Lack of Communication in the Superyacht Industry Could Stifle Innovation


To increase innovation within the superyacht industry, designers need to work closely with flag state and classification societies and naval architects to ensure regulations are workable, according to experts.

Mark Staunton-Lambert, technical director of RINA explained, “Depending on the size of the yacht (usually defined by length or tonnage), the maximum number of ‘passengers’ to be carried and whether the vessel will be engaged in international sea going voyages or restricted to inland or costal voyages, it will have to comply with a range of national/international regulations such as the Large Commercial Yacht Code, the Maritime Labour Conventions and Safety at Sea conventions”.

However, industry figures claim it is difficult to keep up to date with the conventions, and rules can often be different for different flag states.

The number of regulators in the yachting market is extensive, including RINA, MCA, IMO, SOLAS, DNV, MARPOL, MLC, etc… Each comes with a set of detailed requirements, which can often be confusing and contradict one another.

The Maritime Labour Convention in particular regulates the operation, design and manning of yachts.

Some experts have complained that yachts are very similar in today’s market due to the fire and safety regulations and conventions; if a designer knows that a feature works, they will repeat this across various projects, stifling innovation.

Designers are aspirational and innovative and naval architects are creative, process driven and practical; it is their job to ensure an idea is achievable.

A naval architect will understand the science of the pressure of water, whether on the move or at rest. They will have a great understanding of the hull design and its relationship with the water, its hydrodynamics and the ability to float. As well as the essential calculations, they are also involved in the aesthetics of the design.