The law surrounding yachts and recreational vessels is complex and fragmented. Whether you’re buying, building or chartering ... we've got your back.
Yachts and recreational vessels is 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.
R. Isaak Hurst, Esq.
Founder and Principal Attorney
- Vessel Purchase and Sale Agreements
- Charter Party Contracts and Disputes
- Shipyard Contracts and Disputes
- Crew Contracts
- Insurance Claims and Disputes
- Regulatory Guidance
or call (206) 707-8338
to speak to someone today.
How We Can Help Yacht Owners or Charterers
Design, Draft, and Negotiate the Vessel Purchase and Sale Agreements
IMG has ample experience drafting vessel purchase and sale agreements for all manner of vessels, including luxury yachts. This law firm is unique in that we have substantial experience drafting bespoke marine contracts as well as experience litigating marine contract issues in U.S. District Courts. Our litigation experience means we know what provisions work and what provisions fail in U.S. Federal Court. As a result, we know how to draft a solid purchase and sale agreement that will hold up and protect your interests under any variety of circumstances.
Entity Formation and Tax Guidance
Placing your yacht in an LLC is a critical risk management strategy. Exactly what legal entity should be chosen and how it should be structure deserves early and careful planning. The most appropriate choice of entity depends upon your preferences for personal and entity taxation, risk of liability; business management authority; obligations as to meetings, paperwork, filings, personnel, and officers and directors-just to name a few. We work with our clients and, when appropriate, other professionals such as CPAs or estate planning professionals, to advise our clients about the concerns and consequences of each entity choice. Our attorneys also help clients plan and structure vessel transactions in a manner designed to minimize and effectively reduce a client's worldwide tax exposure—particularly with respect to the sale, transport, importation, and ownership of yachts and other vessels.
Import / Export Compliance
In certain instances, a vessel owner may wish to import or export a yacht. Our experience and knowledge of customs laws, shipping and international trade enables us to advise on every aspect of importing or exporting a yacht. IMG’s legal team has considerable expertise in advising clients on their vessel’s import/export exposure, and we frequently advise clients on international trade regulatory and compliance matters, including, but not limited to, U.S. Customs Regulations, MARAD waivers, Export Administration Regulations, U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations, anti-boycott regulations, and other economic regulations.
Responding to the multitude of liability risks faced by yacht owners and charterers, we have the experience required to work closely with risk managers and brokers to build solutions matching these complex marine liability insurance needs. Our expertise covers the full spectrum, including hull and machinery, cargo and freight, builders’ risk, mortgagees’ interest, strikes, war and owners’, charterers’ and ship repairers’ liability insurance. IMG is recognized by many vessel owners as the ‘go to’ firm for honest answers about marine insurance policies. Our attorneys are frequently instructed to engage in policy and program reviews for yacht owners and corporate policyholders and insurers on contracts covering everything from offshore delivery contracts for yacht to charterers liability policies. In order to help our yacht clients get the broadest possible insurance coverage, we frequently utilize our extensive library of insurance policies, checklist, and available endorsements to determine how our clients’ insurance policies compare with what is currently available in the marketplace.
IMG has a wealth of experience to draw upon when advising clients about charter party agreements. With experience in bareboat, time and voyage charters, IMG regularly acts on behalf of the region’s largest shipowners and charterers. Indeed, our expertise in transactional and contentious charter party matters gives us an invaluable perspective – we can foresee the problems that might arise and take steps to avoid them. Moreover, as a relatively compact firm, we are able to offer tailored charter party advice for vessel owners, thereby allowing us to deliver outstanding legal and commercial results for our clients in a practical and cost-effective way.
Shipbuilding and Repair
IMG possesses a wealth of experience representing builders of ships and owners from around the world. We frequently advise on the drafting and review of contracts, together with associated documents such as performance and refund guarantees, as well as the financing and insurance of new builds. Clear and concise drafting is essential for these major projects, and our aim is always to produce unambiguous contractual wordings. We are regularly retained by clients on new building, repair and conversion contracts and associated finance for all types of vessels, from conventional recreational vessels, through to specialist vessels in the yacht industry. Whether it be a shipyard contract, a crew contract, or a moorage agreement, it never hurts to have a second set of eyes on the legal paper associated with your vessel.
Has your yacht been arrested? If so, we can help. IMG can quickly determine the validity of a claim or defense as well as the priority of a secured claim, which are critical considerations for ship owners or secured creditors in large arrest and attachment proceedings. Whether it be an occasion to seek attachment of the assets of an elusive defendant or a sister ship arrest on alter-ego grounds, IMG has the knowledge, resources and flexibility to help clients achieve their objectives.
IMG is a proud supporter of the following associations:
International Yacht Brokers Association
International Superyacht Society
US Superyacht Association
Northwest Yacht Brokers Association
Northwest Marine Trade Association