Guernsey: Yacht Registration And Ownership

Last Updated: 15 April 1998

GUERNSEY - CENTRE OF FINANCIAL STABILITY

The Channel Island of Guernsey is situated off the coast of France, but is a British Crown dependence. It is a self-governing state with its own constitution, legal and tax structure. The Island is therefore free of all United Kingdom fiscal and currency controls and, under Protocol 3 of the Treaty of Accession, enjoys a special relationship with the European Economic Community guaranteeing the Island's fiscal autonomy. Guernsey is excluded from any requirement to levy any form of Community taxation.

Guernsey's sophisticated offshore financial environment, its low equitable level of corporate and personal taxation and its political stability have attracted the active participation of many international institutions whose high standard of service distinguishes the Channel Islands from many other offshore centres.

These resources are readily available for the benefit of the clients of Wilde Marine.

BRITISH YACHT REGISTRATION

In order to register a yacht on the British Registry, at least 33 out of 64 shares in the yacht must be owned by either a qualified person or a company incorporated in the United Kingdom or relevant British overseas territory such as the Channel Islands, British Virgin Islands or similar jurisdiction.

It is a statutory requirement for every yacht to have a British Tonnage Measurement Survey carried out by an approved survey society.

A unique name for the yacht must be approved by the Registry of Shipping and it is necessary to produce documentary evidence of ownership. After these requirements are satisfied, the Registrar then issues the Official Number and Registered Tonnage, which must be permanently marked inside the yacht. The Port of Registry and the Yacht's Name must also be marked on the vessel in accordance with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act.

Only then will the Registrar issue the Certificate of British Registry.

The process of registration does require considerable documentation and can be time consuming. It is these very factors that ensure British Registration is recognised inter-nationally as the most prestigious of yacht registrations, being prima facie evidence of the registered owners legal title to the vessel, with the added advantage of the ability to register a marine mortgage.

CORPORATE OWNERSHIP

Wilde Marine Services Limited incorporates and administers companies in Guernsey and other jurisdictions to own British registered yachts.

Use of a limited liability company incorporated in Guernsey has the advantage of concealment of the identity of the Beneficial Owner. There is also no Value Added, Wealth or Inheritance Tax in Guernsey.

Guernsey companies are incorporated by an Act of the Royal Court of Guernsey and must by law have a minimum of two shareholders, usually provided by Wilde Marine, in addition to the Company Secretary, Registered Office and two Directors for Guernsey Resident Companies.

All statutory books and documents are maintained and kept at the Registered Office in Guernsey.

The Guernsey company allows full use of the yacht by the Client or his Nominee through an Appointment of Ship's Manager or Power of Attorney. Crew can also be appointed by way of similar documents.

REGISTRATION FOR THE INDIVIDUAL

Wilde Marine can assist British Nationals to register their yachts in their own name on the British Registry.

Clients find it convenient to employ the expertise of the Company's personnel to ensure that the registration is completed with minimal delay and without the Client being swamped with unfamiliar documentation. Wilde Marine is also pleased to assist Clients with all other registration services.

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.

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