Coatings inspectors ramp up quality in yacht sector

AMSTERDAM – Few aspects of superyachts have absorbed more attention,  stoked more conflicts and fattened more lawyers’ salaries than hull paint jobs. For long, there were no specific qualifications for inspectors of superyacht coatings. That changed in 2014 when the Registered Marine Coatings Inspectors (RMCI) qualification was launched.

And how has that been going? Very well, by many accounts.

Crucially, the launch of the RMCI certificate marked the end of an era of protracted lawsuits featuring dueling, self-appointed experts arguing over such issues as gloss factors after 2 years of application for which no agreed norms existed.

Since 1914, 123 professionals in 19 countries have become certified coatings inspectors. It was also agreed to have inspectors sit a refresher exam after 5 years to ensure they know the latest developments and innovations in coatings

The RMCI course and degree were instigated by the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), the SuperYacht Builders Association (SYBAss) and the International Institute of Marine Surveyors (IIMS). Says Mike Schwarz, CEO of the latter outfit, which certifies inspectors:

“I remember observing an RMCI pilot course (in England) in September 2014. I look back with some pride on the time that has since passed. The standard has had an impact in the superyacht coatings sector. Knowing that the RMCI certificate is recognized in the industry and accepted as an appropriate standard in ISO is proof that we are on the right track”.

ICOMIA General-Secretary Udo Kleinitz says the RMCI course and certification are widely seen as improving the quality of inspections. The certification is part of a broader drive toward establishing ISO criteria for paint systems.

Theo Hooning, Secretary-General of Amsterdam-based SYBAss, says the industry must push for more qualification programs to ramp up professionalism in the yacht building industry.