Yacht Registration

Yacht registration services worldwide. Futuramax provide yacht owners with a "one-stop-solution" to register new or pre-used vessels in favourable jurisdictions under a "flag of convenience".

Yacht Registration

Why and when will a yacht registration be required?

Generally spoken, a vessel registration is mandatory when you intend to sail to foreign countries. Apart from a few lucky countries (like Ireland and the UK, where anyone can take vessels of up to 20m length to sea - without registration) most jurisdictions on earth insist on a proper registration even if cruising territorial waters only.

Facts to consider before registering a yacht

  • Technical specification (Manufacturer, make)
  • Where will the vessel be used?
  • Who will use the yacht?
  • Is it a new or pre-owned yacht?
  • Is all paperwork available and OK?
  • VAT paid or not (EU clients only)?
  • Any asset protection required?
  • Residence of owner(s)?
  • Will the vessel be financed?

How and where to register?

Private registration Pro
  • Simple (just a few countries)
  • Suitable for very small vessels
  • Only in country of residence
  • Ownership difficult to proof
  • Marine mortgage not possible
  • Full liability of owners
  • No asset protection
  • Complicated paperwork
  • VAT charged for EU residents
  • Paperwork when selling
  • Local regulation might be strict
  • Charter not allowed
Corporate structure Pro
  • Choice of Flag
  • Fast registration
  • Full asset protection available
  • Full proof of title
  • Full register of mortgage
  • Tax savings possible
  • Lower costs for crew etc.
  • Selling the vessel is easy
  • Less regulations
  • Low registration costs
  • Charter possible
  • Not for vessels below 12m length
This comparison makes clear why the majority of Mega Yachts are owned by companies rather than individuals and why they all fly a flag of convenience. Futuramax provide a full range of company formation and administration services in most well known onshore and offshore jurisdictiones. For yacht owners these entities can be tailor-made in light of yachting requirements as specified by the client.

Documents required for a yacht registration

  • Builder's Certificate (new vessels only)
  • Bill of Sale (for Pre-owned vessels)
  • Proof of title / ownership
  • Survey / Tonnage Measurement Certificate
  • Insurance certificate (some jurisdictions)

New vessels:

Make sure you have the required survey or tonnage measurement certificate available. This can be obtained from one of the recognized classification societies below:

Finance and Insurance

If you need to finance your vessel, check with the marine mortgage company if they accept a foreign vessel registration. While not mandatory in most jurisdictions, finance companies always insist on proper insurance and again not all insurance companies will accept foreign registered vessels. Futuramax's new vessel registration service deals with all registration matters including obtaining the survey. We are not licensed to provide you with financial or insurance advice, but we can refer clients to a network of external experts such as financial advisers and insurance brokers if required.

Used vessels

If you buy a yacht which was previously registered in another country, make sure you receive the certificate of deletion issued by the this ship register. One of the most crucial things is to check that the vessel is free of liens or encumbrances. Being in business since 9 years we sometimes wonder what motivates intelligent people to spend a considerable amount of money on vessels with incomplete documentation. Our pre-owned vessel registration service helps to avoid common problems and saves you from delays. It is advisable to contact us well before you consider buying a particular vessel or even negotiate a contract with the previous owner or a broker.

The EU VAT issue

EU based clients are charged VAT (Value added tax) on vessels they import into the EU. The VAT can account for up to 25% (depending on the EU country you are based in) on top of the purchase price if you register the yacht in your own name.
Vessels, that spend more than 6 months in any calendar year cruising in EU waters, are also subject to VAT, no matter who owns such a vessel (even a non-EU resident may incur the VAT charge).
There are however solutions to avoid both scenarios under certain circumstances and extend the stay. Futuramax can refer clients to a network of external legal and tax experts who can advise you accordingly.