Standards harmonization initiative moves forward

ANNAPOLIS Md., SURREY, England, CHICAGO – A significant move forward towards the harmonization and co-recognition of the International Organization for Standardization and American Boat & Yacht Council standards was made during a recent meeting at the Marine Equipment Trade Show, ABYC reported in a release yesterday.

The initial step towards harmonization was taken in May during the International Marine Standards Summit in Annapolis, Md. Organizations participating at this second gathering included the chairman of the ISO Technical Committee 188 (which is the ISO technical committee that updates and maintains small craft standards), the International Council of Marine Industry Associations and ABYC, in concert with representation from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

At this second meeting, participants agreed on the following, as they stated in the release.

“The primary purpose of boat industry standards is to achieve an acceptable level of safety in a product while contributing to the international trading of goods. Recognizing the significance of the international dimension of our industry, all parties recognized that to date a globally adopted set of standards does not exist. Therefore the objective of this Standards Harmonization Initiative is to achieve one globally accepted specification for use by all stakeholders.”

ABYC and ISO said they have started the process, but encourage others to participate. They said the initiative intends to:

  • Identify the applicable standards and/or regulations which affect stakeholders.
  • Prioritize the standards to be addressed and set timelines for action.
  • Compare and contrast the relevant standards.
  • Tabulate the meaningful differences.
  • Publish these differences to industry as a tool for compliance (ICOMIA Global Conformity Guidelines).
  • Ensure reviews of the standards address the meaningful differences and seek to resolve them.
  • The outcome of this initiative will be to deliver either a harmonized standard or revised ICOMIA/ABYC set of Global Conformity Guidelines, according to the release.

    “I am very pleased that we have built on the work achieved at the International Marine Standards Summit held in Annapolis,” said Tony Rice, secretary general of ICOMIA. “We have a clear plan of action and are fully committed to achieving rapid and significant progress.”

    The methodology to be used as the initial pilot test between now and early February will focus on Fuel Systems (H24 / H33 / ISO 10088 / ISO 21487). Once the results of this test have been evaluated, TC 188 and ABYC will issue harmonization/co-recognition guidance to their working group leaders.

    “This is a very ‘roll up your sleeves and get to work’ kind of project,” said John Adey, ABYC technical director. “It will take resources from all organizations involved to produce useful and meaningful results to benefit our industry stakeholders; done correctly this could be one of the most widely used products in the boating industry today.”

    ABYC has been developing, writing and updating the safety standards for boat building and repair in the United States for over 50 years. They are available on CD-ROM, online (Web-STIR) and in printed form.

    “Although we may never see a single worldwide set of standards, we hope to bring standards closer in line by first identifying the differences in similar standards, and then linking these differences to the appropriate work group and technical committee for possible resolution,” said Tom Marhevko, NMMA’s vice president of Engineering Standards. “This is a first step and a long journey.”

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