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Yacht Registration Procedure

Malta has become a Flag of choice for yachts and superyacht Owners – either registering as a pleasure yacht or Commercial Yacht.

Yacht registration procedures are similar to commercial vessels but are dependent on whether they are private/corporate ownership as well as for sole use (pleasure) or charter (commercial).

Commercial Yachts

The registration and operation of Maltese Commercial Yachts is regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act and a code of practice known as the Commercial Yacht Code (for yachts carrying 12 or less passengers).

A yacht owner wishing to register and operate as a Maltese commercial yacht must comply with the requirements contained in this Code. The Code is administered by Transport Malta which is the Government authority responsible for the registration of ships under the Malta flag.

The Commercial Yacht Code imposes standards of safety, pollution prevention and crew welfare which were developed with the relevant IMO Conventions, EU Directives and industry Standards in mind.

In addition to this Code Transport Malta Directorate introduced the new Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) which came into force on the 25th May 2021.  This relates to Passenger Yachts which carry between 13 and 36 Passengers (but not more than 200 persons), which do not carry cargo and which are engaged on international voyages.

Pleasure Yachts

Maltese law provides for a comparatively simple regime for the registration of yachts designated as ‘pleasure yachts’, therefore that are neither categorised as commercial nor racing, and are intended solely for private use.  There is considerable flexibility in the applicable regime, particularly for pleasure yachts which are smaller in size.

Malta’s strategic position is the natural advantage our island has when it comes to the registration of pleasure yachts.  At the borderline between Europe and North Africa, Malta is a hub for the maritime sector.

As a consequence Malta has gained a leading world-wide position in the registration of pleasure yachts through logistical advantages, but also through legal advantages.  The registration process is straight forward with a registration being obtainable within only three days.  Having English as our official language makes the process even faster and secure, not to mention that Malta is a member of the European Union.

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