1-954-727-3570 info@horizon-na.com

Regulatory compliance services are always a critical and ongoing part of the marine industry, regardless of the circumstances. As we find ourselves in unique circumstances these days with the global coronavirus pandemic, lives around the world and industries of all types continue to feel the impact. The maritime sector is no different and feels the significant impact during this time as well. The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the yachting industry are undeniable. At Horizon Naval Architects, we’re continuously monitoring the situation and supporting our clients along the way in these challenging, unprecedented times.

Recently, we are all facing restrictions on things like travel, shipping, shipbuilding, and more. The yachting community itself is working through challenging conditions with some geographies and governments having closed their territorial waters. In places where they are still open, the majority of ports are shut down. Control and quarantine measures are in place for the small number of chartered yachts. Many spring charters have been cancelled or postponed with hopes of a gradual return in the summer months. Crew availability is also unpredictable with crew members either returning home or becoming ill, causing quarantines onboard the yachts.

As a result of COVID-19 and the efforts to flatten the curve, many yachts are simply stuck in their present locations. With vessels being stationary in the water, it presents an ideal time to carry out a compliance procedure, such as a lightweight survey. A lightweight survey is a regulatory compliance assessment that the American Bureau of Shipping requires every five years. Under the current circumstances, clients are leaning on the team here at Horizon Naval Architects more to cover their compliance management services. This includes providing them with lightweight surveys. However, those are not the only services we can provide.

What is a Lightweight Survey?

A lightweight survey is an important compliance procedure for not only commercial yachts, but also highly recommended for private yachts. As a yacht changes and grows, it can become overweight. Activities such as removing and adding equipment can compromise stability. Even the smallest of changes can really add up. Safety is the priority. However, if results are outside of approved limits, it can limit cargo capacity, tank capacity, and the vessel’s range. A regulatory compliance assessment is not only necessary, but getting it done early can save you time and money. For instance, performing a refit without evaluating lightship characteristics and a weight study isn’t a good idea. It is critical to determine the impact to a vessel’s load line and stability booklet prior to a refit. This single activity can potentially save millions in cost, and months in time out of service.

A Basic Audit, of Sorts

Generally, many view these surveys as an audit of all of the items aboard a vessel which can move around to calculate the lightship condition. To calculate a lightweight survey, we compare current statistics to previous particulars aboard the ship. This includes lightship weight, longitudinal center of gravity (LCG), and transverse center of gravity (TCG). The lightship weight is the actual weight of the vessel without fuel, cargo, passengers, water, and so on. We calculate the center of gravity of each item or tank based upon survey notes, general arrangement, structural drawings, and tank tables.

Survey Results

After we complete the survey, we develop and deliver a report. Essentially, the obtained lightweight particulars of the vessel will be compared against the results from the previous lightweight survey. The change in lightweight displacement must be less than 2% and the change in LCG over length between perpendiculars (LBP) must be less than 1% in order to accept the use of previous lightweight particulars. If the survey results say that the vessel is outside of the approved limits, the recommendation will be to perform a new stability test.

How to Prepare for a Lightweight Survey

There are several steps to prepare the vessel for this compliance procedure. The list of documents you will need prior to the survey include:

  • A general arrangement
  • Tank capacity plan
  • Tank tables
  • A profile drawing
  • Drawings of transverse sections
  • A previously approved stability booklet which contains lightweight particulars

Additionally, the vessel should be in complete condition. You need to avoid any excessive trim or heel, plus, there cannot be any ongoing work onboard the vessel. Crew should be at a minimum for the survey. Finally, the weather is also a factor. The water and winds should be calm so as to reduce the interference of the waves, currents, and winds during the survey.

Regulatory Compliance Services: Saving Money and Time

As we continue to navigate through unchartered waters with COVID-19, one thing is for certain; the need to maintain regulatory compliance remains a constant. This may be the perfect time to complete necessary regulatory services. Special survey windows allow for you to complete lightweight surveys early, up to one year in advance, without changing the date of the next one in the future.

As mentioned earlier, if you are planning major modifications to the yacht, such as a refit, we highly recommend that you get a lightweight check or weight study prior to doing so. It is away better to be proactive. Unchecked changes to stability can prove to be a costly and lengthy endeavor. The mere thought of having to rip items out of a refitted boat not only causes undue stress, but also wastes valuable time, and in some cases, can cost millions of dollars. A small investment in doing a lightweight check can make all the difference. Knowing how the boat will sit in the water should is vital when performing a refit.

For Regulatory Compliance Services, Contact Horizon Naval Architects, Inc.

If you are interested in learning more about regulatory compliance management services, the experienced team here at Horizon Naval Architects are happy to assist. We are located at 760 Taylor Ln. #2, Dania Beach, FL 33004. You can also reach us at 954-727-3570 or can reach us via email at info@horizon-na.com