The Malta Commercial Yacht Code offers owners and operators specific regulations catered for each sector taking into account particular considerations in relation to design, operational and safety requirements. Depending on their intended use, yachts can be registered under the Malta Flag either as a private pleasure yacht or as a commercial yacht.
i. Private Pleasure Yachts
In terms of the Merchant Shipping Act, the registration of pleasure yachts of 6 metres and over, is normally done in two stages, the Provisional Registration followed by Permanent Registration.
Initially, pleasure yachts are registered provisionally with the Merchant Shipping Directorate requiring the presentation of basic documentation for the issuance of a provisional certificate of registration. Provisional registration lasts for six months, during which period further documentation would need to be presented for Permanent Registration. The six-month period of Provisional Registration may be extended for a further six months if so required. Provisional registration will then be followed by permanent registration where further documentation is necessitated.
Once the yacht is permanently registered, the Certificate of the Malta Registry is renewable on an annual basis against the payment of an annual fee payable to the Malta Register. The effective date of renewal is the date of initial registration and not the date of permanent registration.
ii. Commercial Yachts
Yachts used for commercial purposes are registered as commercial yachts with the Maltese Commercial Yacht Register. Commercial Yachts must be 15 metres in length or more.
Different classes of yachts that are considered for commercial registration include:
- Yachts in commercial use of not less than 15 metres in length and not more than 24 metres.
- Superyachts in commercial use of more than 24 metres in length and less than 500 gross tonnes.
- Superyachts in commercial use of more than 24 metres in length and 500 gross tonnes and over but less than 3000 gross tonnes.
The registration procedure of commercial yachts is very similar to the registration procedure of private pleasure yachts. However, yachts used for commercial purposes are registered with the Maltese Commercial Yacht Register and must additionally comply with the Commercial Code Yacht. Different levels of safety standards depend on the size and gross tonnage of the vessel.