Timeline of Legislation
- The first Yacht Code was published by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 1997
- LY2 The Large Commercial Yacht Code MSA 010/009/0184 published September 2007
- LY3 The Large Commercial Yacht Code MS 174/004/055 published August 2012
- MGN 453(M) came into force on 1st October 2012
- The Large Yacht Code LY3 combined into The Red Ensign Group Yacht Code known as The REG published Jan 2019.
- Finally, the most recent amendment has been MGN 580 (M) which came into force in 2020.
Very little has changed in MGN 580 (M) from the previous MGN 453 (M) legislation. As a result, owners, guests, captains, crew, management companies and charter companies, won’t have to do anything new.
We have set out the amendments below in more detail in a QA format.
The most important fact to note is the following:-
Although the new MGN 580 (M) legislation replaces the previous MGN 453 (M), all vessels with MGN 453 (M) certification will continue to be covered until the renewal date of their certificate. Upon which any future certification will be completed to the new MGN 580 (M) standard.
To control the approval of these fire retardant treatments, the MCA continues to use MCA Approval Procedures and a Declaration of Conformity for such treatments.
The standards required by those applying flame retardant products to floor coverings, suspended textile materials, upholstery materials and bedding components are set out in The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Marine Guidance Note (MGN) 580 (M).
The New MGN 580 (M) Legislation - What has changed from the previous MGN 453 (M)? Your Questions Answered.
MGN 580 (M): What do owners and captains of vessels need to do?
There are no changes from the client perspective at all. MGN 453 (M) certification is still recognised and valid until the renewal date. Then the certification will be completed to the new MGN 580 (M) standard.
MGN 580 (M) – What has changed compared to MGN 453 (M) legislation?
1. MCA Notified Bodies to Manage the new legislation.
The MCA have passed the management of MGN 580 (M) to any interested parties who are on the MCA’s Notified Body List of UKAS Accredited Companies.
2. Changes to the pre-test process when the flame retardancy chemical is tested.
The MGN now requires a pre-soak of all textiles before we visit to treat them and the process witnessed, before the samples are then sent to test.
The fabrics are now soaked in water for 72 hours and the water is changed every 24 hours to prevent any pre-treatment tampering, before the company is invited in to spray. This is done to break down any previous treatments which may have been applied and thus preventing a spurious result.
Under the new MGN 580 (M), are all textiles tested to a higher performance requirement than previously?
No, that is not true. The only addition is the pre-soak discussed above which has nothing to do with flammability testing, that is exactly as it was and is strictly controlled by the IMO FTP Code of 2010, none of which has changed.
Do carpet and floor coverings require both flammability and the stringent life saving toxicity test under the new MGN 580 (M)?
No, that is not true, the IMO FTP CODE 2010 (Revised 2012) Part 5 – A.653 (16) Test for Surface Flammability for primary floor coverings is exactly the same, this includes the smoke toxicity test. They now have a water extraction element after treatment, which has been taken from the rules used for Cruise liners and Passenger Ferries, but no change to the Flame Test.
What does the MCA say about the requirement to treat carpets?
We contacted the MCA regarding this very subject and here is what they said about carpets and floor coverings:-
1. There is currently no requirement on Large Yachts under 500GT to treat floor coverings
2. The REG Yacht Code (Red Ensign Group) provides the current requirement.
3. Part A Section 14A does not require FTP Code compliance of carpets. (in line with SOLAS for under 500GT cargo ships).
4. Part A Section 14B does not require FTP Code compliance of carpets – only Primary Deck Coverings.
5. Part B Passenger Yachts does require FTP Code compliance of carpets – (in line with SOLAS for Passenger ships)
MGN 580(M) details how to treat floor coverings and primary deck coverings if there is a requirement to do so. MGN 580(M) does not constitute the requirement.
Overview of the REG (Red Ensign Group)
The REG has been in the business of regulating yachts since 1997 when the first “Large Yacht Code” was published by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Over the last 20 years, a lot has happened in the superyacht industry, including a huge increase in the size and complexity of yachts being built today, which has required an ever-changing regulatory framework to reflect the industry’s needs.
The Red Ensign Group Code consolidates an updated version of the Large Yacht Code (LY3) and the latest version of the Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) to better address the needs of the large yacht industry. The code further develops the well-established industry standards of the LY3 and the PYC, combining the lessons learned from 20 years of developing yacht codes.
Therefore, if you are currently flying a REG (Red Ensign Group) flag and are certified to any of the earlier versions of LY3 or PYC, then the new REG Yacht Code will be applicable.
Is an updated version of LY3 and is now known as Part A, which continues to look after yachts which are 24Mtrs and over in load line length, are in commercial use for sport or pleasure, do not carry cargo and do not carry more than 12 passengers (not counting the crew).
Is an updated version of the Passenger Yacht Code which is applicable to pleasure yachts of any size, in private use or engaged in trade, which carry more than 12 but not more than 36 passengers (not counting crew) and which do not carry cargo.
This is like the Passenger Yacht Code 6th Edition but again will be called the REG.
Means a vessel, to which this new code applies, the keel of which was laid or was at a similar stage of construction on or after the 1st January 2019.
Means any vessel, the keel of which was laid or was at a similar stage of construction prior to the 1st January 2019.
Part A Points of Note:
The following should be used as a guide only to the major items that require physical change or purchasing of new equipment on-board, in preparation for REG Yacht Code Compliance for Part A Vessels and remember to always consult with your Flag Surveyor.
Where the major physical items that require changing can be found listed below, many of which may already have been updated, but the “soft “ side of compliance should not be overlooked or ignored.
- Recovery of persons from the water (although this can be a paperwork exercise, some additional equipment or modifications may be required.
- Fire Protection Treatment for interior materials (under 500GT Vessels).
- Removal of fixed carbon dioxide fire extinguishing systems in machinery spaces.
- Carriage of intrinsically safe radios for fire fighters.
- Availability of Radio Equipment which may require duplication of equipment.
- Fitting of Bridge Navigationia Watch Alarm System (BNWAS).
- Fitting of ECDIS for vessels over 3,000GT.
- Carriage of portable atmosphere testing equipment for entry into enclosed spaces.
- Over-side Working Rails are to be tested and demonstrated compliant or are to be de-commissioned.