A new set of yacht codes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that are expected to go into effect on July 1 should help local builders compete internationally. The 168-page UAE Yacht Regulations will impact non-commercial vessels that are more than 24m in length.

“The current codes and regulations for the larger yachts are based on conventional steel ship technology which imposes strong limitations on the innovative and future orientated yacht industry,” the UAE National Transport Authority said in a memorandum. “Accordingly the present statutory regime for certification of commercial yachts is not considered to be an appropriate long-term solution for the non-commercial segment of the yacht industry which builds private yachts not intended for the leasing market.”

The authority said that the new regulations would remove restrictions as to the number of people on board as well as the maximum size of the vessel. The Gulf News said that it would allow UAE superyacht manufacturers which do not already conform to other international standards “to perform well” in the export market. “The UAE National Transport Authority trusts that these regulations will be recognised by any flag and port state as adequate safety and environmental standard for yachts above 24m as these regulations provide equivalent safety to existing IMO (International Maritime Organisation) instruments, include all mandatory international regulations applicable to yachts and are developed based on functional requirements to accommodate the innovative and future oriented yacht industry,” said the memorandum.

Nasser Al Sha’ali, CEO of Gulf Craft, told the paper that the UAE’s marine industry welcomes the measures. He also said it was “welcome news” for Gulf Craft, which builds 18 yachts over 100ft. Two out of three are shipped outside the UAE.

“We are already MCA compliant [Maritime Coast Guard Agency] so we’re already compliant with these regulations but they will help the industry overall,” said Al Sha’ali. He said the new regulations, which will be phased in gradually, will help UAE “carve out a niche” in the global market. “They will add to the safety of the maritime community and bring us up to par with other international societies that have these rules in place,” he said.

The authority said that the marketplace is also demanding these new regulations. “Larger yachts are increasingly being custom-built based on individual designs. The segment of yachts larger than 40m is predominantly individually built to the owner’s design and specification. The 100 largest yachts in the world today are from 65m-165m, with known projects exceeding 200m in length,” the authority said in the memorandum. “These yachts exceed the maximum 3,000 GT size in presently available regulations for commercial yachts and also carry more than 12 persons/guests in addition to the crew, which is the limit for formal certification as a cargo ship with equivalencies in accordance with SOLAS [International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.]”

The new regulations would allow UAE builders to build larger vessels that are free from these restrictions.