epauletCertification proves that a vessel has passed qualification requirements as stipulated within certain regulations. It could mean a classification code or nationally accredited test standard, for example. Certification can also mean compliance with a set of regulations governing quality and/or minimum performance requirements.

Wijma Marine Consultants have extensive experience with classification certifications, including MCA, CCV (Dutch flag) and Recreational Craft Directive (CE marking). We can lead your organisation through the procedures required to obtain the certification relevant to your vessel. This includes taking care of calculations and ensuring correct documentation.

Class approvals

Classification societies are organisations which establish and apply technical standards in relation to the design, construction and survey of marine-related facilities, including ships and offshore structures. These standards are issued by the classification society as published rules. A vessel that has been designed and built to the appropriate rules of a society may apply for a Certificate of Classification from that society. The society issues this certificate upon completion of relevant classification surveys.

Such a certificate does not imply, and should not be construed as, an express warranty of safety, fitness for purpose or seaworthiness of the ship. It is an attestation only that the vessel is in compliance with the standards that have been developed and published by the society issuing the classification certificate.

Classification rules are developed to contribute to the structural strength and integrity of essential parts of the ship’s hull and its appendages. They also contribute to the reliability and function of the propulsion and steering systems, power generation and other features and auxiliary systems which have been built into the ship in order to maintain essential services on board.

A ship is maintained in class provided that the relevant rules have, in the opinion of the society concerned, been complied with and surveys carried out in accordance with its rules.

The most common classification bureaus are:
LR Lloyd’s Register
DNV Det Norske Veritas
ABS American Bureau of Shipping
GL Germanischer Lloyd
BV Bureau Veritas
RINA Registro Italiano Navale

MCA smaller than 24m

All UK vessels in commercial use, up to 24 metres load line length, which go to sea and carry no more than 12 passengers and/or cargo, are required by law to comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Small Commercial Vessel and Pilot Boat Code of Practice and be issued with Certificates by an authorised Certifying Authority.

The Code covers:
– Sailing charter vessels, both skippered and bareboat
– Motor charter vessels including angling and dive boats
– Motor vessels carrying up to 12 passengers
– RIBs operating commercially
– Workboats
– Pilot boats

The Code text is available in the download section of this website.

MCA greater than 24m

The Code applies to a motor or sailing vessel of 24 metres in load line length and over or, if built before 21 July 1968, which is of 150 tons gross tonnage and over and which, at the time, is in commercial use for sport or pleasure and carries no cargo and no more than 12 passengers. The Code only applies to vessels of less than 3000 GT. Sail training vessels are included in this application.

The Code sets required standards of safety and pollution prevention which are appropriate to the size of the vessel. The standards applied are either set by the relevant international conventions or equivalent standards where it is not reasonable or practicable to comply. Provision is made within the Code to add any specific national requirements within a National Annex.

The Code has been developed by an industry wide group with the express intention of setting pollution prevention and safety standards which identify with the specific needs of vessels in commercial use for sport and pleasure. The Code was reviewed and revised in 2004 to bring it up to date and reflect the needs of the industry.

The Code text is available in the download section of this website.


The Dutch yacht building industry has developed new regulations for the construction of yachts bigger than 12 metres, for commercial use (such as chartering). These rules are called rules for Commercial Cruising Vessels, or the CCV rules. This new development makes it possible to fly the Dutch flag on larger yachts. HISWA Association, the Dutch industry body, has been the instigator of the project, also supported by the Dutch Maritime Network, which published the regulations. In itself, the project is worked out in a unique cooperation between yards and the Dutch Government, the Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate.

The goal of the project is to offer the owner of a superyacht a so to speak “one stop shopping” solution. In other words, the Dutch yacht building industry can now offer the whole package to the owner; yacht, safety regulation, crewing and registration under Dutch flag. In this way, Dutch yacht builders expect to be even more attractive to potential superyacht owners. The Netherlands yacht building industry is known worldwide for its high level of craftsmanship. The introduction of these new CCV rules, in combination with registration under Dutch flag, offers a more complete package to potential owners. As a result, the competitive position of the Dutch yacht building industry will be reinforced on a global scale.

Until now, only the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) developed rules for super yachts. By making the CCV rules, the Dutch can now offer an attractive alternative. The CCV rules are based as much as possible on existing rules, adapted where necessary for specific application in order to allow and develop alternative solutions in a responsible way.

The CCV rules apply to seagoing vessels under Dutch flag for commercial use with a length exceeding 12 metres, designed and built for recreational use by passengers, up to 500 Gross Tonnage (GT). For vessels with a gross tonnage of 500 or more, SOLAS regulations are applicable. This 500 GT limit is in fact the only distinction made in the CCV rules. In this respect, the regulations are straight forward and simple. For some aspects, however, the CCV rules provide an explanation as regards to the rules for vessels of 500 GT and over. An example of this can be found in rules concerning structural fire protection. This is due to the special character of superyachts, which is different from commercial vessels in the traditional sense, like cargoships. In fact, we as an industry must be able to offer the owner a “floating palace” within reasonable legal safety boundaries. Moreover, the regulation for CCV’s larger than 500 GT, offers the possibility to use Risk Analysis with regard to structural fire protection. In short, this means that the industry has to prove, on a scientific basis, that fire safety standards are being met. In this way, alternative and innovative materials and constructions can be approved. The Dutch industry is now working on an acceptable method to reach this goal.

The CCV rules are so called “statutory rules”. The hull, the machinery and electrical systems, the equipment and the rigging have to comply with the relevant rules of Classification Societies like Lloyd’s Register, ABS, GL and others. The CCV rules are already part of Dutch law.

Apart from technique, registration (and in relation with this, tax regulation) is of importance. Since a CCV is a commercial vessel, we have to comply with registration and tax regulations as applicable for the traditional commercial sea-going vessels. This means for example that a CCV has to be commercially operated by a shipping company based in the Netherlands. In this way, no VAT has to be paid on the purchase of a CCV. In cooperation with the government, an operational model has been developed that is internationally competitive. This model is clear from the outset, so every owner, shipping company or yard knows under which conditions a CCV has to be operated. This is important for all parties involved.

Being a commercial cruising vessel, we also have to comply with national and international regulations (like STCW) for crew. This is nothing new and offers new opportunities for manning agencies and training institutes in The Netherlands. New training will be set up by a maritime institute in the Netherlands to educate crew for superyachts. This will be a welcome development, since manning a superyacht is not as easy as it might seem. For us as an industry, it is relatively easy to “hook up” with existing maritime training schools. We still need to develop training courses for yacht managers, technical and service staff. It is expected that things will be in place by the end of this year.

Recreational Craft Directive

The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) was introduced by the European Commission in 1994 to ensure a uniform level of safety in the design and manufacture of recreational craft throughout the European Economic Area. The directive came into force in 16th June 1996 with conformity being voluntary until 16th June 1998. After this time, the RCD became mandatory. An amendment was introduced in 2004, with the intention of incorporating marine engines (noise and exhaust) and jet ski craft within the scope of the Directive.

The Directive applies to all craft intended to be used for sporting and recreational purposes with a hull length of between 2.5 and 24 metres, which will be placed for the first time on the European Market. There are a number of Exclusions:
• craft intended solely for racing
• canoes, kayaks, gondolas and pedaloes
• surfboards and sailboards
• historical replicas
• submersibles
• hovercraft and hydrofoils
• craft intended to be crewed and to carry passengers for commercial purposes (these are covered by another directive)
• Self built (not subcontracted) craft for own use provided they are not subsequently placed on the market for at least five years

The Recreational Craft Directive consists of essential requirements. Compliance with these essential requirements can be shown by using the harmonized ISO standards.