They say that rich people buy cars, properties, and houses. People with unimaginable wealth, on the other hand, buy yachts.

That may sound like a funny adage to you but it rings certain truths. A yacht, compared to a car or chateau, represents more than just wealth. It is an international investment that mixes travel and pleasure all in one object.

But buying a yacht is one thing, maintaining it is a whole new story.

Take the yacht registration for example. When you register your cars or property, it shouldn't take you a couple of documents and visits to the proper offices. A yacht isn't registered the same way.
Yachts can be registered to a different country from your own. This means a person from Scotland can register his/her yacht in the United States if they so desire. The country in which the yacht is registered on has a great impact on your freedom to travel and the amount of money you will be spending. For starters, the taxes, privacy, and exposure to liabilities are directly affected by your choice of country. This is why yacht owners are always advised to think thoroughly before settling on a country to register on.

How to Choose the Best Countries For Yacht Registration

So what should be your basis for choosing a country? Of course, you can always register in your own country, that's the patriotic thing to do. But that means your yacht will be subject to the rules and laws of your country. If you are not fine with that, here are some factors to look out for when shopping for another country.

Check their tax structures.
Make sure there are no specific rules that can cause complications to a yacht owner.
Select a country that is well respected by the US and EU so there will be fewer inspections and detentions.
Check if the country is in another country’s black or gray list if you don't want random and thorough inspections.

With these things in mind, let's try to find out which countries are the best in terms of yacht registration.

Best Countries to Register Your Yacht

1. Marshall Islands - With the third highest number of yachts registered in the world, Marshall Islands is a good place to start. Its registry is recognized all around the world and the taxes are low. The Presidential Republic of Marshall Islands is offered the same sovereign benefits as its British Overseas Territory counterparts and is in free association with the United States of America. The whole process of registering your yacht is painless and can be done quite quickly. It has no restrictions on the nationalities of your crew and the country of construction of your yacht.

2. Liberia - Who would have known that the oldest democracy in Africa will be a haven for yacht owners? Owning the second largest registry in the world, Liberia is also hailed for being one of the first offshore and zero tax jurisdictions. Its registry makes up for around 11% of all registered ships all around the world. The country is in the Paris MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) whitelist and is no country's blacklist. Like in the Marshall Islands, the process is quite easy and there are no restrictions on crew nationality and country of construction.

3. Cayman Islands - Being part of the Red Ensign Group, a name given to the British Overseas Territories, along with Gibraltar, Bermuda, and the Isle of Men makes the Cayman Islands one of the top countries for yacht registrations. All vessels registered in this territory gains all the benefits of the British Flag while enjoying the confidentiality and tax-free perks of the Cayman Islands. 

4. Malta - This island in the Mediterranean is not just known for being the largest island in Europe but also as the European country with the largest registry of Yachts. While not exactly the cheapest, the Maltese registry has clear laws and regulations when it comes to cheap yacht registration costs and yacht mortgages, according to Dr. Duncan from CSBgroup. Their rules are compliant with EU regulations and are respected in all corners of the globe. Those that operate commercial vessels out of Malta aren't liable to pay income tax. They also get an exemption from paying any kind of VAT on the high seas. For more information about yacht registration in Malta, you can visit

The information presented here is quite succinct so we suggest you do your own research on the countries mentioned above. You can even look for countries outside of the popular four to register your yacht on. Make sure you read through everything before making a decision. Remember, your convenience should always be a priority.