Inflatable water parks, yoga platforms, stand-up-paddleboards, submarines, flyboards, jet skis and electric surfboards are just a few of the myriad toys available onboard a superyacht
Jet skis are increasingly popular on superyachts. Care should be taken to abide by the relevant rules and regulations relating to the use of jet skis. Many jurisdictions limit when, where and how jet skis can be used.
In Italy, Croatia, and the Canary Islands, for example, jet skis cannot be used by those under 18 years old and certain distances between the jet ski and the shore or other superyachts must be maintained.
In Malta, Spain, and Italy, it is compulsory for jet ski drivers to hold a licence when operating jet skis in their territorial waters.
Although formal, it is important that superyacht owners protect themselves from claims by having indemnities in place for guests to sign prior to using jet skis and other leisure accessories. This includes for the currently popular water jet flyboards, which have particular health and safety risks, whether or not the superyacht is to be chartered or used privately.
The use of drones on and around superyachts has increased dramatically in recent years. The location of the superyacht as to whether it is in international waters or territorial waters as well as the flag of the superyacht determines the laws and regulations a drone operator should comply with.
Are there rules that apply to using a drone on a superyacht?
– Yes, within the EU, EU Regulation 216/2008 applies to drones with a maximum take-off weight of more than 150kg, lighter drones of less than 150kg are governed by the national aviation authorities of each member state.
– The Air Navigation Order 2009 is the principle piece of legislation regarding drone use in the UK. It applies to superyachts in UK international waters and to British Red Ensign flagged superyachts in international waters.
– Since 29 August 2016, new Federal Aviation Administration (the FAA) rules came into force for drone users in the US or on US flagged superyachts in international waters. If the drone is used for commercial purposes, it must be registered with the FAA and the pilot must pass an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA approved centre. Recreational drones weighing between 0.25kg and 25kg must also be registered and labelled with the registration number.
Can I fly a drone over nearby superyachts or in a marina?
Not unless you have permission from the relevant authorities.The law prohibits flying small unmanned surveillance aircraft (ie a drone fitted with a camera or other data collecting technology) within 50 metres of any superyacht, vehicle, structure or person not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft, unless the Civil Aviation Authority has granted approval for such activity.
If your superyacht is flagged under the British Red Ensign, you may fly a drone to capture photos and video footage over your own superyacht and the surrounding area as long as you comply with the restrictions above. In the territorial waters of other jurisdictions, the laws of those jurisdictions must be followed.
The FAA rules prohibit recreational drone users from flying drones over any persons not directly participating in the operation of the drone. This rule applies to drones used for commercial purposes but may be waived by the FAA in certain circumstances.
How can I stop a drone flying over my superyacht?
In the first instance, report the incident to the relevant authorities. If the drone operator has not complied with the relevant rules and regulations regarding drone use the authorities will address this.
It may be possible to sue the drone operator for trespass or nuisance depending on the level of intrusion, however, the law is still developing in this area.
Don’t attempt to disable the drone or interfere with any equipment on the drone, such as cameras or recording devices, as doing so is likely to amount to criminal damage.
Flyboards are a recent trend in water sports, but present particular health and safety risks. They are typically powered by a jet ski, so it is essential to ensure that you consider the local laws relating to jet skis when using a flyboard.
Age restrictions are likely to apply and could vary between jurisdictions. As a duty of care is imposed on the user, proper care and attention should be given when in use. It is worth checking whether their use is covered under any of your insurance policies as water sports equipment, or whether specialist insurance is required.
If you will be using flyboards from your superyacht, we would recommend taking guidance and training by a qualified instructor as well as having suitable indemnities in place for guests to sign prior to their use, whether or not the superyacht is chartered or used privately.
Small ‘personal’ submarines are the height of luxury and ideal for superyachts. They are built to the highest standards of health and safety with many approved by classification societies and registry requirements.
Training is essential for their use which is usually provided upon purchase. A qualified instructor is not required for use but in some jurisdictions like Canada you need to have an open water diving licence to navigate a personal submarine.
You should uphold proper maintenance of submarines as accidents could be caused by incorrect storage. A general duty of care is owed to all other users of the sea when using submarines. Given their inherent risk there are currently only a few insurers who provide specialist coverage.