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Red Ensign Code

Better Red than Dead

The UK Ship Register (UKSR) – part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is one of the best performing flags in the major Port State Control regimes. It has a reputation for maintaining the highest international standards, covering contracts, employment terms and conditions, seafarers agreements and merchant navy code of conduct, all of which all serious yachties need to be at least familiar with.


The Red Ensign Group (REG) has developed a new regulatory framework for yachts, titled ‘Red Ensign Group Yacht Code’. The code consolidates an updated version of the Large Yacht Code (LY3), and the latest version of the Passenger Yacht Code (PYC).

The Code’s aim is to further develop the well-established industry standards of LY3 & PYC, combining the lessons learned from the REG members from almost 20 years of regulating the large yacht sector since the first version of the Large Yacht Code was published by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Not all conventions are born equal

Highlighted in the Code are the necessary steps required to adapt to the IMO’s new four yearly adoption and amendment cycle for its Conventions to which the Codes form equivalences (SOLAS, Load Line & STCW). This will make the REG Yacht Code more dynamic to industry change and development, whilst slowing the annual PYC editions to continue to meet the new international requirements for passenger ships.

The new Red Ensign Group Yacht Code is one of 2 parts with common annexes such as for over-side working systems & helicopter landing areas, enabling builders and designers to continue to recognize the familiar formats of the existing REG Codes.

24 meters plus

An updated version of LY3 in ‘Part A’ will continue to be applicable to yachts which are 24 meters and over in load line length, are in commercial use for sport or pleasure, do not carry cargo and do not carry more than 12 passengers. ‘Part B’ consist of the latest version of the PYC applicable to pleasure yachts of any size, in private use or engaged in trade, which carry more than 12 but not more than 36 passengers and which do not carry cargo.

More room for manoeuvre

The new Code makes larger use of industry best practice and international standards such as ISO, as well as following the IMO’s overarching remit for increased ‘Goal-Based Standards’ as a form of regulations, allowing room for more flexibility and innovation in the design and construction of yachts.

Retrospective compliance

The new REG Code came into force on 1 January 2019, to give the industry time to become familiar with it. The new Code also has what is known as a ‘retrospective application clause’. This means that there are sections within the Code that will be applied not just to new vessels, but to existing vessels also that are currently certificated under the existing Large Yacht Code or Passenger Yacht Code, from the first annual survey after 1st January 2019.



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