A Guide to Foreign Vessel Registration

Foreign Vessel Registration

A foreign vessel is a vessel that is registered in a jurisdiction outside the country of residence. It is quite beneficial for vessels to get registered in the International Offshore Financial Centres (OFCs). There are plenty of such countries that offer the most business-friendly and fiscal regime. The top shipping registries are making new reforms to add features such as yacht registries and simplify the registration procedure to attract foreign nationals. There are also several exciting developments in the offshore sector and yacht registries over the last few decades. In this article, we'll have a look at the various aspects of offshore yacht registration and top jurisdiction suitable for vessel ownership.

What is Offshore Yacht Registration?

There are mainly four activities surrounding offshore vessels, i.e., ownership, registration, operation, and administration. It is suitable for an offshore vessel to be situated in more jurisdictions to achieve the best result. Therefore, it enables yacht owners in high-tax and non-maritime countries to register their vessels in a low-tax jurisdiction. It thus becomes more comfortable to operate them from their resident countries and enjoy various benefits that the offshore jurisdiction provides.

It is a suitable option to start an offshore company in a low-tax jurisdiction for your yacht that will provide you with insulation in the case of any legal troubles. In addition to yacht ownership, you can also conduct other activities such as container leasing and ship chartering.

Shipping registries are not just restricted to offshore countries. There are several high-tax countries that offer tonnage tax regimes. Under this regime, owners are charged in accordance with the tonnage of their fleets. They also run their registries, which, however, maybe a closed registry.

Best Jurisdiction To Register an Offshore Yacht

It is quite necessary to determine the right jurisdiction that will be in line with your requirements. You can choose a country by doing extensive research about its offshore laws, ship regulations, and various benefits associated with the jurisdiction. The following are some of the top jurisdictions for offshore yacht registration:

1. The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands yacht registration is a simple process. It is the primary reason why foreign investors select this jurisdiction when compared with other offshore locations. Investing in different types of assets in an offshore territory is convenient for business owners. However, an offshore yacht is an international investment opportunity that can be sold on international waters. Such vessels benefit from the offshore location, which is recognized by maritime authorities.

Cayman Islands Offshore Company Formation

The following are some of the reasons why the Cayman Islands should be your ideal choice for offshore yacht registration:

  • Lesser restrictions: There are lesser restrictions or rules for the foreign nationality of the crew. Also, there is no compulsion to have adequate qualifications.
  • Flexible offshore laws: The Merchant Shipping Law provides flexibility for registration of many different yachts.
  • Greater accessibility: The Cayman Islands consists of three ports, out of which the most popular one is the Port of George Town.
  • Time saver: Offshore yacht registration in the Cayman Islands is a quick process, and owners can even speed up the process by paying some extra fees.

2. The Bahamas

The Bahamas Maritime Organisation is an organization that administers the registry and supervises subsequent ship surveys through authorized inspectors. It ensures appropriate training and skill levels of the crew member of Bahamian offshore vessels. A foreign-owned yacht that is engaged in international trade is suitable for registration in The Bahamas. A foreign national, irrespective of nationality, is allowed to hold the direct title to a Bahamas registered yacht.

The Bahamas offshore IBC Guide

3. The British Virgin Islands

A yacht can be registered in the British Virgin Islands if half of its shares are owned by a BVI company. The following are some of the benefits of offshore yacht registration in the BVI:

  • Low cost of registration and easy management
  • Provides ideal structure for a yacht
  • Anonymity through offshore company registration
  • No tax on profits from the yacht
  • Low annual renewal cost
  • Easy to resell
  • No VAT on the purchase of your yacht
  • Access granted to all the ports

Offshore company formation in BVI


Foreign vessel registration can be quite beneficial for foreign nationals looking to operate or buy a yacht. The following documents are required to register your offshore yacht:

  • Certificate of manufacturer or deed
  • Certificate of cancellation, in case, if the yacht has already been registered in another jurisdiction
  • Certificate of compliance by an authorized surveyor

Foreign nationals who wish to register an offshore yacht can contact us to know more about offshore yacht registration. Our team will provide assistance for the incorporation procedure and help with the steps necessary to reserve a yacht name and registration with the Shipping Registry.