A Breath of Fresh Air Page 2

A Breath of Fresh Air - Environmentally Safe Yacht Design, Part 2
A Breath of Fresh Air - By George L. Petrie — September 2001
Part 2: Le Grand Bleu
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• Part 1: A Breath of Fresh Air
• Part 2: A Breath of Fresh Air continued
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The first vessel to obtain the EP notation from LR is the 354-foot expeditionary yacht Le Grand Bleu. Her owner demanded that she not be designed as the typical glossy, shiny, floating "gin-palace," but rather as a serious craft that could do things. And a serious craft she is, with exceptionally large and heavy-duty tenders in excess of 60 feet and a fleet of smaller boats for various purposes. She has an elaborate diving center, a large seawater aquarium, and a glass bottom in part of her hull to allow guests to observe marine life from the comfort of an observation room.

Her owner stipulated that she obtain the EP designation as a demonstration of commitment to minimal pollution. Besides being classed by LR, she is compliant with the MCA Code, and her hull has been specially strengthened for navigation in ice. And she purports to be the first large yacht to be fitted with "proper" lifeboats, a pair of fully enclosed 53-person vessels that can also function as rescue boats capable of providing assistance in case of emergency. The owner's insistence on strict confidentiality precludes publishing specific details of Le Grand Bleu's design, but by considering the steps involved in the certification process, one can gain an appreciation for the effort involved in earning the EP designation.

The certification process involves multiple stages of review, survey, and audit, as shown on the facing page. An emphasis on documentation and procedure suggest that the designation is as much about doing things properly as it is about having the right equipment onboard. But just what are the environmental protection guidelines that have to be met? The LR requirements for EP notation are listed at the bottom of this and the previous page.

Judging from the scope of these regulations, it's clear that the classification societies have begun to view the safety of our environment as seriously as they have always taken the safety of vessels that put to sea. It's likely there will be some who will see this as just another set of rules, generating paperwork. But it's nice to know that Le Grand Bleu's owner has stepped up to the plate to show that the quality of our environment matters. If more of us acted that way, we might all breathe easier.

George L. Petrie is a professor of naval architecture at Webb Institute and provides maritime consulting services. His Web site is www.maritimeanalysis.com.

Next page > Procedures and General Requirements > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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