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Australian regulation of yachts and training vessels, and the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A

The Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A updates the Red Ensign Group Large Yacht Code (LY3 Code) and applies to yachts and training vessels, carrying not more than 12 passengers, and details the conventions these vessels must comply with in Australia.

The Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A has been developed jointly by the United Kingdom, its relevant overseas territories and crown dependencies, and international industry representatives. The Code prescribes standards of safety and pollution prevention which are appropriate to the size and type of yacht. The standards applied are either set by the relevant International Conventions or by equivalent standards where it is not reasonable or practicable for yachts to comply. 

Australia is a corresponding member of the Red Ensign Group.

Marine Order 52 does not apply to domestic commercial vessels (DCVs) or recreational vessels.

Australian implementation of the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A

AMSA implements the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A using Marine Order 52 (Yachts and training vessels) 2022 supported by the Australian National Annex to the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A (PDF 480.39 KB) which was introduced on 1 January 2023.

New yachts and training vessels

Vessels built after 1 January 2023 must comply with Marine Order 52 (Yachts and training vessels) 2022.

Yachts, including large yachts, and training vessels will still have to comply with all international conventions not altered by the marine order, related to that vessel’s size and operations.

Existing Australian yachts and training vessels certified under the Navigation Act (2012)

Currently certified under:

Any ship, whenever built, which is converted to a yacht or training vessel, or undergoes repairs, alterations and modifications which substantially alter the dimensions of the ship, or substantially increase the ship’s service life, shall be treated as a new vessel constructed on the date on which such conversion, repairs, alterations or modifications commenced. 

Vessels seeking Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A certification

Vessels that are not built after 1 January 2023 nor currently certified under Marine Order 31 (Vessel survey and certification), Marine Order 52 (Sailing ships) or Marine Order 52 (Yachts and training vessels) 2016 can apply to have their vessel certified under the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A. Operators will need to arrange a gap analysis with a recognised organisation to find out what may be required to achieve compliance.

If the vessel does not comply due to its construction or existing arrangements, AMSA may determine if an equivalent solution will be acceptable, so the vessel can then be considered compliant under the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A. Owners should liaise with their respective recognised organisation when considering a potential application for compliance.

Yachts and training vessels must still comply with the other international conventions, as relevant to the vessel’s size and operations. However the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A and the LY3 Code may be used as an equivalence arrangement under the provisions of Article 8 of the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, Regulation I-5 of the International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea, and Article 9 of the International Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 as amended. Australia has notified the IMO of the above. 

How does Marine Order 52 (Yachts and training vessels) 2022 apply to foreign yachts?

If your foreign flagged yacht, including large yacht, or training vessel arrives at an Australian port, it may – if eligible – be inspected. It is the responsibility of the owner/operator to make sure that the yacht/large yacht/training vessel is appropriately surveyed, certified and maintained. Australia has requirements for commercial vessels as required by AMSA’s marine orders.

When you are inspected, the yacht/large yacht/training vessel must follow one of the following:

  • comply with all the international conventions that apply to a foreign flagged vessel of its size and operations.
  • have evidence issued by the flag state saying that the vessel is seaworthy if an international convention does not apply to the vessel because of its size.
  • be certified as a large yacht under the LY3 code, Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A or another contemporary code adopted by the flag State.
  • if the vessel does not carry evidence issued by the flag State of certification as a commercially operating large yacht, the LY3 Code or the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code Part A will be applied in order to assess compliance of the vessel.

Last updated: 

Thursday 19 January 2023