New Law Allows Superyacht Owners to Fly US Flag

By 09/11/2018news

US President Donald Trump has amended a century-old rule that will make it easier for larger superyachts to be registered in the U.S.

In a move that has been heralded great news for yacht owners and the yachting industry in America, yachts of more than 300 gross tons will now be able to register as ‘recreational’ – not ‘commercial’ – vessels.

The change in regulation comes after decades of lobbying by yachting associations to amend the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization (NDAA). The law prevented yachts of more than 300 gross tons from flying the US flag, simply because they could not register as yachts in America. Superyachts were very subject to different operational and constructions standards than smaller yachts.

Previously, this meant that yachts of 300 gross tons or more had to be registered under foreign flags if they wanted to sail outside inland water in the States. This is no longer the case, although large yachts will still be subject to a number of other regulations, such as a rule stipulating they cannot carry cargo or passengers for hire. Large yachts must also be owned and crewed by US citizens – a move which is hoped will lead to more US jobs in the yachting industry.

The amendment to the law, which had been enforced since the 1920s, was made on August 13th.

Whilst a specific US Large Yacht Code is under development by the US coast guard, expected in 2020, a commercial yacht over 300gt that is MCA compliant will be permitted to register and fly the US flag. The implementation process is still underway. For any further information, please contact YACHTZOO.

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