Malta Yacht Ownership Structures

Malta Pleasure Yacht Registration

Malta Pleasure Yacht Registration

The island nation of Malta has, since time immemorial, been wedded to the maritime sector. The geographic position of Malta in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, at the borderline between North Africa and Europe and halfway between the straits of Gibraltar and Suez has aided in making the country a natural interconnector and a hub for maritime activities. Yet, Malta offers more than a strategic location! 
Particularly, Malta is considered a world leader in the registration of pleasure yachts and super-yachts mainly due to logistical as well as legal advantages. The registry has maintained its positive reputation for its straightforward procedures for yacht registration, provisional registration of a pleasure yacht obtainable within one to three days. Whilst enjoying competitive registration and renewal fees, a twenty-four hour, seven days a week service is guaranteed, utterly useful in emergency situations. 
Having English as an official language, and being part of the European Union, renders the Maltese registration both efficient and effective. Malta is signatory to all major conventions issued by IMO, ILO and UN amongst others, and actively applies/ implements EU and international regulations and directives.

Country Highlights

FLAG: Largest Registry in Europe VESSEL REGISTRATION: 48 hours
REGISTRY GROSS TONNAGE: Over 57 Million                ACCESSIBILITY AND EMERGENCY: 24/7 Registry Services
COMPLIANT: In line with EU laws and internation conventions  FAST & SIMPLE: Straightforward Procedure

Legal Basis

Registration of pleasure yachts in Malta is regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act 1973 and subsidiary legislation enacted thereunder, which incorporates the majority of laws which regulate this sector. Based on Common Law, the Act has been amended several times to reflect changes in maritime trends, conventions and regulations. 
There are two main registries in Malta: 
• the Small Ship Registry and 
• the Merchant Shipping Directorate. 
Any vessel which is less than 24 metres in length employed solely in the navigation within the territorial waters of Malta is to be registered under the Small Ship Registry, whilst vessels registered within the Merchant Shipping Directorate are free to roam within international waters. 
On the regulatory side, Malta has a body of maritime laws that provide a solid, reputable and financier friendly environment, including: 
• the flexibility of catering for the needs of all types of vessels, from pleasure yachts to oil rigs, including vessels still under construction; 
• the absence of restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew engaged on Malta flagged vessels; and 
• a secure mortgage system, which has been greatly accepted by banks and financial institutions, therefore, facilitating the attainment of finance for yacht purchases. Maltese law provides for executive/administrative powers that mortgagees may resort to over the mortgaged vessel and the possibility to sell the vessel privately (not through sale by auction) in cases of default. Additionally, special protection is afforded to mortgagees and privileged creditors in the context of bankruptcy or insolvency of the owner of the vessel in that vessels are granted a special status being separate and distinct assets within the estate of their owner. This status allows any arrest or enforcement against the vessel by mortgagees or privileged creditors of maritime claims to proceed irrespective of the bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings.


  • Types: All Types of Yachts are Registrable
  • Allows Worldwide Few Requirements Navigation
  • Low Registration Costs
  • Few Requirements24/7 Registry Service
  • Crew: No Nationality Restrictions


  • Pleasure (non-commercial) Use
  • Eligible Owner: Maltese or International Owner
  • Proof of Ownership: Bill of Sale
  • Seaworthiness: Survey Report
  • Tonnage Tax Certificate: for +24m Yachts

Process & Timeline

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Key Contacts

Dr Charlene Mifsud

Partner, Corporate & Commercial

+356 2205 6298

Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker

Senior Partner, Corporate, Tax & Immigration

+356 22056122

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