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Understanding Superyacht Industry Jargon – A Newbie’s Perspective

Understanding Superyacht Industry Jargon – A Newbie’s Perspective

The newest member of our Marine & Aviation team gets her head around the 'confusing' acronyms and abbreviations used in the Superyacht industry.

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Marine & Aviation Blog

Just over a month ago, I entered the exciting and growing world of the Marine and Aviation industry….

My name is Libby, and I am 21 years old. I recently left the Jersey funds sector in pursuit of a career more aligned to my personal interests. Living in Jersey, a small island with beautiful beaches and surrounded by uninhabited islands and reefs, the sea has always been a big part of my life. So what better industry to devote myself to than one with a focus on providing outstanding services to the superyacht industry.

My first couple of months of work have been incredibly fascinating and intriguing, to say the least. The general day to day work has been very interesting and varied, I feel like I have learnt so much in such a short space of time. I’m really starting to become familiar with the clients, and have enjoyed interacting with them via monthly calls. I've especially enjoyed following the build of a new yacht and keeping up with weekly reports to see all the work and process of how a superyacht is made, which by the way, is incredible! I've also really enjoyed corresponding with different yacht captains and learning about crew payroll and leaver / joiner documents and requirements. Amongst other things, it seems the yachting world is awash with acronyms and abbreviations, which of course can seem confusing and a lot to get your head around. Below are some that I have learnt, which might be helpful to you too.

Superyacht industry acronyms and abbreviations

ISM – International Safety Management

A SOLAS requirement adopted by flag states. Its aim is to provide an international standard for the safe management and operation of vessels. Its main objectives are safety at sea and prevention of human injury or loss of life.

DPA – Designated Person Ashore

According to the ISM Code, the Designated Person Ashore plays a key role in the effective implementation of a Safety Management System and takes responsibility for verification and monitoring of all safety operations of the vessel.

GT – Gross Tonnage

This is not the ship's displacement or weight measure. It is calculated based on 'the moulded volume of all enclosed spaces of the ship'. It is used to determine things such as the ships manning regulations, safety rules and registration fees. In short -   how big it is!

IMO – International Maritime Organization

The UN special agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping.  Enough said.

Flag State

The sovereign territory where a vessel is registered – in short, the vessel's nationality.  Determines the pretty flag you fly and the rules you follow.

Port State

The sovereign territory where a vessel is visiting (Port State Control (PSC) is the inspection mechanism of a foreign-flagged vessel when in another's sovereign waters).  Customs for vessels.

SOLAS – International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea

International treaty adopted by Flag States to ensure vessels comply with safety standards for construction, equipment and operation. A tragedy I'm sure we are all aware of, RMS Titanic (DiCaprio fans!!) precipitated the original SOLAS, which has adapted and changed ever since.


An international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships.  Do not make a mess, and do not destroy our oceans and coastlines!

COFR  - Certificate of Financial Responsibility

Applies to vessel operators who have demonstrated an ability to pay for clean-up and damage costs under the Oil Pollution Act.  Vessels greater than 300GT are required to comply in US waters.  If you make a mess, we need to know that you can afford to clean it up! The disaster that was the Exxon Valdez gave impetus to this and the Oil Pollution Act.

STCW – Seafarers Training, Certification and Watchkeeping

Formalises the process and training requirements for a vessel's crew.  A must for all crew – for their safety, the vessel's safety and those on board.  It will help you get a job too!

MLC – Maritime Labour Convention

Established by the UN and concerns the safety and well-being of all seafarers.  Intended to be the 4th and most recent pillar of international shipping regulations, joining SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL.  Basically, we must look after our seafarers as they look after our boats and keep our industry ticking.

I hope that is not too many to take in at once!

Over the coming months, I wish to share with you my progress in understanding and getting to know this exciting new world, and of course, would love to hear your experiences in working in this sector or any acronyms you can add to the list to help me 😁

Meet our dedicated Marine & Aviation Team

Did you know? Many of the Fiduchi team live and breathe boats -  having in excess of 150,000 nautical miles logged between us from being crew and skippers on smaller sailing and racing yachts to crew, chefs and captains on larger yachts and superyachts.

Left to right: Sue Vitel - Payments Administrator, Libby Dempster - Administrator, Kelly Bentley - Senior Administrator, Robert Ayliffe - Executive Director, Nick Walker - Associate Director, Jane Hayes - Associate Director, Darren Hocquard - Executive Director, Katie Quinn - Company Administrator.

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