Private pleasure yachts under Belize Law
Belize has the benefit of distinguishing yachts under its registry in 3 categories, namely:
- Yachts of 24 meters and above and 500GT and over, which are deemed to be Super Yachts;
- Yachts of 24 meters and above and less than 500GT, which are deemed to be Large Yachts;
- Yachts of less than 24 meters which are deemed to be Small Yachts.
Such categorization allows yacht owners to identify what requirements their yacht must adhere to in order to be compliant with the laws of Belize, whether they are using their yacht privately or commercially.
What differentiates private yachts from commercial yachts is of course the purpose for which the owner uses the yacht. A clear definition of “Private Yachts” is, which can be summarized as follows:
- A yacht wholly owned by an individual or individuals solely for sport or pleasure of the owner, immediate family or friends of the owner;
- A yacht wholly owned by a body corporate solely for sport or pleasure and the persons on board are employees or officers of the body corporate or their immediate family or friends;
- A yacht on a voyage whereby the owner does not receive money for the operation of the yacht or for carrying any person apart from a contribution towards the expenses for that particular voyage;
- A yacht wholly owned by or on behalf of a members club formed for the purpose of sport or pleasure used by the members or their immediate family and for the use of which charges are paid into a club fund;
For clarification purposes “immediate family” is defined as the husband or wife of the owner and also encapsulates the term relative which covers brothers, sisters, ancestors or lineal descendants of both the owner or husband or wife.
So as per the above definition of Private Yachts the owner cannot receive direct remuneration for the operation of the yacht given the private nature of the registration. However there is one key benefit for privately registered yachts that deserves to be highlighted.
Belize allows for the granting of a concession whereby a yacht that has been registered as a private yacht to be chartered out for up to a total of 112 days, in any period of 12 consecutive months, thus allowing the owner of the yacht to recover some of his expenses related to owning the yacht.
The concession is granted after the owner of the private yacht informs IMMARBE of his intention to charter out the yacht to another owner, provided that the private yacht adheres to the requirements applicable to commercial yachts together with having a valid P&I and Hull & Machinery insurance cover in place.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further questions.