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Regulated Australian Vessels (RAV) and Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV)
By admin
August 14, 2017

Regulated Australian Vessels (RAV) and Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV)

Whether purchasing or selling your Superyacht, considering a new build, through to the running of your Superyacht Maritime Survey Australia can provide highly specialised advice in all maritime and superyacht matters.

Maritime Survey Australia provide the following services:

  • Superyacht build and refit management
  • Superyacht build and refit contracts
  • Superyacht LY3 and build compliance
  • Superyacht Survey
  • “Gap Analysis” for DCV to RAV

Operating your Superyacht in Australia

Until now for a super yacht to operate in Australia as a Regulated Australian Vessel (RAV) the full application of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conventions could not be realistically applied to given design constraints and the peculiar environment that these vessels operate.

In line with the AMSA’s commitment to embrace the continued operation of the Super Yacht industry within Australian waters, AMSA will implement the UK standard known as the Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY3) for Super yacht safety and compliance.

The code applies to (motor or sailing vessels) Yachts of 24 meters or greater in load length and being 150 gross tons or greater, carrying no more than 12 passengers and being in commercial use for sport or pleasure carrying no cargo.

Compliance with LY3 is outlined in the Marine Orders. This Order provides for the survey, maintenance and certification of yachts and training vessels and adopts the UK Large Commercial Yacht Code (the LY3 Code) as modified for Australia for regulated Australian vessels that are large yachts.

The Order will enable Australian owned superyachts registered overseas to change to Australian registration and new or existing vessels operating in Australia to obtain Australian certification under certificate of recognition processes.

Under the Order, large yachts must have a certificate of compliance (large yacht). To be issued this certificate a large yacht and its equipment must comply with the LY3 Code as modified for Australia by the LY3 Australian National Annex. It is a condition of the certificate that the yacht and its equipment continue to comply with the LY3 Code as so modified.

This will result in the updating of procedures and standards in relation to how these vessels are designed, built, and operated and to ensure compliance with the new international LY3 code. This Code brings Australia in line with international standard and applies whether the yacht is used for private pleasure or for commercial purposes. By way of historical understanding; LY3 is a revised form of LY2 and its predecessor LY1 introduced in 1997 by the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency.

The LY3 code incorporates international conventions that cover safety and pollution prevention standards and were originally drafted to meet the needs of large commercial shipping that for the obvious reason could not be successfully implemented in their smaller Super Yacht counterparts.

At the time when LY1 was considered it was a concern that the international conventions should not be watered down. The result being that the LY3 does not lower the standard of the IMO safety standards but adapts them to this specialised area of the shipping industry.

Amongst other changes that can be found in Annex 7 of the code, LY3 has been brought up to date to include; the latest technology in radio communication equipment and requirements for masts and rigging for sailing yachts. The result being that compliance with the standards of the Code will entitle a Super Yachts to be issued with certification upon satisfactory completion of surveys and inspections. However, if existing vessels struggle to meet the requirements of the code there is some flexibility and an alternative standard may be considered in specific circumstances. The Code includes alternative requirements for crew accommodation that provide substantial equivalence to the MLC (Maritime Labour Convention), but are more in keeping with the practicalities and purpose of these yachts. Therefore, in real terms, where a cargo ship is not limited to space to meet the required cabin size this can often be a different kettle of fish when the vessel is limited by its size and design.


Once a vessel is compliant with the code certification can be issued as required by the international convention being surveyed and certified in accordance with the International Load Line Convention. And there are additional requirements for Yachts over 500gt such as in respect to SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea). With the introduction of this new code, certain standards, requirements, and obligations are placed on those charged with the responsibility of designing and operating the vessels to ensure compliance resulting in not only a National System but aligning Australia with the rest of the world. Vessels that are compliant with the code are allowed unrestricted geographical access outside Polar regions, with some exceptions. Generally, vessels wishing to operate in the Polar regions must meet the requirements of classification societies as listed in the code.

Super yachts and the Great Barrier Reef

Super yachts over 35 meters will be able to travel to the Great Barrier Reef. Twenty-one anchorages for super yachts under 70 meters will be added in the Whitsunday Planning Area as part of new updates by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to the Whitsundays Plan of Management, which manages use in the region. Most changes will take effect August 2, 2017, and will be implemented in stages throughout the next 12 months.

For the past nine years, the Super yacht industry in Australia has been seeking to reform the Whitsundays Plan of Management to allow super yachts greater than 35 meters to cruise and anchor in key spots in the Great Barrier Reef.

While Tourism Australia markets the Great Barrier Reef to superyachts, those vessels larger than 35 meters have been unable to travel there due to restriction.


Contact Maritime Survey Australia (MSA) to conduct a “Gap Analysis” Vessel survey and consultation. You will then receive a comprehensive report detailing the compliance requirements for your vessel.

Ocean Time Marine has partnered with MSA, to provide the application of the ISM Code as well as the other IMO standards.

Contact: or call + 61 3 9028 4888

By Mick Uberti

Marine Engineer

AMSA Accredited Marine Surveyor 120731

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