We use cookies for statistical purposes.

Our Articles

Best Country to Register a Yacht

Best Country to Register a Yacht

Purchasing a yacht is a form of investment that can be subject to additional expenses once the vessel starts sailing and the owner needs to pay registration fees and taxes. Investors can create an offshore strategy for their investments in vessels just as much as they plan for offshore company formation. 

We list some of the best countries to register a yacht and, as many foreign investors are interested in setting up a Cayman Islands company, it is understandable that this location will appear as a preferred location for vessel registration. 

The Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands incorporation is a simple process and many foreign investors choose to open their business here, compared to other offshore centers. 

Investing in various types of assets can seem simple for many entrepreneurs, however, buying a yacht is an international investment by nature: the vessel will sell international waters and will benefit from being registered in a country that is recognized internationally for its advantages. 

The Cayman Islands is the best country to register a yacht for the following reasons:

  • accessibility: the Cayman Islands have three ports, out of which the main one of the Port of George Town.
  • law: the Merchant Shipping Law, revised in 2016, allows for the registration of many types of yachts.
  • Red Ensign Group: the Cayman Islands are part of this group and this means that the ship is protected by the British Royal Navy. 
  • time: ship registration in the Cayman Islands is a fast process and owners can even hasten the process when they pay a special fee. 
  • no restrictions: there are no nationality restrictions or rules for the nationality of the crew master; he does need to have adequate qualifications. 

The British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands offer similar advantages to investors in terms of taxation. Investors who are interested in Cayman Islands company formation will know that the BVI also has favorable policies for offshore company formation. 


For those who wish to register under a European flag, the Maltese ship registry is a good choice because of the EU compliant legislation and protection. Moreover, the country is subject to clear mortgage laws and low registration costs and the flag is well perceived around the world. 

Marshall Islands

This is one of the largest registries in the world and vessels can be registered for one year or three-year programs. The ship can be registered within 24 hours and when registered here, a U.S. cruising permit can also be obtained.


A favorite among those who wish to register their vessel in Africa as the country is one of the first zero-tax jurisdictions here. There are no restrictions on the nationality of the ship crew or on the country of construction of the vessel. 

Choosing the flag for your vessel

As stated above, many boat owners will choose to register their vessel in a jurisdiction with low taxes, such as the Cayman Islands. Some of the issues to consider when choosing a flag for the yacht are the following:

  1. Taxes: it is important to verify the taxation policy for registering the boat according to the category, type, and other criteria. 
  2. Identity: the vessel will carry the flag as part of its identity and this can speak of the owner’s standards.
  3. Responsibility: vessels that are registered under the flag of a state fall onto the responsibility of the state, particularly when the vessel operates in high seas.
  4. Policies: once registered under a particular flag, the yacht will be subject to the policies applicable in that jurisdiction, as well as any other relevant legal requirements.

These are just some of the issues that may determine investors to choose one jurisdiction over another when registering their yacht. 

In most cases, investors who open a Cayman Islands exempted company and make a vessel purchase will also choose to register this vessel with the local Cayman flag. 

The Cayman Islands flag is a popular one, as highlighted by the following numbers for the end of 2018:

  • there were 2,215 registered vessels;
  • out of these, 1,897 were pleasure vessels and 318 were commercial ones;
  • the Cayman Islands fleet (vessels under the flag) grew by 8.5%.

As per a statement issued by the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, the country is recognized as a leader in regulatory and advisory services for vessels and also for its technical excellence. 

Investors who are interested in Cayman Islands incorporation and who also wish to register a vessel after or before they open a company can contact us. Our team will be able to assist investors during the incorporation procedure and also with the steps required to reserve a vessel name and complete the registration with the Shipping Registry.