Classification Societies (sometimes just referred to as “Class”) are non-governmental organisations in the shipping industry. They establish and maintain standards for the classification of vessels, including yachts, and supervise construction according to these standards. They also carry out surveys of vessels to ensure compliance to these standards.
Classification Societies will issue Class Certificates of survey on completion if the yacht has been built in accordance with their rules and regulations. They are also granted powers by governments to issue Loadline, Tonnage and Safety Certificates for merchant shipping operating on their respective registries. However, Class Certificates are not a warranty for safety, seaworthiness or fitness for purpose of the vessel. It only ratifies that the vessel is in compliance with the Society’s rules and regulations.
Classification is voluntary, unless a Flag State and insurance underwriters require it. Quite often Flag States will delegate surveys to the relevant Classification Society.
Possible Benefits of Building to Class:
Bureau Veritas (BV)
Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK)
Lloyds Register (LR)
Registro Italiano Navele (RINA)