Having been in existence for over 100 years, the Cayman Registry (formerly known as the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry) is an ideal choice for those individuals looking to register vessels in an efficient tax neutral jurisdiction with a Registry staffed by a worldwide team of Shipping professionals with many years of experience in the world of international shipping. With a full range of ownership methods available, it is possible to find a structure to suit almost every person or entity wishing to register their vessel in the clear blue waters of the Cayman Islands.


Aside from the issues mentioned above, registration in the Cayman Islands has the following advantages (amongst others):-

An established stable system of democracy with a solid legal and financial infrastructure in place, including several law firms specializing in ship registration.

An efficient tax-neutral offshore jurisdiction which offers major lenders, financial providers and corporate services.

Modern maritime legislation based on UK common law providing first rate mortgage protection provisions for mortgagees and vessel owners alike.

A full range of registration options including full, interim, provisional, under construction and demise charters.

Protection and assistance from the UK Royal Navy regardless of location and full British Consular services for all Cayman flagged vessels.


In order to flag a vessel, it is useful to seek the assistance of a professional on island to help with the application, but as a brief synopsis, the following steps are required:-

1. Establishing that the vessel qualifies for registration

This involves checking that the name of the vessel is available and that the safety record of the vessel is such that it can be registered in the Cayman Islands (the requirements for pleasure yachts in private use are less onerous than that for commercial vessels).

2. Establishing that the owner qualifies for registration

This involves providing evidence that the owner is bona-fide and qualified to own a vessel flagged in the Cayman Islands. To do this the individual must be either resident in the Cayman Islands or, if the vessel is owned by a corporation, the corporation must be registered in the Cayman Islands. Incorporating a company in Cayman is relatively quick and simple and can in most cases be done within a week.

As an alternative, if the owner of the vessel in not resident in the Cayman Islands or is not a Cayman company, then the owner can appoint a representative person on island who will be the point of contact for the Cayman Registry.

3. Documents to be provided

Depending on the nature of the vessel and its size and use, certain documents will need to be provided. Your Cayman Islands representative will be able to provide a list of the required paperwork in each specific case.

Once registered, the vessel must be marked within 21 days. Such marking must include the vessel's port of registry, official number and net tonnage (if the vessel is 24 metres or over) or register tonnage (if less than 24 metres).


Fees are largely dependent on the services required and the tonnage of the vessel, but the fee for a basic registration range from US$400 for a vessel up to 150 gross tons to US$1200 for a vessel over 1500 gross tons.

After registration there is an annual tonnage fee payable every year which is once again based on the tonnage of the vessel, but starts at US$300 per annum.


If you are looking for a stable, efficient jurisdiction in which to flag any vessel from a pleasure yacht to a seagoing tanker, the Cayman Islands offer the infrastructure and services which you require at competitive rates and with a large professional support network which can make any registration painless and quick and which can provide all the support which you and your vessel will require.

Ian Jamieson is the head of shipping at Solomon Harris and can be contacted at The above is for illustrative purposes only and is not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.