SYBAss’ activities

revolve around three primary fields of interest: promotion, regulation and professionalism.

SYBAss cooperates together with regulatory bodies to monitor regulatory developments and to champion the interest of the superyacht industry. SYBAss ensures that the rules which impact superyachts take into account the unique nature of these vessels and the way they are operated. Technical regulations are of crucial importance; they involve much more than class society requirements, which focus on construction and maintenance rules. SYBAss plays a prominent role in discussions on regulations, maintains good relations with flag states and agencies such as the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), and has permanent consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

SYBAss’ views on technical rules and regulations can be summarised as follows:

  • Rules and regulations should ensure safe and environmentally friendly operation of all ships according to international standards.
  • Rules and regulations designed for the wider marine shipping industry cannot always simply be replicated in superyachts and may require substantial equivalent solutions.
  • Interpretations of rules and regulations should always support a level playing field rather than creating competitive advantage for certain players over others.
International maritime regulations

In 2013, SYBAss obtained permanent consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the agency of the United Nations entrusted with setting the global standard for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. SYBAss regularly attends committee and subcommittee meetings and participates in associated working groups and correspondence groups to represent superyacht builders and the superyacht industry at large.

In the latter two groups, SYBAss actively participates in the development of new proposals or amendments to existing regulations in order to ensure that they take into account the unique nature of the superyacht sector. SYBAss requests exceptions to rules or postponements in case of issues that do not apply for superyachts or when accepted technical solutions are as yet unfit to superyachts, or when more advanced solutions are already common practice in the superyacht industry.

Through regular reports, SYBAss keeps its members informed about developments within the IMO. SYBAss also assists journalists from superyacht magazines by providing them with relevant information on the IMO and review of their IMO-related articles so that the wider industry can stay well informed about regulatory developments. For more information, visit:

On behalf of SYBAss members, the secretariat attends the following IMO meetings:

  • Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)
  • Maritime Safety Committee (MSC)
  • Ship Design and Construction (SDC, formerly DE, FP and SLF)
  • Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR, formerly BLG)
  • Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE formerly DE, FP and SLF)
  • Council – when considered necessary
  • Assembly – when considered necessary

The secretariat currently participates in the following working/drafting groups:

  • Intact Stability (SDC)
  • Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency (MEPC)

The secretariat currently participates in the following correspondence groups:

  • Second-generation intact stability criteria (SDC)
  • EEDI Review Group (MEPC)

Amendments to the Guidelines for vessels with dynamic positioning (DP) systems (SSE)

Large Yacht Code

The Large Yacht Code has been developed by MCA and is highly significant for a maritime sector which previously experienced great difficulty in embracing conventional regulation. The code is applicable to yachts which are over 24 metres in length, are in commercial use for sport or pleasure, do not carry cargo and do not carry more than 12 passengers. The Code is accepted by the IMO as equivalent to the main IMO Conventions concerning ship safety (SOLAS) and pollution prevention (MARPOL) and enjoys international recognition as a large yacht standard.

Some years ago, SYBAss played a decisive role in calling for an urgent review of accommodation requirements for large yachts considered substantially equivalent to the requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006. In early 2012, MCA introduced the third version of the Large Yacht Code (LY3), which included all amendments to LY2 as well as the substantially equivalent large yacht MLC accommodation requirements. In addition, the 3000 GT size cap was lifted. However, it was specified that the full MLC requirements, including single berth cabins for all crew members, would continue to apply for yachts over 3000 GT.

SYBAss members ascertained that this would have significant adverse consequences for the industry, and filed a petition to this effect. Members of partner associations, the Professional Yachtsmen Association (PYA) and Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA), also expressed their discontent. Following the collective request, MCA agreed to allow twin crew cabins on large commercial yachts between 3000 and 5000 GT on the basis of a set of substantially equivalent arrangements. LY3 entered into force in August 2013 and is available here. For more about the work of MCA visit

Passenger Yacht Code

The Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) regulates the design and construction of large yachts that carry 13 to 36 passengers. After it was published in 2011, an industry working group of stakeholders actively works on a regular basis with flag states of the Red Ensign Group (REG) and classification societies to make amendments to the code for improved clarity and applicability to superyachts. Also the PYC is accepted by the IMO as equivalent to the main IMO Conventions concerning ship safety (SOLAS) and pollution prevention (MARPOL) and enjoys international recognition as a large yacht standard. The sixth edition of the Passenger Yacht Code is available here.


When a more collective approach is considered useful, and/or more players in the superyacht industry share the same vision, SYBAss works closely together on common goals with other associations in the superyacht industry.