The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) in Singapore will introduce a the Advanced Power Pleasure Craft Driving licence in the second half of 2011 for those operating yachts 24m and above. “The Advanced Power Pleasure Craft Driving Licence is in anticipation of future pleasure craft which could be larger,” an MPA spokesperson told MediaCorp.
Local yacht industry executives have said that the new licence makes sense considering the expected growth in the superyacht segment. According to Singapore Superyacht Association executive director Jean-Jacques Lavigne, there are 19 superyachts based in Singapore as of Dec 31.
Marinas in the area are also continuing to add superyacht slips. The Marina at Keppel Bay for example added eight slips for superyachts since last autumn, and ONE°15 has added 66 berths.
Mr Lavigne said that the new licence comes from “feedback from the industry that the existing Power Pleasure Craft Driving Licence (PPCDL) was no longer adapted to the current situation” , and that a new license would improve safety standards.
The introduction of the Advanced Power Pleasure Craft Driving licence follows a rule change by MPA that allowed some pleasure craft – those bearing an SZH licence that were previously allowed to be hired out only on a non-commercial basis – to be used for commercial chartering activities. The rule specified that these yachts meet higher safety requirements such as pre-licensing and annual inspections.
The change in the chartering rule comes at a time when yacht charters in Singapore are rising, with locals and tourists realizing the enjoyment of yacht chartering in the area. ONE°15 Luxury Yachting has seen its charter fleet grow from five to 16 yachts in the last three years. A spokesperson said bookings have grown 50-60 per cent per year in the past two years. Singapore will also play host to a fleet of sailing and motor Superyachts when the ‘Singapore Yacht Show’ launches from 8 to 10 April 2011 at the exclusive ONE°15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove.
Simpson Marine Yacht broker Peter Mison told the paper that the rule change will only attract boat owners who are serious about chartering, mainly because of the extra inspection fees. He said “casual” players, who do occasional chartering to recover yacht maintenance costs, will probably not apply for a license that will allow their boats to be used for commercial charters.
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