Bahamas Maritime Authority

Stephen Keenan, Deputy Director of the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) examines what you should consider when choosing a registry for your yacht

When registering a yacht, it is important to consider exactly what you hope to get from the registry. Question the registry about how easy it will be to access the team, surveyors and inspectors and how quickly they will respond to any queries you may have. Their port state control record also plays an important part in how easily you will be able to navigate different regions.

Technical expertise
If your yacht is of a particularly cutting- edge design, it’s vital to ensure that you will have access via your Flag to a high level of technical experience and knowledge. They should also be sufficiently agile to be able to adapt to new technology as it comes onstream.

Flexibility in terms of offering commercial or restricted chartering should also be a factor in your choice. Bear in mind that, if you are intending to offset the cost of ownership through chartering, commercial registration does mean that the yacht has to undergo more stringent inspections to ensure that it is safe for commercial use. Some registries will offer limited commercial registration that allows for some chartering.

Private registration, alternatively, is not subject to Port State Control or the higher levels of survey and inspection, but guests are limited to friends and family with this sort of registration.

Bahamas Maritime AuthorityKeeping things straightforward
Registering a yacht can be a complex procedure so look out for a flag that will provide a direct, cost effective and efficient registration procedure and make sure that they handle yachts of a similar size to yours. If your yacht is still under construction, you may be able to register it in advance, if required for financing reasons. Furthermore, some Flags, as is the case for The Bahamas, will endeavour to meet individual needs of yacht owners when considering innovative design or unconventional configuration, whilst ensuring that adequate levels of safety are adhered to.

Why choose The Bahamas
The BMA has a diverse, qualified and experienced global team of professional surveyors, auditors and registration personnel and operates a bespoke, tailored yacht code, which has been developed to meet the growing expectations of owners, managers and Masters of Bahamian yachts. The team is able to offer a very quick turnaround on application – as fast as 24 hours in some cases – and has built close relationships with agents and brokers. As The Bahamas is an open registry, there are no ownership requirements, limitations or conditions of nationality, residence, or company incorporation for yacht registration, other than for entities subject to international sanctions.

The BMA has extensive experience in novel and alternative design and arrangements for passenger ships of all sizes and is well placed to apply this experience to the unique requirements of the yachting sector.

We are renowned for our excellence in customer service and are committed to developing a thorough understanding of the operational requirements of each vessel or fleet of vessels so we can deliver a high- quality service that is customised to meet the specific needs of every customer.

This includes the opportunity for private yachts to engage in restricted chartering for not more than 84 days per calendar year under the Private Yacht Restricted Charter (PYRC) and Passenger Private Yacht on Restricted Charter (PPYRC) certification regimes.

For more details Tel: +44 (0)20 7562 1300 or visit