The Mediterranean and Caribbean have always been the top destinations when chartering a superyacht. With beautiful beaches, glimmering turquoise seas, and the glitz and glamour of destinations such as Monaco and St Tropez, there has been little allure to cruise further afield.
However, the thought of embarking on your own personal expedition, to explore and discover some of the most remote places of the world within the luxury and comfort of your own yacht is becoming popular with those charterers yearning for adventure.
With the new mandatory Polar Code, both the Arctic and Antarctic are now more accessible than ever. The Code provides framework for yachts operating in polar waters and is designed for safe operations and environmental protection. The main requirements are related to safety, environment and crew competence, applied through SOLAS and MARPOL.
The Arctic is located at the northernmost part of Earth and occupies around a 1/6th of the world’s surface. The best time to visit is between April and September when the sea ice melts enough to cruise far into the fjords with almost 24 hour sunshine.
Cruising the Arctic offers an abundance of wildlife and activities from tracking polar bears; visiting traditional inuit villages and dog sledding to exploring the largest fjord system in the world by kayak and watch the magic of the Northern Lights.
In contrast, Antarctica is located at the southernmost part of the Earth and is one of the most unexplored and harshest environments on Earth. At the same time, it is described as being one of the greatest wildernesses on Earth. Visiting Antarctica is not just a holiday but the ultimate expedition.
The season to cruise Antarctica is from November until March, which is the Southern hemisphere’s summer when days are longest and temperatures just above freezing. December and January are the warmest months creating perfect conditions for sighting whales, seal pups and penguin chicks.
A typical days’ adventure may include exploring the depths of the ocean in a submersible, photographing penguins followed by an ice climb, all before spending a night camping on the ice under a majestic sky.
Exploring the polar regions poses unique challenges and can take several months of pre-planning. As part of the Code, every commercial yacht of 500GT and over, operating in the Arctic or Antarctic is required to hold a Polar Ship Certificate. To obtain certification, yachts are required to undergo a thorough risk assessment process and have in place a Polar Water Operations Manual which provides clear guidance for risk management, decision making and safe operations. As part of its preparations, the yacht needs to obtain specialist polar equipment and undergo training for operating in ice.
In centuries past, setting out on a polar expedition was a massive commitment that could take you away from home for years at a time. With today’s superyachts it’s easier and more luxurious than ever before to embark on an adventure to the poles that will exceed your wildest dreams.
For more information about Polar Code and its requirement, please contact Rosemont Yacht Management team at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originaly published on Monaco Seaside, the exclusive port magazine in Monaco.