Superyacht UK Technical Seminar a resounding success
22 April 2024

The annual Superyacht UK Technical Seminar, supported by partners Laurent Giles Naval Architects and DEFENDA an industry leader for superyacht fenders and accessories, took place at St Katharine Docks on Tuesday 9 April and speakers and attendees alike have heralded it a great success.

The seminar, now in its 13th year, saw over 70 delegates from across the superyacht sector, insurance and legal fields and members of the press attend the event to hear from leading industry professionals discussing current trends, regulatory updates, and innovative solutions shaping the future of the superyacht sector. The packed agenda covered topics ranging from updates on the latest regulatory changes to sustainable marine energy solutions.

“I would like start by thanking everyone who joined us, our speakers and delegates, all of whom made the event a great success.” commented Ben Geary, Chairman, Superyacht UK (SYUK). “We had an incredible line up of speakers who covered a whole host of topics which ignited interesting debate and discussion for everyone in the room.”

Following the SYUK chairman’s address the day got underway with a look at the latest amendments to the revised Red Ensign Group Large Yacht code published earlier in the year and coming into force in July. Julian Smith from the Cayman Island Shipping Register led the session providing a good overview of the changes in the new code as well as ongoing work looking at sub 500GT yachts.

Adam Jackson from ABL yachts then gave delegates a fantastic insight of new insurance clauses aimed at Li batteries in tenders and toys, explaining both why they are needed and how they were created, as well clarifying several important points on what batteries are covered by the clauses and the intent of the clause giving builders and operators the information they need to ensure they don’t fall foul of the clause.

“The SYUK Technical Seminar has served as an ideal platform to highlight the new clauses,” Adam stated. “It's crucial to communicate that insurance companies are united in addressing this issue and to assure the superyacht sector of our proactive steps around this emerging, significant risk.”

Over the years the SYUK Technical seminar has looked at alternative fuels and many of these, such as hydrogen, are low flash point fuels which come with additional handling and storage risks which need alternative crew training. Dr Nadeem Anwar from Warsash Maritime Training and Solent University gave an excellent talk explaining how the existing International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-flashpoint Fuel (IGF) framework has been adopted to give crew the training and qualifications they need.

Jonathan Turner from Maritime Aviation updated the group on the different types of heliports are available on-board large yachts, outlining the dangers and draw backs of not having a fully certified heliport, including additional hazards and risks, insurance risks, reduced options for use and the importance of getting the design right at the outset.  He then moved on to discuss new technology available for heliports, the importance of proper crew training and safety management and changes in aviation firefighting agents.

Before breaking for lunch Francesca Conn from Hill Dickinson chaired a panel discussion alongside Daniel Shacklock from Millstream Underwriters and Piers Flood from Dohle Yachts looking at build and refit contracts and the inclusion of waivers of liability and waivers of subrogation. The panel expertly explained what these are, what the possible repercussions of unwittingly signing them can be and the delays to refit work that they can cause if a vessels insurance needs to question them. The panel concluded that early involvement of the vessel’s insurance company with the refit contracts is imperative to avoid any last-minute delays and that:

  • There is a need to raise awareness and understanding the meaning and effect of waivers of liability and waivers of subrogation.
  • A breach of the Owner’s H&M Policy condition risks invalidating the Owner’s insurance cover.
  • Full waivers of liability are not fair and are unlikely to be agreed to by Owner’s UWR. Partial waivers e.g. ICOMIA agreed yard SRL limit are working in practice, but diligence and re-drafting required to get it right: a fair contract with “no surprises”.

After lunch the seminar had a strong focus on environmental issues and solutions with Ken and Megan Hickling providing delegates with current and upcoming legislation looking at companies’ carbon foot printing and reporting, how and why it applies to all companies and why everyone needs to start acting now.

Jaime Burrows from the Water Revolution Foundation then went on to give a presentation demonstrating some of the proactive work the industry is currently working, including tools such as YETI that have already developed and at further development work through ISO on reliable operational bench marking, allowing more accurate Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of a vessel and helping see where the most significant improvements can be made to a yachts design.

The day concluded with the seminar’s keynote speaker Ben Medland from Drift Energy. Ben delivered a thought-provoking insight into their development of clean energy creation through harvesting the oceans energy via a fleet of vessels which are then able to deliver that energy in standardised ISO containers to wherever it is needed in the world. This concept goes far beyond the possibility of just helping solve the superyacht industries clean fuel problems by delivering true green hydrogen to wherever the yachts need it, thus solving many of the infrastructure and storage issues that we discussed in last year’s seminar.  Ben has his sights firmly set on his solution playing a serious role in helping solve the worlds energy crisis.

“It was fantastic to have such a great turnout at the seminar and to hear from industry experts sharing their knowledge. The day had a wonderful balance of thought-provoking challenges for our industry to digest and factual updates, whilst offering a perfect setting to catch up with industry colleagues and meet some new ones”, commented Ed Tuite, Technical Manager, British Marine.

Throughout the day delegates had plenty of opportunities to network with colleagues and industry peers before the day closed with a drinks reception which was kindly sponsored by Laurent Giles Naval Architects.

What the delegates said of the day:

“The Technical Seminar was a very valuable event.  The agenda was extremely relevant to the pressures and issues facing the superyacht sector and was a great showcase of the talent and expertise that the UK superyacht community has to offer.  Drift Energy’s presentation on their vision/solution to so many of the issues that are facing the renewable power sector was inspiring and I am looking forward to seeing the fleet of net positive yachts on the oceans.” Amy Cardale, Hill Dickinson LLP

“It is great to see the industry waking up to ecological, sustainable processes”

Douglas Hynd, Redman Whiteley Dixon Ltd (RWD)

“The keynote speaker was very good and the thread throughout the day on sustainability and the topics surrounding it was thought provoking.  It provides a ‘stop and think’ moment to listen to new ideas.  I would definitely encourage anyone involved in the industry to come along.”

Adrien Tinkler, Mayfair Marine Ltd.

“It is my pleasure first and foremost to congratulate the team on a successful event. In my role of the SYBAss Technical & Environmental Director I had opportunity to listen to some interesting presentations, to find a highly competent mix of attendees and to interact with leaders and stakeholders of the Superyacht industry. I look forward to the next edition and you can count on my support and participation.  

Lorenzo Pollicardo, Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss)

“Great to see the UK based industry event so well attended and the enthusiasm for future growth and technologies. Thoroughly enjoyable”

Paul Dean, Golden Arrow Marine

“Our usual experience with networking events is very clinical and lifeless, however, the Superyacht UK seminar was different. Intermate and friendly, we already felt like part of the gang from the moment we entered the room. Having already made some valuable connections and opened the door on some good business opportunities, it was incredibly valuable for us to be there and will absolutely be attending the next one.”

Ashley Labrosse, Communications Specialist Ltd.

“Many thanks to the SYUK team, for delivering another informative, interesting and thought-provoking Technical Seminar!”

Simon Billington, DEFENDA

“Great to see gathered all in one space various representatives of the UK Superyacht industry – re-enforcing the value and employment our industry brings to the UK, as well as a good opportunity to get updated on technical developments in the industry and network.”

Piers Flood, Döhle Yachts

“An excellent seminar! A great line up of speakers who delivered engaging, insightful information with many take aways. Thank you for a productive, well organised, and enjoyable day.”

Glen Wallis, GJW Direct

“It was my first time at a SYUK technical seminar, I was invited in my President elect role. The day proved fascinating. Many of the topics discussed, such as, staff recruitment and training, Carbon footprint calculating and Lithium battery safety are issues that the wider British Marine membership is talking about, with other topics such as Helipads on yachts and contractual waivers of subrogation much more specific to superyachts. SYUK is obviously an active and engaged association. Thank you for the invite.”

Robert Parton, Aqueduct Marina and British Marine, President Elect.

All proceeds from the SYUK Technical seminar are directly reinvested into bringing in fresh talent to the industry by helping to fund the Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition 2024.

To find out more about Superyacht UK visit