Yachts and Recreational Vessels

Whether you’re buying, building or chartering ... we've got your back.

The law surrounding yachts and recreational vessels is complex and fragmented. Its a global practice area that can leave even the most experienced sailor, broker, and solicitor searching for answers in publications long expired. Indeed, compared to more traditional legal practice areas, this area of admiralty law provides vessel owners, charters, yacht brokers, bankers, insurance agents, and government authorities with an endless maze of domestic and international regulations and a dearth of contemporary legal authorities to navigate and simplylify all this regulatory confusion. For this very reason, it is critical that individuals or entities who need legal assistance find legal counsel with significant cross-border experience, and who can consistently deliver and solve problems for their clients. The good news is, that search is over.

Legal Solutions We Provide

  • Vessel Purchase and Sale Agreements 
  • Charter Party Contracts and Disputes 
  • Shipyard Contracts and Disputes 
  • Crew Contracts 
  • Insurance Claims and Disputes 
  • Regulatory Guidance 

What to Expect From Your Legal Team

We provide practical, commercial and results-driven advice on a discreet and confidential basis. All assignments will have a nominated lead partner who will be your dedicated point of contact. We will work to your agenda, timescales and budgets to achieve the best outcome. We would expect to be your trusted adviser during the process and our industry knowledge and reputation will facilitate a direct and open dialogue between all stakeholders.

How We Can Help Yacht Owners or Charterers

New Construction

We can help you have your yacht or superyacht built. Building a yacht can mean repeated, large financial outlays with little to show in the short term. There are also numerous parties involved, including naval architects, designers, classification societies, and engineers of every description. Misunderstandings and poor coordination can lead to projects being completed late or not as intended.

A build contract must not only protect your interests and expectations as buyer, but act as a clear and effective roadmap for all parties involved. The contact must also ensure that your project, and any equipment purchased, is protected from creditors should the yard fail mid-build. And it is important to be clear on which equipment the yard is or isn’t supplying and who is engaging subcontractors.

A buyer’s representative, project manager and build captain may all be required, and their employment or service agreement must work alongside the build contract. But before anything is agreed with the yard, there are key decisions to be made about usage and registration which establish the regulatory and fiscal frameworks.

Yacht Law 1
Super yacht in Sardinia, Italy

Charter Agreements

Decisions about whether or not to charter the yacht need to be well advanced before the purchase contract is even in place. Great care must also be taken to make sure that legal handover occurs at the right time and place. Getting this wrong can lead to otherwise avoidable taxes becoming payable – with authorities having the power to seize yachts until claims are settled.

IMG also advises clients on new policy wordings from ‘seamless covers’ for marine intermediaries and service providers to ‘specialist crossover topics’ with our shipping practice. We receive instruction from the insurance community, including insurance companies, brokers, and of course ship and cargo owners.


Just as insurance is a vital part of yacht and superyacht ownership, so knowing what cover is needed, negotiating policies and providing the right information are essential aspects of insurance. It’s easy to assume that dutifully paying premiums will automatically lead to the swift settlement of claims. In reality, it’s often only after an incident that policies provided by underwriters and answers given by owners are examined. The time to seek advice is at the outset – before a contract is agreed. We advise underwriters, brokers, agents and insureds.

Owners need to be certain that policies will provide continuing cover – wherever the yacht is located and no matter how she is being used. Is she being chartered? Is she going to spend time in a yard while warranty or refit work is undertaken? Should a claim be necessary, the sooner we can investigate, the sooner we can advise you. Having our own well-established casualty investigation practice means that, in addition to providing specialist legal advice, we are able to provide real commercial insight and technical understanding.

Insurance Law

Let Us Help

Let us apply our world-class capabilities. We’ll start by getting to know you. You do the talking, we’ll do the listening. Our tailored solutions will help you meet the challenges and opportunities of doing business in the U. S. market, and beyond.

Contact Us

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