A yacht, whether used on a commercial or private basis, is a significant investment and important considerations need to be taken with regard to ownership, registration, and management.

Most advisors recommend that such a high value personal asset should not be held in the personal name of its beneficial owner, but instead that ownership is placed into a Special Purpose Vehicle, such as a company.

Fiduciarycan liaise on behalf of a client with agents or brokers to assist in preparing documentation to transfer the title and successfully complete either a purchase or sale.

National yacht registries generally accept yachts that belong to their own citizens. However, any British Citizen, British Overseas citizens, EU or EEA nationals or companies registered within the EU or EEA may register a vessel in Gibraltar, provided they have a majority interest in the vessel’s ownership.

The Gibraltar Registry is open to all of these categories, as long as they have a locally resident representative person, or if they opt for a corporate ownership.A Gibraltar corporate structure is one of the most common ways of registering and owning a vessel. Every corporate structure has a legal personality and, consequently, a nationality, residence or domicile that is unrelated to that of their beneficial owner. Registering your vessel through a corporate structure in an appropriate jurisdiction comes with several advantages such as limited liability, level of confidentiality, and transfer of ownership.

Many yacht owners and individuals in the process of purchasing a yacht are unaware of the benefits of establishing ownership of a vessel through a corporation, opposed to personal ownership. If the yacht is involved in an accident and a claim made against it, the beneficial owner can protect their other personal assets since, in the unlucky event of a claim, any liability would be limited only to the value and assets of the company.

The transfer of ownership,when held via a corporate entity, is straightforward and it is achieved by simply transferring the shares of the company, rather than the registration itself, at the Registry. Owning and operating a yacht through a company will allow the owner to enjoy privacy as their name is kept off the register. Also, the potential future sale of the vessel will be a much easier process with minimum costs since changing the ownership of a vessel will only imply a simple transfer of the shares in the company avoiding the expensive and protracted procedures required at the registry.

Registering a yacht in the name of a company as opposed to an individual will also enable the passing of assets on to owner’s heirs without liability to estate duties or the pre-established inheritance tax.

We can liaise with brokers, agents, and institutions and will arrange for all the necessary documentation to successfully register a vessel or to transfer the title and complete a purchase or sale on your behalf.