Yacht registration 

The Firm assists clients with yacht registrations both under the Maltese flag and other jurisdictions. 


Maltese Yacht Registration 

Malta is one of the world’s largest superyacht registries. 

A yacht (pleasure or commercial use) may be registered under the Malta flag in the name of a company (of any nationality) or an individual (EU/EEA/ Swiss/UK nationals). Where the owner is a non-Maltese company or EU/EEA/Swiss/UK national, then a resident agent in Malta would need to be appointed to represent the ‘International Owner’ concerned with the Malta Registry of Shipping, and our Firm also offers support in this regard. 

Pleasure Yachts 

A yacht to be used for pleasure purposes may be registered under the Malta flag in a relatively quick time with a straightforward procedure. 

Commercial Yachts 

The 2020 Commercial Yacht Code (CYC) is a comprehensive code which regulates the registration of all commercial yachts starting from a minimum length of 15 metres, carrying not more than 12 passengers and being operated for commercial purposes. All yachts covered by the Code must be surveyed, certified and maintained in accordance with their respective category requirements. An initial commercial yacht survey and radio equipment inspection respectively must be carried out when a commercial yacht is joining the Malta flag for the first time. Upon satisfactory completion of the Initial Survey, the Registry of Shipping will issue the yacht with a Certificate of Compliance to trade as a “commercial yacht” is issued, valid for 5 years. 

The Small Commercial Yacht Code (sCYC) 2024

Transport Malta’s Merchant Shipping Directorate introduced the “Small Commercial Yacht Code” (sCYC) 2024 which entered into force on the 1 April 2024. The sCYC was developed following the increase in registration of commercial yachts of less than 24 meters. The sCYC allows for the consideration of specific deviations or exemptions on a case-by-case basis, accommodating the needs that different yachts might have depending on the nature of their operations.

The sCYC specifically covers commercial yachts more or equal to 12 meters in hull length and less than 24 meters in load line length (Article 2(8) ITC69), and which do not carry more than 12 passengers (‘Small Commercial Yachts”).
Small Commercial Yachts previously certified under the Commercial Yacht Code (CYC) now fall within the scope of the new sCYC. These yachts must be surveyed and certified in compliance with the sCYC by not later than their first renewal survey carried out on or after 1st June 2024. Upon satisfactory review of the reports by the Merchant Shipping Directorate, the yacht is issued with a ‘Small Commercial Yacht Certificate’.


The Firm also assists yacht owners with both pleasure and commercial registrations under non-Maltese flags. 

The Firm acts as the Designated Office in Malta of the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize and the Jamaican Ship Registry respectively, and also has a close working relationship with other international flag administrations including Marshall Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Poland and Barbados. 

Malta VAT treatment of yachts 

Our Firm advises clients with respect to the VAT treatment of yachts which are supplied in Malta or used and operated in Malta. 

Reduced VAT rate applicable to short term leases of yachts 

With effect from 1 January 2024, there will be a reduced rate of Malta VAT (12% instead of 18%) on short term leases of yachts in Malta pursuant to Legal Notice 231 of 2023. The rate of 12% will apply on the ‘hiring of a pleasure boat to a person according to an agreement for any term or part of a term that, when added to the term of a previous hiring, of the same goods or of other goods of the same kind, to the said person during the previous twelve (12) months ending on the date of the beginning of the existing hiring, does not exceed five (5) weeks.’ 

Yachting related matters including yacht importation via Malta / Yacht finance / new building contracts / sale and purchase contracts / crew social security 

Our Firm also assists clients with yacht importation via Malta, second hand yacht sale and purchase, advice with respect to new build yachts and re-fit contracts as well as yacht finance; support with mortgage registrations in favour of financiers; and setting up of shipping organisations and advice on various regulatory issues such as advice with respect to social security of seafarers engaged aboard Malta flagged vessels and registration with the authorities in Malta for social security of EU seafarers and non-EU seafarers having a right of residence in the EU employed aboard Malta flagged yachts.