was related to the part of industry with direct relevance to "red ensign" yachts.
Paul Jackson, MCA Regional Director and Project Director responsible for setting up the `Ensign’ Division, said upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale:
“ There was provision made in the original Code for updating by review and revision. To reflect the fact that the Code has been adopted as the international "industry standard", it is our intention to broaden the scope of our review to include all within the large yacht industry that wish to contribute.
“ In order to ensure that the revised Code meets the needs of the industry and provides a common standard that is acceptable to all sides, we wish to draw on the vast amount of expertise that has been built up amongst owners, designers, builders, managers, surveyors, regulators, captains and crews.
“ We are pleased to note that already, some other maritime administrations with large yachts on their registers have signalled their willingness to participate.
“ We are looking to conduct most of the review by E-mail with all the contributions considered by the Working Groups, one for Manning, the other for Construction and Safety Equipment. The Working Groups will report to the Steering Committee that will determine the high level direction of the review.
“ The Steering Group was set up under the original terms of the Code. Similarly, the Working Groups reflects the expanded targets or the revised Code. Wherever possible, we have encouraged single representatives of the various disciplines and interests who can speak for their own groups. We accept that there are considerable commercial rivalries but recognising the maturity and goodwill of those within the industry, we expect the Working Groups to be kept to within manageable numbers.
“ It is our intention to keep the structure of the Code the same and to deal with each chapter and annex in turn whilst ensuring that each revised chapter is appropriate to the holistic merit of the complete Code.”
Paul Jackson continued:
“ `Ensign’, the MCA’s Large Yacht Division, which will also be represented at the Show has been established to provide an exclusive service to the growing world-wide Large Yacht industry, and consists of a dedicated team of surveyors and support staff, widely experienced in the application of the ‘Code of Practice for the Safety of Large Commercial Sailing and Motor Yachts’.
A dedicated office suite has been taken within the lobby of the Hotel for the duration of the Show at which MCA Executives will be on hand to discuss construction, manning and safety issues on board luxury yachts.
" By returning to the world famous Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which we first visited last year, the MCA will be able to offer an improved service to all sectors of the large yacht industry, particularly the American and Caribbean market.
" We will also be retailing an interactive CD-ROM which will include a searchable version of our Code with links to international regulations, guidance and common interpretations which we know greatly assists designers and craftsmen in the industry.
" `Ensign’ continues to provide a customer friendly and efficient service, which will be available to owners, builders and designers, regardless of where the vessel is registered. As the MCA, in conjunction with the industry, developed and introduced the Code we are best placed to carry out surveys and the only ones able to agree interpretations of the Code, ‘Ensign‘ will therefore offer a worldwide service to meet the growing demand from the large yacht market.
" Obviously we would recommend that vessels fly the UK Red Ensign, but feel that the safety benefits of complying with the UK Large Yacht Code justify the provision of this world-wide service by ‘Ensign’. Our representatives have attended other major exhibitions and industry shows, such as that held recently in Monaco, in order to discuss the services on offer and to launch the review of the Code."