The Department of Economic Development (DED) is responsible for promoting the regristration of yachts, whether owned and operated on-Island, or from one of the other appropriate territories. These include member countries of the EU and European Economic Area, along with British Dependant Territories.
The DED's operation is conducted by the Shipping Register - which is staffed by marine surveyors whose professional backgrounds include Master Mariners, Marine Engineers and Naval Architects. They travel worldwide to ensure that standards on Manx ships are maintained.
Yacht owners and operators may take advantage of:
- Manx legislation which includes favourable taxation treatment
- No annual tonnage tax
- The prestige attached to the British Red Ensign which Manx vessels fly, and subsequent entitlement to the support of the United Kingdom Government - including consular services throughout the world
- The security of mortgages registered in the island
- A Registry which is prepared to assist the owner in matters relating to safety, prevention of oil pollution, manning and officer certification requirements for the yacht
- An efficient registration organisation, which can quickly and effectively process registry applications to suit the owner's and operator's requirements
The British Flag
The British Red Ensign is the flag that is normally flown on Manx yachts. However, registered owners resident in the Isle of Man may, if they wish, fly on their British yachts the Red Ensign incorporating the "Three Legs of Man".
Manx registered yachts are British Ships under the separate jurisdiction of the Isle of Man Marine Administration.
The majority interest in the yacht (ie at least 33/64 shares) must be owned by one of the following:
- Companies incorporated in the Isle of Man and having their principal place of business in the Isle of Man. (There are no nationality requirements for ownership of such companies)
- Companies incorporated in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, any British Dependent Territory* and having their principal place of business in any such territory
- Companies incorporated in member states of the European Union and European Economic Area Countries** and having their principal place of business in any such country. It should be noted that the company may be incorporated in any of the above territories or member states and have its principal place of business in any other of the above territories or member states
- Limited Partnerships established and registered in the Isle of Man in accordance with the Partnership Act 1909 and the International Business Act 1994, and in certain prescribed countries as detailed in Manx Shipping Notice No 194
British citizens, British Dependent Territories* citizens, British overseas citizens, British subjects under the British Nationality Act 1981, or British Nationals (Overseas)
- Citizens of member states of the European Union and European Economic Area Countries.** A minority interest in a yacht (ie up to 31 shares) may be owned by non-qualified persons
- In the case of pleasure yachts of over 24 metres, if the qualified ownership is outside the Isle of Man or the ownership is a nominal function within the island, the owner must appoint either a manager or representative person in the Isle of Man having responsibility for the operation, safety and manning of the yacht
*British Dependent Territories
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Pitcairn Islands
- St Helena and Dependencies
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- Virgin Islands (British)
**Member States of the European Union and European Economic Area Countries
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
In 2007, the Isle of Man introduced legislation to extend the number of countries accepted for ownership of Manx vessels, which was previously restrained to the UK/EU/EEA/British Dependent territories.
The list has now been extended to include:
- The Bahamas
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America