Malta Yacht Registration

| 08 Oct 2015

Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates CCMalta default banner


Malta Yacht Registration is a very expeditious straightforward process, which offers numerous of potential benefits and appealing incentives to yacht owners. This being conducive to making Malta Yacht Registration as one of the most popular processes resorted to in Europe.

Malta is ideal for yacht registration since it is the largest maritime registry in Europe and the 6th largest in the world.

 Malta`s success in the maritime industry is primarily due to two main pillars:

(1) The reputability of its flag and register. 

Malta `s strong maritime tradition, due to Malta`s topographical location in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, has bestowed a certain degree of reputability onto Malta Yacht Register and to the Maltese flag. Malta Yacht Registration provides for a simplistic procedure for both registration and deletion of vessels including competitive registration and renewal fees. It also guarantees a 24-hour service to deal with urgent matters.

Malta maritime flag is one which is widely known and respected by most of the port authorities across the world. Moreover, there is a flag state inspectorate to ensure adherence to international standards and there are no restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew serving on the Maltese vessels. This guarantees a certain degree of flexibility.

(2) Tax Haven: Possibility of fiscal planning and VAT payment minimization.

Malta Yacht Registration provides both securities for financiers and incentives including favourable tax regimes in certain particular scenarios, even potentially down to 5.4%.


Malta Yacht Registration : Types of Registered Vessels 

Any type of marine vessels, be it large cruise lines, super tankers or private yachts may be registered through Malta Yacht Registration. Yachts, depending on their intended use, can be registered via the Malta Yacht Registration, under the Maltese flag, as either private pleasure yachts or as a commercial yacht.

Through Malta Yacht Registration, yachts may be registered as either Private Pleasure Yacht or Commercial Yacht.

The Merchant Shipping Directorate considers;

  1. Private pleasure registered yacht – as any pleasure yacht, of 6 metres in length or more, which does not carry passengers for reward and is not engaged in trade. Principally it must be used for the sole purpose of the owner.
  2. Commercial registered yacht – as a yacht, of 15 metres in length or more but not more than 3000 gross tonnes, which do not carry cargo, carries not more than 12 passengers and is operated by the owner or body corporate owning the yacht for commercial use.

Malta Yacht Registration 

Malta Yacht Registration, under the Maltese flag, occurs in two stages. Firstly, the vessel will be registered and issued with a provisional certificate of registration that is valid for six months and for which only a few documents are required to be filed with the Maltese Maritime Authority. During, the running of the provisional registration, all the required documents and certificates will have to be filed with the Maltese Maritime Authority and surveys taken place. When all of this is concluded, a certificate of registration will be issued by the Maltese Maritime Authority.

Surveys are generally undertaken by Maltese Government-appointed surveyors or alternatively by international classification societies which are recognised by the Maltese Maritime Authority.

Moreover, any yacht (pleasure or commercial) spending more than 6 months in any calendar year sailing in the EU VAT zone waters shall be liable to VAT in the place of effective importation, irrespective of its ownership. Upon payment of the said VAT, a yacht has the right to free movement throughout the entire EU VAT zone. Consequently, yacht owners must ensure that proof of VAT payment is always carried on board in order to obtain clearance from customs officials present in EU ports.

Why Malta?

Malta offers yacht marinas that are situated all over the island. Most marinas are equipped to satisfy all yachtsmen necessities including fuel bunkering, technical services for repairs, luxury on-site facilities and immediate access to other off-site facilities.

Malta Yacht Registration offers several advantages. To start with, the Maltese legal system has, through the ratification of most of the IMO international conventions, devised a very suitable and highly competent legal structure to cater for an efficient registration process.

All of the above is complimented by other factors such as low yacht registration costs as well as low tonnage tax.


Why Chetcuti Cauchi?

Chetcuti Cauchi enjoys a sterling reputation in the areas of maritime practice, in the handling of legal and tax matters relevant to the structuring and planning of personal wealth and personal interests and business worldwide.  The Transport Law Practice Unit, within the firm, has been over the past years assisting clients who want to enjoy the benefits offered by the Maltese legislation , as outlined above, in the areas of yacht and ship registration. The firm registers an average of 3 to 4 new vessels a month and has a large base of collaborators including foreign law firms, technical advisors and ship building companies which represent the main stream of client engagements.Moreover Chetcuti Cauchi Advocate`s offices in Malta are within minutes` drive from Malta`s shipping registry and thus increasing efficiency. 

Chetcuti Cauchi was ranked as Band 1 for Shipping: Yachting – Malta by Chambers & Partners, confirming it as a leader amongst maritime law competitors.

The maritime law practice group at Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates was recognised for its

[g]rowing shipping team within a larger transport law practice group. Particulary active in yachting, covering issues such as yachting financing, registration, purchase and leasing. Benefits from its international presence with an office in London. (Chambers & Partners – 2015 Europe edition)


Request More Information

Please send me legal and other updates

Key Contacts

Dr Charlene Mifsud

Partner, Corporate & Commercial

+356 2205 6298

Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker

Senior Partner, Corporate, Tax & Immigration

+356 22056122

Related Videos
Related Events
Related Industry Groups
Related Practice Groups