Wednesday 29 June, 2022
Many expedition yachts feature steel hulls that are designed to break through polar ice. When considering an expedition yacht for purchase or explorer yacht new build construction, its important to consider the capability of the yacht in extreme environments.
Ice class simply refers to the notation assigned by a classification society to denote the level of strengthening the yacht has received. However, this has resulted in various classification societies using different grading scales. Lloyds Register for instance uses 4 grades; 1AS, 1A, 1B and 1C whilst the American Bureau of Shipping has 5 grades; A5, A0, B0, C0 and D0.
Polar class however is an attempt to harmonise these various rules by the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), and complement the IMO Guidelines for Ships Operating in Arctic Ice Covered Waters.
There are 7 grades within the IACS Polar Class:
Year-round operation in all polar waters
Year-round operation in moderate multi-year ice conditions
Year-round operation in second-year ice, which may include multi-year ice inclusions
Year-round operation in thick first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions
Year-round operation in medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions
Summer/autumn operation in medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions
Summer/autumn operation in thin first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions
It’s worth noting that the yacht manufacturer’s and classification societies may still be using their own Ice Class classifications, and is something to watch out for when considering an expedition yacht for sale or charter.
For any further information on expeditions yachts for charter or sale, classification societies or yachts charter to Antarctica or the Arctic Circle, speak to your yacht broker specialists at SWM Yachts.