The Ultimate Guide on Where to Register Your Yacht or Vessel


Once you’ve purchased a yacht or other kind of ship, the next step is to register it with the appropriate maritime registries in your area. Of course, achieving this is going to present a unique set of obstacles, but with a bit of guidance and the assistance of the right professionals, you should have no problem completing this process within the span of a single day. Although the exact steps and requirements will vary depending on where you’re storing the yacht, the process is similar everywhere, and the tips found in the following guide can be applied on a universal basis:

Choose a Local Yacht Registration Provider

There are a fair amount of complexities and tedious tasks involved in registering a yacht or vessel, so the fastest, easiest, and safest way to handle it is too simple to outsource the registration duties to a company that specializes in this kind of service. It’s important that you select a provider with a solid local reputation and the necessary certifications and experience to accurately and expeditiously register your ship. For example, companies like yachtregistrationmalta.net offer yacht registration in Malta, so if you were trying to register a yacht in Malta then that might be an ideal starting point.

Using Ship Brokers to Facilitate the Process

If you’re planning on renting or leasing a yacht or vessel and you’re not sure how to handle the registration process in that scenario, the best course of action would be to go through shipbrokers to charter or purchase your vessel(s), as they’ll be able to provide professional assistance to prevent errors and streamline the process.

Harmony Marine Shipbrokers (HMS) is an example of a popular company that does just that, with direct access to more than 3,600 marine support vessels and an extensive global network of ship owners/sellers. It’s always best to compare ship brokers extensively before settling on a provider, recommends ship broker Carl from HMSbroker.

Resorting to Doing it Yourself

Registering your yacht or vessel independently is also an option, but be prepared to do some research and paperwork along the way. Your first step would be choosing between national registry or open registry. The latter will allow your ship to travel into other country’s maritime territories, whereas a national or traditional registry only covers your ship within the boundaries of its home country’ waters. Some jurisdictions will require a minimum of national registry while others will only require open registry for ships that plan on traveling internationally. Here are some other considerations to keep in mind if you’re going to be handling ship registration on the DIY basis:

  • Vessels that are more than 15 years old must be registered along with a Status Report that may need to be reviewed by a marine safety board.
  • Be prepared to assess and pay the necessary registration fees.
  • There may also be applicable annual fees that need to be paid in order to keep the ship’s registration up-to-date

The Importance of Proper Ship Registration

As mentioned, registering your ship is necessary if you want to travel into foreign waters, and in some jurisdictions, the ship must be added to the local registry even if it will only be used in local waters. Plus, ship registration is an essential step in documenting your rightful and legal ownership of the vessel.

After registering your vessel it will fly the flag of the country where it’s registered in order to specify the vessel’s national origin to maritime authorities. Thus, without proper ship registration, your yacht or vessel will be confined to national waters, which can be quite restrictive in some countries that don’t possess extensive maritime space. Furthermore, possessing proper registration ensures that you’ll never run into any problems regarding proof of ownership.

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