Yachts and Yacht Owning Companies


All yachts registered in MAR will have full access to E.U. waters. Charter yachts will benefit from exemption from VAT on acquisition and registration, as well as on the undertaking of the charter activity.


MAR - Madeira's International Shipping Register - Yachts

In addition to commercial vessels and oil-rig platforms, both commercial and pleasure yachts may be registered in Madeira’s International Shipping Register – MAR. 
Being an E.U. Register, MAR allows full access to European waters without any type of restrictions to both commercial and private yachts, which will also benefit from MAR’s international status as a high quality Register. 
All international conventions ratified by Portugal are fully applicable to and respected by MAR, which has guaranteed adequate measures to ensure an efficient surveillance of all yachts registered. 
All yachts registered in MAR will fly the Portuguese flag and will benefit from the services of the Private Commercial Register and Notary of Madeira’s IBC.

Further detailed information is available in the downloadable Yacht Registration Guide.


Operational and Tax Advantages

MAR offers yacht-owners and chartering companies a wide range of comparative advantages in relation to other flags.


Both pleasure and commercial yachts will benefit from MAR’s status as an E.U. Register, allowing full access to navigation in E.U. waters.

Moreover, in case the yacht is engaged in charter activities, there will be a total exemption from VAT on registration, the same applying to repair and maintenance operations, as well as fuel and oil supply in open sea to ocean-going commercial yachts, according to Article 14º of the Portuguese VAT code.

The crew on board commercial yachts registered in MAR will be exempt from personal income taxes and will benefit from a flexible social security regime. In fact, non-portuguese crew members are not obliged to contribute to the Portuguese social security regime, provided that an alternative pension scheme is guaranteed. However, the crew may choose the Portuguese voluntary social security regime or any other type of protection scheme, public or private. On the other hand, Portuguese nationals or residents in Portuguese territory shall be mandatorily covered by the general Portuguese social security regime. A total contribution rate of 2,7% will be applicable, of which 2,0% shall be borne by the employing entity and 0,7% by the employee.

There are also no citizenship requirements for the crew on board the commercial yachts registered in MAR.

Yacht owning companies

Companies licensed within the legal framework of the International Business Centre of Madeira owning yachts engaged in charter activities, will benefit from a very attractive tax regime.

In fact, these entities will benefit from reduced corporate tax rates until the end of the year 2027, as well as have access to the network of Double-Taxation Treaties ratified by Portugal.

Yacht Registration Formalities

MAR has a Technical Commission whose duties include the registration process, the establishment of the crew composition and the implementation of all the safety requirements set by the applicable international conventions.

Commercial yachts, with a hull length of between 7 and 50 meters and a maximum capacity of 12 passengers plus crew, and pleasure yachts with a hull length above 7 meters will be accepted by MAR.

Various documents and information on the yacht must be submitted to MAR’s Technical Commission for analysis and initiation of the registration process. The amount and nature of the information to be provided varies depending on whether the yacht is to be used for pleasure or commercial activities.

The registration process is exempt from any form of taxation. The Private Commercial Registry of Madeira’s International Business Centre will be used for such purpose.

It should be noted that yachts may only be registered permanently in MAR. The application form for the registration will be addressed to the Technical Commission of the register. For yachts engaged in charter activities, the application form shall be instructed with all the technical elements regarding safety of the yacht, according to Portuguese legislation and international regulations.

Please consult our Yacht Registration Guide for further information on the registration process and a list of the required documentation.



MAR may delegate on classification societies, or on other recognized entities, the undertaking of certain tasks such as surveys. Currently, Portugal recognizes eight classification societies in order to undertake some of its tasks within the framework of MAR:

ABS – American Bureau of Shipping
BV – Bureau Veritas
ClassNK – Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
DNV GL - Det Norske Veritas DNV/Germanischer Lloyd
LR – Lloyd’s Register of Shipping
RINA – Registro Italiano Navale
KR - Korean Register of Shipping
CCS - Chinese Classification Society

Other classification societies may be recognized by Portugal in the near future.

Among other tasks which may be delegated are the definition of norms concerning stability, bulk cargo, on board security as well as other documents such as the issuing of international certificates concerning conventions and resolutions by the IMO and the ILO.


There are no citizenship requirements imposed on the crew of pleasure and commercial yachts, but the people on board must be duly qualified and licensed to operate the yacht.

The safe manning will be set by MAR’s Technical Commission, according to the yacht-owner’s proposal.

Company Formation

Although it is not compulsory to incorporate a company in Madeira’s IBC in order to proceed with the registration of a yacht in MAR, many shipowners choose to do so, as it enables companies to benefit from the applicable tax regime.

All types of companies and other forms of corporate representation, such as branches, agencies or offices, foreseen in Portuguese company law, may set up in the IBC of Madeira to carry out the activity of maritime transportation and other shipping related activities.

Licence application

The application must be submitted to S.D.M., in two copies, addressed to the Cabinet of the Regional Secretary for Finance and Public Administration of the Regional Government of Madeira. The licence may be requested by an existing company, in Portugal or abroad, or by a company to be incorporated.

In case a new shipping company is formed, no minimum share capital requirements will apply. Shipping companies operating within the legal framework of Madeira's IBC are not obliged to keep their main offices in Madeira, although some form of legal representation must be kept in the island. In order to speed up the process, a Private Commercial Registry has been created for such purpose

Registration and Annual Fees

Fees applicable to Yachts

Depending on whether the yacht is to be used for leisure or for chartering activities, the following fees will apply:

1 - Pleasure yachts, registered for leisure purposes, are subject to:

a. An initial fee due for the registration, in the amount of 500 euros;
b. An annual fee payable to maintain the registration of:

I. 500 euros for pleasure yachts between 7 and 24 meters long;
II. 500 euros plus 2 euros per gross ton for pleasure yachts more than 24 meters long.

2 - Pleasure yachts, registered for commercial purposes, are subject to:

a. For the initial registration or registration renewal:

I. Fixed fee in the amount of 1,250 euros;
II. Variable fee:

Scale Fee per Scale
Up to 250 GT 200 Euros
Above 250 GT 0.75 euros per GT

GT: Gross Tonnage

b. An annual fee payable to maintain the registration:

I. Fixed fee of 1,000 euros;
II. Variable fee:

Scale Fee per Scale
Up to 250 GT 200 Euros
Above 250 GT 0.75 euros per GT

GT: Gross Tonnage

3 - Yachts owned by entities licensed within the legal scope of Madeira's International Business Centre are entitled to benefit from an exemption from the initial fee for registration and to a 20% reduction in the annual fee.

Other fees will be applicable on the issue, recognition or renewal by the Technical Commission of MAR of various documents, declarations and certificates, as well as for the carrying out of inspections aboard vessels registered in MAR.

You may also resort to our online fees calculator to estimate the fees applicable to commercial yachts (please note that some variations or discounts may be applicable according to the law).

Fees applicable to yacht owning companies

Shipping companies incorporated in Madeira’s IBC will be subject to a licence and annual operating fees of, respectively, 1,000 euros and 1,800 euros.


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