The world of yachting is full of abbreviations. This glossary is a basic introduction to common organizational, vessel and regulatory abbreviations.

InitialsFull TitleDescription
ABS American Bureau of Shipping maritime classification society
AFC Anti-Fowling Convention IMO convention which prohibits the use of hull paint harmful to the marine environment
AIS Automatic Identification System automatic vessel tracking system to identify and locate
AMSA Australian Maritime Safety Authority port control agency of Australia
APA Advanced Provision Allowance guest deposit held and managed by the Captain during charters to cover expenses
ATON Aid To Navigation lights, buoys and beacons which use color, shape and time to assist in determining line of position
B1/B2 US Visas - business and pleasure B1 visa permits holder to work while in the US, B2 is for tourist travel only
BF Basic Firefighting part of the Basic STCW course module
BV Bureau Veritas international maritime classification society
BWC Ballast Water Convention IMO guidelines on the testing, treatment and discharge of ballast water into bodies of water
CoC Certificates of Competency credential issued as proof of competancy based on coursework and practical assessment in a specific area of vessel operation
COLREG Collision regulations convention IMO adapted navigation rules (rules of the road) to be followed by all vessels to prevent collisions at sea
dwt dead weight tons maximum capacity a ship can carry
EDH Efficient Deck Hand five day course of basic seamanship
EMSA European Maritime Safety Agency EU Agency that investigates marine accidents, manages oil spills within its geography, and tracks EU commercial ships
ECDIS Electronic Chart Display and Information System electronic mapping and navigation system
EMCIP European Marine Casualty Information Platform EU member states organization which standardizes the investigation and reporting of marine casualities
ENG 1 medical certification medical report on an exam by a MCA approved physician - required to work on a yacht and valid for two years
FYBA Florida Yacht Brokers Association professional organization focused on ethical practises in yacht brokerage transactions
gt gross tonnage measurement of the total interior volume
HELM Human Element Leadership Management required coursework for 2010 ammended STCW
ILO Int'l Labor Organization United Nations organization which works between governments, employers and workers in 187 memebr states to set labor standards
IMO International Maritime Organization international governing body devoted to maritime matters
IMRF International Maritime Rescue Foundation international charity focused on promoting safety and preventing loss of life in the world's waters
ISM International Safety Management Code provides an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention
ISPS International Ship and Port Facility Security Code security plans and the training and testing of personnel in the plans - applicable to commercial yachts of at least 500GT
ISS International Superyacht Society global association for the superyacht industry whose charter is to ensure sustainability and excellance in the industry
LOA Length Overall maximum length of the hull measured parallel to the waterline - significant when selecting a berth
LR Lloyd's Register maritime classification Society
LWL Load Waterline Length Boat's length where it sits in the water
LY2 The MCA's Large Yacht Code large commercial yacht code
LY3 MCA's Large Yacht Code 2013 update to the LY2 large commercial yacht code MSN 1851
MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships protocols to prevent and minimize environmental pollution to the marine environment from accidents and routine operations
MCA Maritime and Coastguard Agency port control agency of Great Britain
MDB Marine discharge book also called a Seaman's Book - issued by the yacht's flag authority for the purpose of recording proof of onboard servie
MGN Marine Guidance Notes collection of publications by the MCA that have long term application or address new regulation
MIA Marine Industries Association professional organization which promotes growth of the industries operating as marine manufacturers or suppliers
MIN Marine Information Notices information published by MCA that is valid for a short period of time or relevant to a small audience
MLC Marine Labor Convention a convention of the ILO that establishes minimum working and living standards for all seafarers on ships flagged in ratifying countries
MOU Memorandum of Understanding first stage in fomation of a contract
MOY Master of Yachts (IYT designation) IYT (International Yacht Training) designation of competance
M/Y Motor Yacht yacht propelled by engine power
MYBA Mediterrenean Yacht Brokers Association professional organization dedicated to the charter industry in yachting/providers of standardized contracts and guidelines
nm Nautical Miles used for charting and navigation - equal to one minute of latitude or 1.1508 land miles
NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration American scientific agency focused on conditions of oceans and coasts - charts coastal waters
NSRI National Sea Rescue Institute voluntary non-profit organization whose purpose is to save lifes on South African waters
nt net tonnage cargo space of the vessel or earning capacity
OOW Officer of the watch officer who holds primary responsibility for the navigation of the ship in the absence of the captain during a specific watch period
PBL Problem based learning student centered learning approach where learning is achieved through the experience of solving an open ended problem
PSSR Personal Safety and Social Responsibility one module in the Basic STCW coursework
PST Personal Survival Techniques one module in the Basic STCW coursework
RMI Republic of the Marshall Islands flag state organization
RINA Registro Italiano Navale classification society
RINA Royal Institution of Naval Architects international professional organization with the goal of promoting excellance in design
RYA Royal Yachting Association British organization which promotes boating - offers clases and training
SAR Search and Rescue organized process to recover a person overboard or a ship in distress
S/Y Sailing Yacht a yacht propelled partially or fully by sails
SMS Safety Management System writtten plan of routine operations and emergency procedures for vessel to comply with the ISM code
SOLAS International Convention for the Protection of Life at Sea international IMO Convention aimed at protecting ships and the security of passengers
SOPEP Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan prevention plan related to oil spills required on yachts >400 GT
SSA Ship Security Assessment process to identify key operations to protect and the likelihood of need for creating ISPS
STCW Code Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping international standard of basic qualification requirments for personnel on seagoing vessels
TEU Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit unit of measure for the capacity of a container or ship
UKHO United Kingdom Hydrographic Office British provider of nautical publications and services, including charts
USCG United States Coast Guard port control for the United States
USCG Medical Certification United States Coast Guard Medical Certification report of a medical exam by an approved MD that is required to work on a vessel. Equivalent to ENG1
VAT Value Added Tax a consumption tax used in the EU also called a GST (goods and service tax)
VRP Vessel Response Plans protocols in place on board to react to an environmental incident
VTS Vessel Traffic or Tracking Service monitoring of the vessel traffic in the maritime domain by the port control agency
YM Yacht Master RYA (Royal Yacht Association) issued license
YRC Yacht rating certificate entry level qualification for seafarer who is responsible for manning a vessel