Pleasure Yachts and International Flag Registration

Investing in your own pleasure yacht is a great way to take your travelling game the next level of style and comfort, and you get to enjoy the peace of being out at sea, sharing it all with your friends and family, and throwing epic yacht parties, Diddy style.

However, buying a yacht is a bit different from purchasing a car or a house in that, it’s not limited by country boarders and thus requires specialised registration and tax structures. To help you figure it all out, we’ve got some helpful tips on what you should consider before registering your pleasure yacht.

Choose the right flag:

It’s important to choose wisely when considering the flag you’ll be flying on your yacht. This decision has far-reaching implications such as determining the level of privacy you’ll be able to enjoy, the nationality of the crew you hire, and the amount of taxes you’ll be paying as you travel.
 
The first thing to consider is whether you’ll be registering the yacht under your personal name or an Ltd. Experts recommend that you register it under a Ltd. that will assume responsibility for the yacht so as to avoid exorbitant taxation. Some of the biggest registries in the world offer reasonable rates and taxes to Ltd.’s, while imposing heavy taxes on personally owned vessels.
 
It’s important to keep in mind however, that your yacht will be subject to the laws of the country in which it’s registered, so you should know those laws from the get-go to avoid any issues or surprises later. For example, some of the countries with reasonable tax structures place limitations on the nationalities of the crew you hire, while others that allow you to hire a diverse crew don’t come with the right endorsement.

EU Flag

Speaking of which, it’s also a good idea to register your yacht under a flag that’s endorsed and recognised by the EU and US authorities, with guaranteed protection from the British Royal Navy for safety. Flying a flag that’s not endorsed by these authorities might be a costly mistake that’ll place unnecessary limits on your ability to travel, and such a registration might even lead to your boat undergoing annoying inspections to ensure compliance with international regulations.
So, avoid black or grey listed countries, and opt for those under the Red Ensign Group instead, as these flags offer a good combination of safety and reasonable tax arrangements. For example, countries like Bermuda, the Isle of Man, Channel Islands and the Cayman Islands all come with a company tax of 0%.
 
The Malta flag is another great location for registering a yacht, and as one of the largest ship registries in the world, the Maltese island is a popular choice among vessel owners of pleasure yachts. Not only does the registry offer 24/7 365 service, but their registration and tax rates are really low as well, and the Maltese flag is endorsed by the EU which means that your yacht will enjoy the protection of the British Royal Navy.
 
Lastly, registering your yacht in Malta means that you get to choose the nationality of your crew, which is great when you want to enjoy a wide range of skills from crew members around the world.

 

 
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