28 April 2017
Jun 2016

Under the spotlight


There have been a number of recent anecdotal reports linking superyachts registered to the US state of Delaware to increased scrutiny by the international maritime community. There is some confusion, it appears, at least in the public sphere, as to whether or not these vessels are protected by their state of registry when operating internationally.

The state of Delaware is what is known as a ‘non-title’ or a ‘registration only state’. Therefore, no rights of protection are afforded by the United States to vessels baring the Delawarean flag in international waters, yet many of these vessels are domiciled in Europe and its surrounding nations.

Many choose to register their yachts in Delaware because of the speed and relative cost efficiency of the process when compared to more established flags, such as the Red Ensign Group.

“As soon as a Delaware flagged vessel leaves its territorial waters it is in international waters and is, therefore, subject to international standards,” explains Mark Robinson, principle consultant and surveyor at Mark Robinson Maritime Consultants. “However, the State of Delaware does not have powers to issue statutory certification, or require them to be issued, to show maritime compliance as required by MARPOL, SOLAS and other conventions pertinent to International maritime legislation.”

In brief, a Delaware-flagged vessel operating outside of its territorial waters is operating illegally. Should there be an incident, be it a spillage or fatality, the vessel in question will not be covered by its insurance and it will be in direct breach of the international standards set forth by the IMO.

The term ‘seaworthiness’ is used flippantly to describe myriad issues, from leaky hulls to broken compasses, but in its truest sense it relates to the holistic health of a vessel, from crewing to certification. How then can a vessel operating illegally be considered seaworthy?


Profile links


When hotels buy superyachts

Could superyachts be good business for luxury hotels? Recent acquisitions by some of the world’s leading resorts would suggest so.  More


Cecil Wright & Partners launches pioneering brokerage tool

Cecil Wright & Partners is now utilising a laser scanning system to allow potential buyers to walk-through a yacht while mobile. More


First Time Lucky?

Dominique Afacan recalls her day on board Alexa of London with owner Mark Denning, as he sailed in his first ever St Barths Bucket. More


My Myanmar: aboard S/Y Dunia Baru

Owner Mark Robba speaks to The Superyacht Owner about the joys of sailing in Myanmar aboard his 51m Phinisi yacht.    More


Saving a Soviet spy

The 65m MY La Sultana was re-launched in July 2015 following a seven-year reconversion. Now listed for sale through Camper and Nicholsons, TSO speaks to the owners about the opportunity to buy a piece of history.   More


All the World’s a Stage

The Superyacht Owner speaks to Niel Fox, founder of travel company Based on a True Story More



An informed marketplace benefits us all. Ask us what you need to know, and we'll source the most useful information and post a report for all.

Request intelligence


Discrete advice and fast answers. Click the 'Request Advice' button and select who you'd like to hear from, ask a question and we'll take care of the rest.

Ask a question now

Superyacht Buyer, Pilot issue

Superyacht Buyer was delivered as part of The Superyacht Owner in Q4 of 2015. To download a pdf of our Pilot Edition of the Superyacht Buyer click here.

View or download the magazine

Get advice