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Top 5 Yacht Registration Countries


Owning a yacht is a big achievement by anyone’s standards. It shows that you have reached a certain echelon of success in life, and it’s definitely an accomplishment to be proud of.

However, owning a yacht comes with certain responsibilities that you have to fulfill before you can enjoy the incentives, and one of those essential responsibilities is registering your yacht. An important consideration to make before you register your yacht is the country in which you’ll be registering.

Here’s a list of the best countries for yacht registration around the world for you to consider:

1. The Cayman Islands

The beautifully picturesque Cayman Islands are a firm favourite among pleasure yacht owners, as they offer a reliable and comprehensive registration that dates back to the year 1903, and a yacht registered in the Cayman Islands automatically becomes a British ship as the island forms part of the Red Ensign Group that’s protected by the British Royal Navy.

The three registration ports of the Cayman Islands utilize the recently revised Merchant Shipping Law to ensure efficient registration, and the best part about this progressive law is that it caters to all types of boat registrations, including the registration of ships that are still under construction, provisional registration, interim registration, and even bare-boat or demise charter registration.

During the registration process, you’ll also have access to directorship services, banking facilities, a tax neutral registration, and the freedom to choose your crew and captain without worrying about adhering to a particular nationality as is the case in some other countries.

With satellite offices in countries like London, Tokyo, Cannes, Fort Lauderdale, Singapore and Athens, the Cayman Islands registry can service you from practically anywhere in the world, and you’ll get a special cruising licence to freely cruise the US waters with little to no restrictions.

2. Liberia

If you’ve got a large ship, then Liberia is where you want to register it. Not only does the Liberian Yacht Registration (LYR) make for a zero-tax environment, but it welcomes all nationalities, while accommodating over 12% of global ship registrations.

You’ll also be glad to know that the LYR is well-known for offering excellent quality service on a 24/7 basis, with a focus on ensuring safety, efficiency and innovation so amazing that it’s earned the country a nod from both the U.S. Coast Guard and International Maritime Organisation.

This means that if you register your yacht in Liberia, it will be accepted in many countries around the world, including EU countries like Germany and the UK.

The LYR accepts vessels under construction, offshore vessels, pleasure yachts, trading vessels and ships that are currently being relocated to a different flag.

As a winner of The Maritime Services Award, the LYR is recognized as an exceptional service provider that has contributed greatly to the maritime industry of the Americas.

3. The Netherlands

Another favourite among pleasure yacht owners, the Netherlands is well-known for its no-nonsense but easy-going approach, which makes for a fast and efficient registration process.

Usually, all you have to bring is your passport and proof of ownership of the boat being registered, and they won’t ask to inspect your boat or anything like that, so the process is usually completed in three days max for both EU and international clients.

However, if you’re of the latter variety, then it might help to register a UK Ltd. in your name to make the process easier, and that’ll cost you around 350 Euro the first time, and then 250 Euro per year to maintain it.

4. Cyprus

Cyprus is ranked number 10 among the best countries in which to register a pleasure yacht. The country’s registry offers the lowest registration rates in Europe, and they’ve got satellite offices in places like New York, Brussels, London, Hamburg and may others around the world.

Similarly to Liberia, Cyprus is white-listed on the Tokyo and Paris MoUs, which gives your boat a stamp of safety and quality.

5. Malta

Being one of the biggest and most attractive islands in the world, it’s no surprise that Malta offers one of the best yacht registries in the world.

The country offers very competitive yacht registration fees and is known for their strict compliance to EU legislation, which they’ll make clear to you when you go into their offices to register your yacht.

Once your yacht has been registered under the Maltese flag, you can fly it high knowing that you won’t be liable to any VAT tax when riding on the high seas, and you’ll be under the protection of the British Royal Navy.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that non-EU or non-Swiss nationals are expected to hold their yachts under Maltese register company in order to register under the flag, but you can still choose the master and crew of your choice without any limitations in nationality.

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