Cayman Islands: Commercial Operation Of Cayman Islands Pleasure Yachts In The Caribbean And Certification Of Cayman Islands Pleasure Yachts Operating In US Waters

Last Updated: 5 July 2016
Article by John Wolf, Jennifer Reilly and Peter De Vere

The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry ("CISR") has issued a new alternative set of requirements for yachts that wish to operate commercially in the Caribbean under Shipping Notice No. 02/2016 Rev 1 (the "Shipping Notice").

This is welcome news as, pursuant to this Shipping Notice, yachts which are less than 500GT will more easily be able to operate commercially up to 60 nautical miles from a safe haven in the Caribbean Cruising Area (see the Appendix hereto for a list of the countries and territories included in this) (the "CCA").

Prior to the Shipping Notice, all yachts that operated commercially in the Caribbean were required to comply with The Code of Practice for Safety of Large Commercial Sailing and Motor Vessels (the "Large Yacht Code").  The Shipping Notice represents an alternative which some yachts may find easier to satisfy.


For a yacht to operate commercially under the Shipping Notice the yacht:

  1. must be less than 500GT;
  2. if between 300GT- 499GT, must be classed by a Classification Society recognised by the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry;
  3. if 299GT or less, must be built to the rules of a recognised Classification Society or recognised National or International standard;
  4. must have documented operational procedures covering all aspects of yacht operations and, if not classed, a documented planned maintenance system for all identified critical equipment;
  5. must hold a valid International Load Line Certificate issued in accordance with LY3 for a short range yacht (see below for more information);
  6. must be surveyed and certified by the CISR in accordance with Section 5 of the Shipping Notice; and
  7. must undergo annual surveys and a renewal survey every 5 years.

Yachts that meet these requirements will be issued with a Cayman Islands National Certificate valid for 5 years ("CINC-CCA").

At the owner's request, a compliance assessment survey can be undertaken by the CISR to ascertain what will be required for a yacht to qualify (charged on a time and expenses basis). The cost of this will be offset against the CISR's fees if the owner subsequently decides to proceed with a survey under the Shipping Notice.


Yachts which do not have an International Load Line Certificate may be able to obtain one by implementing "Equivalent Provisions" under the Shipping Notice. The CISR Survey Department should be contacted to establish the requirements in this regard.


Yachts issued with a CINC-CCA are restricted to:

  1. operating commercially up to 60 nautical miles from a safe haven in the CCA;
  2. operating in forecast or actual wind of up to and including Beaufort Force 6 and significant wave height up to and including 2 metres;
  3. operating commercially for up to 120 days in a 365 day period; and
  4. carrying a maximum of 12 passengers or guests whilst the yacht is at sea.


Yachts which operate commercially pursuant to the Shipping Notice will need to comply with the MLC (e.g. seafarers' employment agreements must be compliant and the requisite onboard complaints procedure and health insurance must be in place).  However, they will not have to complete a Document of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC).  Existing yachts constructed prior to 20 August 2013 do not need to comply with the construction requirements of MLC.


The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) now requires that all yachts over 300GT (as measured under the ITC) are certificated, regardless of registration type. Consequently, yachts registered as a 'Pleasure Yacht' are no longer exempt from this requirement.

Yachts that are registered as a 'Commercial Vessel' or voluntarily hold certification demonstrating compliance with SOLAS or Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY3) can use their existing certificates to comply with this new requirement.

Pursuant to the Shipping Notice, to allow yachts which do not already hold the required certification to meet this requirement, the CISR will now issue a Cayman Islands National Certificate ("CINC-PY") to eligible yachts which will be valid for 5 years.

To be eligible for a CINC-PY:

  1. the yacht must be registered as a 'Pleasure Yacht' of any tonnage, carrying 12 or fewer passengers;
  2. prior to the required survey, a minimum safe manning document must be obtained;
  3. the yacht must be surveyed and certified by the CISR in accordance with the Shipping Notice in particular to confirm that:
    • a record of safety equipment on the yacht which accurately describes the yacht and its equipment is developed and is on board; and
    • the applicable safety equipment and pollution prevention requirements set out in Annex 2 of the Shipping Notice have been complied with;
  4. as a minimum, the yacht must meet certain requirements of LY3 as set out in Annex 1 of the Shipping Notice; and
  5. the yacht must undergo annual surveys and a renewal survey every 5 years.

The Shipping Notice can be viewed here.


Caribbean Cruising Area comprises the following:

60 nautical miles from a safe haven in the following countries and territories in the Wider Caribbean Region:

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent & Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Venezuela
  • French Caribbean Territories (includes Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Martin, French Guiana)
  • Netherlands Caribbean Territories (includes Saint Martin, Netherlands Antilles)
  • United Kingdom Caribbean Territories (includes Cayman Islands, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat)

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions