Guidelines issued on Commercial Yacht to Pleasure Yacht changeover

The Commercial Yacht – Pleasure Yacht Changeover Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) were issued by Transport Malta’s Merchant Shipping Directorate on 2 September 2021.

The aim of the Guidelines is to shed light on the process involved in the changing of the registration status of a yacht registered under the Maltese flag from pleasure to commercial (and vice versa). To this end, the Guidelines adopt a step-by-step approach which serves to assist yacht owners and managers during this conversion process and thereby, making this process simpler and clearer for them.

It is noteworthy that there are no limits to the number of changes to the status of a yacht registered under the Maltese flag. Neither is there any limit imposed on the duration of change of the status thereof. Therefore, while the requirement of adherence with international regulations and highest standards stemming from the Malta Commercial Yacht Code remains unchanged, the Guidelines afford a considerable degree of flexibility to Malta flag yacht owners and yacht managers in this regard.

This notwithstanding, the Guidelines strongly recommend that yachts which change from a commercial status to a pleasure status maintain the same survey and certification standards as required for Commercial Yachts. In doing so, yacht owners and yacht managers would be ensuring a smooth and expedient changeover process.

The Guidelines also emphasise that although a change from a pleasure yacht status to a commercial yacht status is subject to the payment of a fee, multiple changes in status during the same year will not give rise to multiple charges. In fact, the Guidelines make it clear that the relevant fees would only be paid once in such scenario.

The introduction of the Guidelines by the Merchant Shipping Directorate and the clarity and explanation directed to yacht owners and yacht managers constitute a step forward in the yachting sector.

For further information please contact Kurt Portelli.