By Robert Wielaard

COATINGSThe Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) says the launch of the Registered Marine Coatings Inspectors course (RMCI), formalised at last week’s International Superyacht Coatings Conference, is a landmark event. SYBAss operational director Robert van Tol says the course “is an important step forward. It will increase the knowledge of superyachts specifics among already experienced coatings inspectors and provide a format for report writing.”

SYBAss represents 24 yards producing new yachts of 40m and up. They account for more than half of new built superyachts entering the market annually. SYBAss staged the coatings conference with the ICOMIA in association with Amsterdam RAI. It brought together representatives of yards, coatings companies, paint makers, surveyors, consultants and applicators who debated a range of challenges in coatings issued faced by the superyacht industry.

The RMCI course establishes, for the first time, common norms to judge superyacht paint jobs. The course focuses on different coatings, application methods and finishes as well as identifying defects, resolving difficulties and offering advice to clients, boat yards, applicators and finishers. Licensed inspectors can put RMCI after their names and will be bound by a code of ethics. Their license will be valid for five years, renewable based on an electronic log of inspections carried out. It is expected the course will graduate some 200 licensed inspectors within two years.

The conference also urged industry players to help develop ISO standards in coatings preparation, application and quality measurement.

SYBAss is also active in the monitoring of International Maritime Organization regulations. Van Tol said superyacht manufacturing is a relatively young sector but one that is maturing fast. Only 15 years ago the average number of deliveries of 40m+ yachts was 30 per year. This has increased to approximately 80 for the last few years.

That growth means the industry has now started to pursue a more active role in international organizations such as the IMO. “For many years we were squeezed between the maritime leisure and professional marine industries,” says Van Tol. “The superyacht sector needs to put forward its concerns and provide constructive responses. We are certainly not against rules and regulations for cleaner and safer vessels, but they must make sense and take into account what is already being done in this respect by the industry and keep in mind the different operational profile of superyachts compared to other vessels.”