The Small Commercial Yacht Code (sCYC)


The Small Commercial Yacht Code was introduced by the Merchant Shipping Directorate following extensive consultation with various industry stakeholders, acknowledging the importance of the small commercial yacht segment, which has seen a sharp increase in the last years.

The Code became effective as from the 1st of April 2024, updating and replacing the previous requirements contained in the Commercial Yacht Code (CYC). All CYC certified yachts are automatically deemed to be in compliance with the sCYC. However, any yachts falling under its application shall begin to be surveyed and certified in conformity with the Code as from the yacht’s first renewal survey carried out on or after the 1st June 2024.


The Code provides that it is applicable to Commercial Yachts which are (i) at least 12 metres in hull length, (ii) less than 24 metres in length, (iii) engaged in commercial operations, and (iv) which do not carry more than 12 passengers.

The Code defines a Commercial Yacht as a yacht that is engaged in lawful trade, which is in commercial use for sport or pleasure, which does not carry cargo and which does not carry more than 12 passengers.

The Code clarifies the exact definitions and manner in which both the Hull Length and the Length of the yacht are to be measured in its definition section. Furthermore, it provides the requirements for a person to qualify as a passenger, expressly excluding persons employed on board the yacht and children under the age of one.

The Code also specifically excludes the following from its application:

· Yacht Design Category D and Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs Design Category C or D;

· Military vessels and vessels belonging to the State and used for non-commercial purposes;

· Vessels owned or operated for non-commercial services.


The Small Commercial Yacht Code sets out the required standards of safety, pollution prevention and crew welfare which are appropriate for the size and navigation notation of the yacht, which standards take into consideration International Conventions, EU Regulations and Directive, Industry Standards and other equivalent standards.

In particular, the Code sets out requirements relating to the Structural Strength and Watertight Integrity (Section 4), Machinery (Section 5), Electrical Installation (Section 6), Stability (Section 7), Freeboard and Freeboard Markings (Section 8), Life Saving Appliances (Section 9), Fire Protection, Detection and Extinction (Section 10), Anchors, Cables and Lifts (Section 11), Merchant Shipping Rules (Section 12), Protection of Personnel (Section 13), Navigation and Communication (Section 14), Marine Pollution Prevention (Section 15), Manning and Seafarer Certification (Section 16), Bareboat Charters and Special Category Yachts (Section 17), Medical Stores (Section 18), Yacht Tenders (Section 19), Static Chartering (Section 20), and Survey and Certification (Section 21).

The Code also allows a discretion to the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen to exempt any yacht from any of the Code’s requirements which are proven to be disproportionately onerous and technically impracticable on a case-by-case basis.