Yacht Registration Under The British Flag

Yacht Registration Under The British Flag

Background Information To Procedures And Requirements For The Registration Of A Vessel Under The British Flag

The following persons and entities qualify to register a yacht in Gibraltar under Part 1 of the British Registry:

  1. British citizens and corporations;
  2. British Overseas Territories citizens and corporations;
  3. Persons who under the British Nationality Act 1981, are British subjects;
  4. Persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986, are British Nationals (Overseas);
  5. Commonwealth citizens and corporations;
  6. Nationals and corporations of an EEA State;
  7. Citizens of the following “Approved” countries:
    a) Argentina; (b) Aruba; (c) Bahrain; (d) Brazil; (e) the Canary Islands; (f) China; (g) the Faroe Islands; (h) Haiti; (i) Israel; (j) Japan; (k) Liberia; (l) Madeira; (m) the Marshall Islands; (n) Monaco; (o) Panama; (p) South Korea; (q) Switzerland; (r) Suriname; (s) the United Arab Emirates; and (t) the United States of America.
    *Approved countries as defined in Schedule 9 of the Gibraltar Merchant Shipping (Ship Registration) Regulations 1997

The following persons and entities qualify to register a yacht under the British Flag under Part 1 at a UK mainland port:

  1. British citizens;
  2. British Overseas Territories citizens;
  3. Persons who under the British Nationality Act 1981, are British subjects;
  4. Persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986, are British Nationals (Overseas);
  5. Nationals of an EEA State resident in the UK.

Memo On Vat

We can confirm that any vessel being registered in Gibraltar is guaranteed that no VAT will be levied upon its registration. However, this does not mean that Gibraltar Registered vessels are exempted from paying VAT if they are operated by EU nationals sailing in EU waters (only)!

If the above circumstances apply, it would certainly contribute to one’s peace-of-mind if VAT were to be paid on the vessel, and if the VAT receipt were to form part of the vessel’s papers. The reason for this is simply that VAT is likely to be levied against any vessel that spends more than 18 months at a time in EU CCT (Common Customs Tariff) waters, (regardless of whether the vessel is registered in Gibraltar or any other non-CCT port). Given that VAT only becomes payable on a vessel when it is first bought from a Builder or imported into the EU and not on any subsequent re-sale it may be useful, if only for re-sale purposes, to be able to prove that VAT had already been paid on it.

Summary Of Requirements And Procedures For The Registration Of A Vessel Under The British Flag

In order to secure the registration of a vessel in the name of a Gibraltar company, we would require you to supply us with the following:
  1. A Bill of Sale in a format compliant with the Gibraltar Yacht Registry requirements. This document is to be signed by the vendor of the vessel before a Notary Public, a British Consul or a Commissioner of Oaths, (please note that we are Registered Commissioners for Oaths in Gibraltar).
    N.B. In the case of a new vessel, if we are provided with the original Builder’s Certificate and the original invoice made out by the Builder in favour of the company that is to act as the vessel’s registered owner, it may well be possible to dispense with the need for the Bill of Sale.
  2. In the case of a new vessel, either the original Builder’s Certificate or a Notarised copy of the same.
  3. In the case of an older vessel, please provide us with:
    • A copy of the vessel’s current Certificate of Registration.
    • Copies of all Bills of Sale tracking the ownership of the vessel from the Builders Yard to its current ownership.
    • A copy of the passport of the previous owner who signed the Bill of Sale to sell the vessel to your Company’s name.
    • A Deletion Certificate from its present Registry so that it may be able to seek registration under the British Flag.
  4. Confirmation of the Port and the name of the vessel that is to be registered.
  5. A Measurement and Tonnage Survey to be conducted by any one of the following Classification Societies:
    • Bureau Veritas
    • Lloyds of London
    • Germanischer Lloyd
    • American Bureau of Shipping
    • Det Norske Veritas
    • RINA
    • The YBDSA

The first step in securing the registration of a vessel in under the British Flag in the name of a Company, should be the setting-up of the company itself which can then be named on the Builders Certificate or in the Bill of Sale as the Purchaser of the vessel.

The next step would be to obtain a Measurement and Tonnage Survey Certificate for the vessel from any one of the recognised Classification Societies named above, or have the existing data from a Builders Certificate or an EU Registry re-calculated to conform to British Flag standards. Once all of the conditions listed above have been met, then the registration of the vessel itself is a formality by comparison.

Costs Of Registration Of A Vessel Under The British Flag

We can confirm that our total costs for processing the registration of a vessel under the British Flag, applying for a Radio Licence in its name, and acting as Registered Agent for the vessel for the first 12 months would be GBP £850 assuming that we were not required to assist in arranging a Measurement and Tonnage Survey for the vessel (which would involve additional costs).

Yacht Insurance

FORM-A-CO (GIBRALTAR) LIMITED will be pleased to assist with placing yacht insurance proposals at competitive rates through major insurance companies.

All costs appearing in this package are subject to review on a periodic basis and FORM-A-CO (GIBRALTAR) LIMITED reserves the right to amend fees for this service without prior notice.


  • Suite 4, 2nd Floor The West Wing Montarik House 3 Bedlam Court Gibraltar GX111AA
  • formaco@formaco.gi
Whats New

See if there have been any changes since last year’s Gibraltar Government Budget resulting in any amendments to laws or procedures. Form-A-Co stays on top of these changes and provides regular updates here.

As we progress as a company that is intimate with government legislation and corporate requirements, we will keep you updated as and when things change

Jonathan's Bio


FORM-A-CO (GIBRALTAR) LIMITED was founded in 1989 to conduct the business of Company Formation and administration and all ancillary services. Jonathan’s role from the outset was to serve as the firm’s Manager, creating its product line and devising its services. Since that date, Jonathan has overseen the evolution of the business as the firm’s Managing Director to incorporate Trust and Marine administration into its range of products, and steering it through the various compliance and regulatory challenges arising from the application of Financial Services Regulation in Gibraltar as from 1993, with the establishment of the Financial Services Commission itself.To this day, Jonathan’s role is to oversee the management of the firm’s Company Formation and Trust Administration services (through FORM-A-TRUST (GIBRALTAR) LIMITED), and the incorporation of small businesses in Gibraltar to service the local economy, whilst retaining executive responsibility for all compliance and regulatory led initiatives for the firm. 

  • Over 31 years working in Gibraltar’s Financial Services industry as Managing Director of a firm which is duly licensed by the Financial Services Commission to conduct Company Management and Trust Administration services. 
  • Registered with the Supreme Court to serve as a Commissioner for Oaths in Gibraltar. 
  • Licensed by the Financial Services Commission to provide Directorship services as an approved individual. 
  • Approved by the Financial Services Commission to serve as an EIF (Experienced Investor Fund) Director. 
  • Member of the Gibraltar Advisory Board of TFO Tax Strategies Limited – a Manchester-based business dedicated to wealth management and tax planning structures.
Charle's Bio


Charles joined FORM-A-CO (GIBRALTAR) LIMITED in 2012 after 30 years in the banking sector. He was responsible for the creation and development of Trust businesses at  Lloyds TSB  Bank Plc  and at SG Hambros  Bank & Trust. 

Charles is a Director of FORM-A-CO (GIBRALTAR) LIMITED with particular responsibility for  the  Trust Administration services (through FORM-A-TRUST (GIBRALTAR) LIMITED) as well as client relationships.

Charles brings an array  of skills and experience to the business and holds appointments in listed Companies.