Yachting Plan Boosts SKANReg Growth Potential
The London-headquartered St Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry (SKANReg) is set for major expansion of its commercial and pleasure yacht fleet following the launch of a national yachting policy by the government of the twin-island federation.
Complementing a surge in marina developments, the policy recognises the yachting industry’s ‘tremendous potential’ to boost tourism and related economic opportunities in the islands.
In a key part of the five-year plan, the government has pledged to attract more foreign and locally-owned yachts to SKANReg with new legislation supporting an enhanced environment of incentives. The proposed measures include:
- Legislative amendments to reduce customs duty on yachts used as pleasure vessels
- For yachts under 24 metres long, legislation to allow the simplified registration procedure common among other countries with an international open ship & yacht registry
- Adoption of construction & operation codes for both large and small pleasure yachts
- Adoption of a commercial yacht construction and operation code similar to the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s industry-standard Large Yacht code (LY3)
- Part-commercial registration allowing a pleasure yacht owner to charter out the vessel for part of the year subject to safety survey
- Introduction of a Tender Identification System – allowing tenders and ‘toys’ such as jet skis and powerboats to be identified as attached to the mother-vessel, which meets rising port security and other Port State requirements
- Allowing mini-submarines and helicopters to be registered
- An increase in the number of Ports of Registry
- Increasing the number of yacht seafarers with SKANReg professional documentation by recognizing/accrediting courses run by high standard yacht training schools
Registrar Nigel Smith comments: “This initiative will strengthen the appropriate institutions and systems so that St. Kitts & Nevis continues as a leading international open ship & yacht registry, committed to providing the highest quality registration services not only for merchant vessels but also for yachts.”
The current SKANReg fleet of some 530 vessels totals 2.5 million gross tonnes and includes general cargo ships, tankers, accommodation barges and jack-up rigs as well as yachts. Small vessels are among several growing niche markets, together with bareboat charters and short-term registrations for delivery and demolition voyages.
The national yachting policy – tagged ‘Yachti ng S t Ki tts & Nevi s - A Sup e r io r Sus t ain able Experience’ – has been developed with assistance from the United Nations via its Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Launching the plan, maritime affairs director McClean Hobson said it was critical for all stakeholders to work together to develop ‘this most important sector’. He stressed the support of tourism and international transport minister Richard Skerritt for a project that would enhance the appeal of SKANReg yacht registration, create substantial economic opportunities for islanders and leave a lasting impression on yachting visitors.