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Yacht Registration

Introduction

Image of Gibraltar Red Flag

The Gibraltar Registry of Pleasure Yachts is a Category 1 Red Ensing British Port. It is a very popular registry offering the prestige of a British registry together with straightforward registration requirements and paperwork.

We offer yacht registration services and will guide you through the whole process. Yachts can be registered in the name of your Gibraltar company, your personal name or in the name of certain other legal entities.

We can also act as the Gibraltar registered agent of your yacht.

What Vessels can be Registered in Gibraltar?

Pleasure yachts of any size can be registered in the Gibraltar Registry of Pleasure Yachts.

Who Can Register in Gibraltar?

In practice the easiest way for a foreign national to register a vessel in Gibraltar is to use a Gibraltar company. This allows a person of any nationality to use the Gibraltar Registry of Ships or Registry of Pleasure Yachts and can also confer numerous tax advantages.

However, as of right, the following persons and entities qualify to register in Gibraltar as long as they are the owners of a majority share in the vessels:

  • British citizens, British Dependent Territories citizens, British overseas citizens, British subjects and British overseas nationals; persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986 are British Nationals (Overseas);
  • Citizens of the Republic of Ireland;
  • Citizens of and companies registered in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA);
  • Citizens of the following countries:- (a) Argentina; (b) Aruba; (c) Bahrain; (d) Brazil; (e) the Canary Islands; (f) China; (g) the Faroe Islands; (h) Haiti; (i) Israel; (j) Japan; (k) Liberia; (l) Madeira; (m) the Marshall Islands; (n) Monaco; (o) Panama; (p) South Korea; (q) Switzerland; (r) Suriname; (s) the United Arab Emirates; (t) and the United States of America;
  • Gibraltar Companies;
  • Foreign Maritime Entities (foreign entities which are authorised and have power to own and operate ships can under certain special circumstances qualify to register in Gibraltar).

Fast & High Quality Cost Effective Service

We are experienced in this field and we take care of all matters in connection with the registration of a yacht in Gibraltar. The actual registration procedures are very quick. Obtaining survey reports and certificates from classification societies can, however, take some time.

Prestige & Competitive Rates

Gibraltar is a fully fledged British Category 1 Registry with the same status as any other British Registry. Yacht registration charges are highly competitive. Yacht owners can, therefore, enjoy the prestige and advantages of registration in a Category 1 British Port whilst paying competitive rates.

Guide to Registering a Yacht

Name of Yacht & Declaration of Ownership

The first step is to submit a name for approval which is different to any other British registered vessel. We ask clients to submit three different names which can be confirmed within 24 hours and sometimes in the same day.

The Declaration of Ownership needs to be signed by the Director of the Company. This form will appoint our secretarial company as the registered agent of the yacht. Once we receive the original of this, we can complete and sign the application to register and all other forms required to register the yacht.

Evidence of title

We will need to submit evidence of title to the Yacht Registry.

If you are buying new directly from a shipyard we will need a builder’s certificate which will state for who the yacht is being built. If so, please make sure that when this is issued it contains the official stamp of the ship builders. Please ensure that the builder’s certificate is issued in your name.

If it is not issued in your name, please provide us with a copy so that we can draw up a bill of sale from the company/person named in the builder’s certificate to you.

If the yacht is currently registered, we will need an original certificate from its port of registry indicating that its registration has ceased. This is often known as a deletion certificate.

If the yacht is not new and it has never been registered before, the following documents must be provided:

  • a builder’s certificate;
  • an unbroken chain of bills of sale (or other suitable documents evidencing transfer of ownership) which proves who the current owner of the yacht is; be this a natural person or a legal entity.

For an older vessel or for one which has been registered before, the following must be provided:

  • a sequence of bills of sale tracing ownership either from the builder’s certificate onwards or for the last 5 years.
Survey & Classification Societies

Yachts under 24 metres

For yachts under 24 metres in length, a Tonnage Measurement Survey must be carried out either in Gibraltar by the Port Surveyor or by one of the approved classification societies listed below.

  • American Bureau of Shipping;
  • Bureau Veritas;
  • Det Norske Veritas;
  • Germanisher Lloyd;
  • Lloyds Register of Shipping;
  • Registrazione Internazionale Navale (RINA);
  • Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association;
  • The Society of Consulting Marine Engineers and Ship Surveyors; or
  • MECAL Limited.

Yachts over 24 metres (used exclusively for pleasure & recreational purposes)

For yachts over 24 metres in length to be used exclusively for pleasure and recreational purposes, an International Measurement Survey is required. This is different to and more extensive than a Tonnage Measurement Survey.

Any of the following classification societies can conduct such a survey:

  • American Bureau of Shipping;
  • Bureau Veritas;
  • Det Norske Veritas;
  • Germanisher Lloyd;
  • Lloyds Register of Shipping;
  • Registrazione Internazionale Navale (RINA); or
  • Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association.

Yachts over 24 metres (used for chartering)

For yachts of over 24 metres which will be used for chartering, different surveys and additional certificates may be required depending upon its size and tonnage and the number of passengers it will carry. More specific information will be provided upon request.

Super yachts (yachts over 24 metres in length)

Yachts of any size may be registered at the Gibraltar Yacht Registry provided that they are used exclusively for pleasure and recreational purposes.

Small vessels for commercial use

It is also possible to register a vessel for commercial use at the Gibraltar Yacht Registry provided that it is less than 24 metres in length. For such a registration, a surveyor form one of the approved classification societies listed below must also issue a Certificate for Small Vessels in Commercial use.

  • American Bureau of Shipping
  • Bureau Veritas
  • Det Norske Veritas
  • Germanisher Lloyd
  • Lloyds Register of Shipping
  • Registrazione Internazionale Navale (RINA)
Certificate of seaworthiness

If the yacht is over 15 years old, the surveyor will also need to issue a Certificate of Seaworthiness; both for pleasure yachts and for vessels in commercial use.

Carving & marking note

Once the Registry is satisfied that the yacht can be registered in Gibraltar, it will issue a carving and marking note which shows the official number and name which must be marked on the hull. The owner or the authorised officer may sign the carving and marking note if it is under 24 metres in length. If it is over, then the surveyor must sign it.

Radio call sign

All Gibraltar registered yachts have call sign letters starting with “ZD”. We can apply for this at the same time as we apply for registration.

Certificate of Registration (“Blue Book”) & Flag

Once the carving and marking note has been returned to the Registry a Certificate of Registration will be issued. We will send this to you together you with a Gibraltar Red Ensign flag.

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Any questions?

We have an approachable team who will be happy to help you.