Commercial cruising vessels are pleasure crafts which are

commercially exploited.

From the perspective of the yacht owner, there are basically two types of commercial exploitation of a yacht.

It can be on a Bare-Boat charter basis or (fully) crewed, which is called a Crewed Charter. Cabin charter is also a form of chartering. With regard to the type of registration and the requirements, it however falls in the same category as a Crewed Charter.

Bareboat Charter
Crewed charter

excl. crew

Bare-boat chartering is basically renting out the pleasure craft without a crew. No skipper, deckhand or other professional. The company or individual that charters the vessel, will of course have to have the appropriate accreditation, fitting the type of yacht they will sail and the waters that will be navigated.

As the owner of the yacht, when the yacht is chartered out, the legal and financial responsibility are also transferred to the company or individual chartering the vessel.

Also known as
Skippered Charter

Fully- or partly crewed charters are charters were the company or private individual that charters the boat is the guest on board. All liabilities are for account of the owner of the boat, as the crew is an integrated part of the package.

A superyacht, for example, which accommodates a maximum of 14 guests, will (on average) have the following crew members: captain, first officer, 2nd mate/bosun, deckhand, chief engineer, assistant engineer, culinary trained chef, chef/cook, chief steward(ess)/purser, steward(ess).

Commercial registration options within the EU

There are numerous registration options available for pleasure crafts that require a commercial registration. In general, a commercial registration should not be taken lightly, as it may require classification, substantial investments in order to meet technical standards, additional safety equipment, etc. etc. etc.

Some flag states have very high standards that have to be met and those are in most cases the flag states with a high ranking on the Paris MoU ‘White List’. Other flag states have less restrictive procedures and requirements.

Vessel type, age, purpose, etc. are all factors that influence the flag state options available. One flag state can offer more favourable terms to historical vessels, than the other. A brand new motor sailor might be better off, in the long term, registering in a certain flag state than in a flag state that initially seems less complicate to register a yacht.

Under certain circumstances a commercial registration may not even be required, if the desire is there to commercially exploit a yacht.

Some flag states offer the option of commercial exploitation with a non-commercial registration. This is particularly interesting for private boat owners who wish to charter-out their yacht for a few weeks a year during high season.

An interesting option, if and when accepted by the appropriate authorities of the country in which waters will be navigated. In some cases, it even depends on the individual port authority. In the same country, one port authority may accept it and another one may not.

Commercial charter with a non-commercial registration