With a favourable registration framework and expertise in serving commercial and private yachts, Michelle Dodsworth explains why Guernsey is a hotspot for yacht services.
As a crown dependency, Guernsey has a very reputable yacht registry. The Guernsey Register of British Ships operates autonomously with regulatory oversight provided by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Guernsey-registered yachts are entitled to diplomatic protection, British consular assistance and Royal Naval protection (dependent on the nature of the threat and difficulty arising). As the Guernsey register is a member of the coveted ‘Red Ensign Group’ of British ship registries, its yachts enjoy the high standards associated with flying the prestigious red ensign flag.
Guernsey has some unique qualities when it comes to registering a yacht, making it a top choice destination for yacht owners. Registration of a vessel on 'Part I' of the Merchant Shipping (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2002 gives legal title to the vessel, recognition as a British ship and enables a marine mortgage to be registered on the vessel if needed, not unlike having a mortgage on a property on the Land Registry.
A yacht is divided into 64 shares and in order to qualify for registration, the majority of shares in a vessel (33 of the 64) must be owned either by a British subject or a company registered in and having its principal place of business in a British crown dependency or British overseas territory. Foreign nationals may own up to 31 shares in a vessel, provided that the remainder of the shares are in 'qualified ownership'.
Rather than hold the yacht in their own personal name, most yacht owners use a company instead. This protects them from any personal liability should there be any accidents or claims.
With a long maritime history and extensive professional expertise in providing services to commercial and private vessel owners, Guernsey is an excellent choice for owning and operating a yacht. It also acts as a prime location for clients wishing to import their yachts into the European Union.
Professionals at Equiom Guernsey have been serving the yachting sector for more than 40 years and we are recognised for our customs efficiency and compliance with current regulations.