Malta and UK Commercial Charter Yachts and superyachts

MCA Small Commercial Vessel and Workboat Code of Practice
All Red Ensign vessels in commercial use, up to 24 metres load line length, which go to sea and carry no more than 12 passengers and/or cargo, are required by law to comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Small Commercial Vessel and Workboat Code of Practice. Malta Yacht Surveys are Appointed Examiners for the Code which covers:

  • Sailing charter vessels, both skippered and bareboat
  • Motor charter yachts, both skippered and bareboat
  • Angling and dive boats
  • RIBs operating commercially
  • Workboats

Pilot boatsAll yachts covered by the Code will have to undergo a compliance examination, "which is an examination of the vessel, its machinery, fittings and equipment to ascertain that they comply with the requirements of the code. Part of the survey should be conducted out of the water. Yachts will be issued with a Certificate of Compliance with the Code.

Apart from direct improvement in terms of yacht, crew and passenger safety, Code compliance and certification will enhance the image of the yacht in the charter and brokerage markets. Even yachts not engaged in commercial activity are encouraged to seek compliance not only for safety reasons but to increase their perceived value.

Malta Commercial Yacht Code
The Malta Commercial Code was launched in 2006 and was developed mostly based on industry established standards, but unlike other Codes, the Malta Code brings together in one document the requirements for both yachts below 24 metres and yachts above 24 metres. 

MYS can carry out all the necessary surveys for Commercial Yacht Registration and issue required certificates such as:

  • Compliance Survey Report in accordance with the Transport Malta Commercial Yacht Code
  • Tonnage Certificate
  • Certificate of Survey
  • International Load Line Certificate (ILLC)
  • MARPOL Annex I - International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP)
  • MARPOL Annex IV – International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate (ISPP)
  • MARPOL Annex VI – International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate (IAPP)
  • Safety Radio Certificate
  • IACS 99 Compliance Certificate for vessels below 500 GT
  • International Anti-Fouling Systems Certificate

Maritime Labour Convention Certification (MLC)We can also develop and approve required drawings, documentation and manuals including:

  • Fire & Safety Plans
  • Damage control plans and booklets
  • Towing booklets
  • Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP)
  • Garbage Management Plan

Maltese law is very advantageous for the operation of commercial yachts. The Commercial Yacht Code gives the opportunity to yacht owners to have their yachts registered under the Malta flag as a commercial vessel which therefore enables them to pay an annual tonnage tax on the tonnage of their yacht instead of income tax on earnings with savings made on building and operational costs. 


  •  Yachts in commercial use of over 15 metres in length and which do not carry cargo and do not carry more than 12 passengers;
  • All types of yachts can be registered as a commercial yacht under the Malta flag, including historical and training yachts;
  • Yachts over 24 metres in length are to be built to the requirements and standards of a classification society authorised to issue statutory certificates on behalf of the Government of Malta. Malta recognises all leading classification societies. Yachts below 24 metres in length do not require to be classed. 


A initial pre-registration survey is to be carried out in order to draw up a record of compliance with the Code. Grey areas and specific issues are discussed between the surveyor and the Administration through a transparent and recorded procedure. Upon agreeing any recommended design alternatives and establishing that the desirable standards are achieved, the Administration issues a Certificate of Compliance to trade as a Commercial Yacht enabling operational registration. Compliance surveys can be carried out by Malta Yacht Surveys.

Thereafter, an annual survey is to be carried out. On yachts below 24 metres in length annual surveys may be carried out by the crew, while on yachts above 24 metres in length annual surveys are to be carried by an approved Government Surveyor or a Recognised Organisation. Annual Surveys are to be endorsed on the prescribed space on the Certificate of Compliance. 

A renewal survey is to be carried out every 5 years (yachts below 24 metres every 4 years). On satisfactory completion of the surveys, all trading surveys are renewed.


Yachts that are operated at extra cleanliness and safety standards are assigned a Green Yacht Notation. By rewarding high safety and environmental standards, the notation makes above standard yacht operations more attractive. Yachts with such a notation reap various benefits, including, charter preference, continuous improvement, better image and motivation and pride of crew.

Commercial Yachts


Independent Marine Surveyors and Consultants