The British Guernsey Vessel Register operates on a stand-alone basis, with regulatory oversight provided by the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Yachts registered in Guernsey are entitled to diplomatic protection, British consular assistance and Royal Naval protection (depending on the nature of the threat and the difficulties encountered). As the Guernsey Registry is a member of the coveted “Red Ensign Group” of UK Ship Records, its yachts enjoy the high standards associated with flying the prestigious red flag.
Guernsey has unique qualities when it comes to registering a yacht, making it a prime destination for yacht owners. The registration of a vessel in “Part I” of the Merchant Shipping Act 2002 (Bailiwick of Guernsey) confers legal title to the vessel, recognition as a British vessel and allows a maritime mortgage to be registered on the ship if necessary, much like having a mortgage on a property entered in the land register.
A yacht is divided into 64 shares and to be eligible for registration the majority of the shares in a vessel (33 out of 64) must be owned either by a British subject or by a company registered and having its principal place of business in a Dependency of the British Crown or British Overseas Territory. Foreign nationals can own up to 31 shares in a vessel, provided that the remainder of the shares are in “qualifying ownership”.
Rather than owning the yacht under their own name, most yacht owners operate a business instead. This protects them from any personal liability in the event of an accident or claim.
With a long maritime history and extensive professional expertise in providing services to commercial and private vessel owners, Guernsey is an excellent choice to own and operate a yacht. It is also a prime location for customers wishing to import their yachts into the European Union.
The professionals at Equiom Guernsey have been serving the yachting industry for over 40 years and we are known for our customs efficiency and our compliance with applicable regulations.