High-speed craft is a craft capable of a maximum speed, in metres per second (m/s), equal to or exceeding 3.7 times the one-sixth power of the volume of displacement corresponding to the design waterline (m³), excluding craft the hull of which is supported completely clear above the water surface in non-displacement mode by aerodynamic forces generated by ground effect. (SOLAS X/1.2, HSC Code 2000 para 1.4.30)
High-speed craft (HSC) include, among others, air-cushion vehicles (such as hovercraft) and hydrofoil boats.
With the development of many new types of HSC in the 1980s and 1990s, IMO decided to adopt new international regulations dealing with the special needs of this type of vessel. In 1994, IMO adopted the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft (HSC Code) (resolution MSC.36 (63), which was developed following a revision of the Code of Safety of Dynamically Supported Craft (resolution A.373(X)).