By Dr. Clive Gerada – Senior Associate
Summer is here and what a better way to enjoy the Maltese coast by sailing to every nook and crany around our islands. The craze of buying boats generally starts in winter times and people start to look for good deals not only locally but also abroad. Buying and selling a boat might seem complicated but in reality it is not a difficult feat.
Here are 7 things you need to know before you buy or sell your boat:
- First and foremost the authority that deals with the registration of boats is the Merchant Shipping Directorate (hereinafter referred to as the Directorate) which is part of Transport Malta.
- Before any transfer of a boat occurs, buyers and sellers should check that the annual registration fees are duly paid up and no outstanding balances exists. This can be done by verfying with the Directorate.
- A Bill of Sale should be completed between the buyer and the seller. There are two types of Bill of Sales – Individual or Body Corporate. Individual means that the owner of the boat is a natural person whereas a Body Corporate refers to a company or other legal entity as being the owner of the boat.
- However, before signing a bill of sale it is important for buyers to check whether the pleasure boat is subject to a mortgage. In this regard, one should seek the help of a lawyer or the Directorate. It is also crucially important that the buyer carries out a survey of the boat and engage the expertise of an expert to ensure that the boat is in a good state to sail.
- Apart from the Bill of Sale, it is equally crucial, that the buyer signs a declaration of ownership. Similar to the bill of sale, the declaration of ownership can be individual or body corporate. Such a declaration should be accompanied by the identity card or passport and proof of residence of the transferee in the case a natural person is transferring the boat. In the event that the vessel is being transferred to a body corporate then the declaration of ownership shall be accompanied by the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the transferee (the body corporate).
- The buyer may request a change in name of the boat. Nonetheless, the Directorate shall have the final say whether to accept the change of name.
- Finally a registration fee on the transfer of ownership shall be paid in full at the Directorate. The Fee is EUR 250.
The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice. For further information about registration and transferring of boats please contact one of our lawyers at Azzopardi, Borg and Associates Advocates for legal advice.