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Yachting Guidelines

These suggested guidelines have been adopted by IAATO Members as best practice for yacht operations south of 60°S.

The list continues to evolve and be augmented, and is not intended to be exhaustive – nor should it be understood to establish a minimum standard.

Operational Guidelines

The term “yacht” refers to sailing and motor vessels that carry 12 or fewer passengers. The guidelines are supplementary to requirements under IAATO Bylaws (in particular Article X, Sections B and Section C) and the guidelines/operating procedures outlined in the IAATO Field Operations Manual (e.g. waste management, boot and clothing decontamination, wildlife watching, small boat operations and shore stranding equipment), as well as any specific national or international authority requirements.

Yacht Construction & Preparation

  • Yachts must be sturdy and stable. Alloy or steel construction should be favoured for yachts undertaking regular expeditions. Construction should be a prime consideration when planning the frequency, timing and itinerary of expeditions.
  • Yachts should be prepared for being “knocked down” and encountering extreme weather/sea conditions.
  • All yachts should carry ocean-going grade liferafts, lifejackets and safety harnesses for at least 100% capacity. Deck areas should be fitted with safety harness jackstays and attachment points.
  • Yachts should be fitted with a sturdy boarding ladder or platform.


  • Ocean-going man-overboard marking and retrieval equipment.
  • Multiple sets of anchoring equipment. Shorelines and associated equipment.
  • Multiple shore landing craft.
  • Deck spotlight for ice identification at night.
  • Radar.
  • Long-range communications system(s): Iridium, Inmarsat and/or HF/SSB.
  • 406 EPIRB.
  • Suitable means to receive weather information.
  • Sailing yachts to have heavy-weather sails.
  • Storm boards with the ability to replace, cover or repair any hatch or opening.
  • Carry on board a comprehensive tool kit and spare parts inventory.
  • Comprehensive first aid equipment, and crew appropriately trained in its use.
  • Allow for complete self-sufficiency (particularly fuels, spare parts and provisions), allowing for an extended expedition due to weather, technical or other factors.
  • Cold-water diving equipment is advised, particularly for vessels making multiple expeditions.


  • All crew and passengers should be comprehensively briefed on vessel operations, safety procedures, environmental considerations and bio-security.
  • All waste will be disposed of in accordance with Annexes III & IV to the Protocol on Environmental Protection and IAATO Statement on Waste Management. Where practicable, all waste to be removed from Antarctica. Disposal of sewage and grey water in confined waters is to be avoided where practicable. No incineration of waste materials ashore or onboard.
  • Bilge pumps shall be kept and operated in manual mode. Bilge pumping operations, if used, must undertake to prevent oily water/pollutants being discharged.
  • Any shore activities on glaciated or potentially glaciated terrain should be undertaken with the supervision of suitably experienced and equipped personnel.
  • No animals or plants to be carried on board.
  • No fires or BBQs ashore