It would seem that it is not only the Flag State of the Cook Islands that is after the super yacht business dominated by other registries. Jamaica has entered the fray and is giving the competition a run for their money
The flag was launched in December 2012, and coincided with the removal by government of Customs duty, customs user fees, and General Consumption tax on Jamaican-registered yachts were scrapped in favour of a single annual fee.
At the time of its creation Jamaica’s Information Minister pledged that it would “stimulate nautical tourism and yacht registration in Jamaica.”
The flag is administered by IYB (International Yacht Bureau)a corporation based in Fort Lauderdale that according to its publicity material is dedicated to the safety, environmental protection, and security activities of private and commercial yachts.
Its network of survey and plan approval stations can be found in every major yachting location worldwide.
Now the technical team within the registry has in a bid to make registration more superyacht friendly ,overhauled the rules to give the flag what it sees as ‘strong advantages’ over peer flag states.
Captain Jake DesVergers, International Yacht Bureau (IYB), who was appointed advisor to Jamaica’s flag on technical and statutory issues, believes the flag to be in a position to offer unique advantages, given Jamaica’s, close but independent relationship with British law.
He said, “Jamaica because it remains a member of the British Commonwealth, can be selective in using the best practices of the yachting world, while eliminating any negative or bureaucratic actions that may hinder an efficient programme.”
“This is most easily seen in their acceptance of the MCA’s Large Yacht Code, but their own national interpretation allows well-built unclassed yachts the opportunity to achieve commercial certification for charter.”
Jamaica’s superyacht flag has three types of registrations:
- Private Charter
The Private Charter option allows private yachts to recoup its operating expenses through limited charter operations providing that they do not exceed 84 days in any one year.
DesVergers says the registry shares similarities with Marshall Islands and St. Vincent & the Grenadines in this respect, but with a key difference: He said, “Jamaica has taken a “realistic approach” to tailor requirements based upon a yacht’s size and number of crew. “Jamaica identifies that a single blanket standard is not acceptable for a 45m motor yacht in comparison to that needed on a 20 metre sailing yacht. There are some 12 yachts completing the registration process currently, a level of response that I am pleased with.: Interest in the flag still in its early stages has been good.”
With 15 different ports of registry to choose from there are other differences that stand out from Jamaica’s requirements when compared to other flag states:
- No requirement for re-registration for private to commercial
- No need to have a corporate entity in Jamaica save for local representation