Yachts and superyachts

A very high quality and specialist practice, which offers fantastic service and knowledge.

The Legal 500
Private Wealth

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Yachts and superyachts have long been considered amongst the ultimate luxury assets. While many are used for commercial or sporting ventures, others are intended purely for leisure. Whatever the purpose, Penningtons Manches Cooper's specialist lawyers provide legal advice on all aspects of yacht and superyacht ownership - from concept through a vessel’s full lifecycle.

With a strong history in maritime law and extensive practical sailing and seagoing experience on board superyachts, racing and pleasure craft, we combine an in-depth understanding of the industry with commercial and practical guidance which is solution focused. Our clients include ultra-high net worth individuals, owners, managers, insurers, yacht brokers, yards, designers, suppliers and marinas.  

We advise on new build contracts, including fully custom yachts and any related project management and design contracts, as well as the protection of intellectual property rights. Alongside regular involvement in sale and purchase transactions, our corporate and wealth lawyers can assist with ownership structures, registration and choice of flag. Where finance is required, we provide support on the associated finance arrangements, and importantly security.

Clients frequently seek our legal advice on operational matters including management and crew contracts, and consult our dedicated employment team. Our yacht and superyacht lawyers work closely with the firm’s commercial and ship finance teams to assist with the broad range of matters that derive from owning, managing or insuring yachts, whether operated commercially (including charter) or privately.

If a casualty does occur, we have considerable experience in responding to the incident and handling disputes arising from it. Our lawyers are ready to act immediately following a serious casualty and to advise on any criminal investigation or maritime investigation by the MAIB or its equivalent. We engage with independent technical experts and, where necessary, appoint local lawyers to assist with the preservation and collation of evidence. We have handled high profile yachting incidents, calling also on the expertise of our well-respected reputation management team.

A broad range of contractual disputes may arise from build contracts, finance arrangements or the general operation of a yacht. Our proven track record in this area encompasses product liability and warranty claims, professional negligence, yard liabilities and chartering disputes. In addition to significant High Court proceedings, our litigation practice covers all forms of alternative dispute resolution including international arbitration and dispute resolution.  

We have global reach with offices in renowned yachting hubs including France, Spain, Greece and Singapore. Our yacht and superyacht lawyers can readily assist on complex multi-jurisdictional issues which frequently arise in yacht ownership.

We offer expert advice on:

  • casualty response and insurance
  • construction and refit
  • crewing, employment and management
  • design and intellectual property rights
  • dispute resolution and arbitration
  • management, operation and charter
  • marina and yard liabilities
  • personal injury, regulatory and criminal investigations
  • Racing Rules and sports law
  • sale and purchase transactions
  • ownership structures and registration
  • finance and leasing arrangements
  • shipbuilding and repair

Recent work highlights

Bespoke marine finance solutions

Advising on an innovative €7 million secured refinancing of an 86 metre yacht and a three year charter services agreement for a Middle East client. Our yacht and superyacht lawyers are increasingly designing such alternative financing arrangements for markets in which some traditional lenders have lost interest.

Efficient casualty response

Representing insurers and owners in relation to a number of losses of superyachts caused by fire. Our role involved advising on fire investigation and limitation of liability and pursuing subrogated claims across multiple jurisdictions.

MYBA charter dispute

Advising on claims arising out of a MYBA charter relating to the failure to deliver a yacht to the delivery port in good working order. We were also involved in subsequent issues arising during the charter, culminating in the dispute being referred to arbitration.

New build superyacht purchase

Advising a purchaser on the build contract for a custom-built composite yacht in the UK.

Related expertise

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP