Protecting Your Boat...

  • Vessel Registration
  • Ownership structuring
  • Off-shore company & trust
  • Tax and VAT issues
  • Marine Mortgages

UK vessel registration – Pleasure craft and small ships can be registered on Part 1 of UK Ship Register or Part 3 of Small Ships Register. Contact YachtingLawyers to decide which registration option is best for you.

Although currently there is no legal requirement under English law for owners of yachts using their vessels for domestic purposes to be registered (although it may be required for insurance / marine mortgage purposes), there is a legal requirement under international law in respect of yachts going into foreign waters. So, if you are using your vessel in international waters we strongly recommend registering it.

Why register a vessel? – 5 good reasons to register your boat

  1. Evidence of title.
  2. It makes selling the boat much simpler as the seller can use registration to satisfy the buyer that he is the registered owner.
  3. Can be used as evidence to show the vessel is not encumbered.
  4. Confirms nationality of the vessel which is useful when travelling in international waters to be able to claim protection under the privileged British Red-Ensign flag.
  5. Can be used to raise finance on your vessel.

Contact YachtingLawyers, we would be delighted to discuss your options and register your vessel on your behalf.

Corporate structures – Depending on whether you are going to use your vessel for pleasure or operate it commercially as a business YachtingLawyers can advise you on the various options for owning and operating your vessel and the advantages and disadvantages of each. These may include:

  1. Limited liability partnerships – a useful vehicle to off-set losses against gains and personal income.
  2. Private limited companies – these provide protection by limiting your liability, ring fencing your asset and can be a useful vehicle to raise investment.
  3. Off-shore companies and trust structures – depending on how and where the vessel is going to be operated, using an off-shore structure to own and operate a vessel will allow you to take advantage of some of the low tax regimes that many of the off-shore jurisdictions have to offer. See our Offshore Structuring for Yachts Guide. Using an offshore structure may also be beneficial for reasons of anonymity & confidentiality and inheritance & wealth planning issues. YachtingLawyers have long-standing contacts in the off-shore world and we are able to facilitate the setting up of off-shore trusts and off-shore companies. We would be pleased to talk you through early considerations to think about if you were considering off-shore structuring, and we can deal with the whole process on your behalf, including any on-going administration requirements.

Tax & VAT considerations – Depending on how the vessel will be owned (privately or under a corporate structure) there will always be tax and VAT consequences, and these are issues which are always a primary concern when buying / selling / operating a boat. See our frequently asked questions on this issue. YachtingLawyers are on hand to guide you through the tax and VAT considerations associated with ownership, buying & selling and operating your vessel including advice on:

  • Temporary importation (applicable to non-EU nationals).
  • VAT – EU and Non-EU considerations.
  • VAT rates in EU.

Take a look at our FAQs Yachting Tax & VAT Guide.

Registering mortgages & charges – If the vessel is registered on the UK Ship Register, you are able to register any interest you have against the vessel as a mortgage or charge. You may be a marine finance institution or marina which is owed outstanding mooring fees by a berth holder for example. Either way contact YachtingLawyers for advice and we can make an application to register a charge on your behalf.

Discharging mortgages – Similarly, if you have bought or sold a vessel which is subject to a marine mortgage (or other type of charge) you will want to ensure that once the mortgage or charge has been satisfied, it is discharged from the register. Contact YachtingLawyers about dealing with discharges on your behalf.

Insurance – Taking out insurance for your vessel is the best way to protect your boat. Read the YachtingLawyers Boating Insurance Guide and contact us to discuss early considerations when taking out insurance.