The new Antigua and Barbuda Yacht Registry became official this month, for two main reasons. It breaks megayachts out from merchant ships, and equally important, it’s intended to attract more megayachts to the already-popular island nations.
During the formal commencement ceremony on November 17, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer explained that Antigua and Barbuda’s flag is already ranked within the top 20 ship registries worldwide. Even though the country’s Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping has had more than 275 yachts registered for some time, Spencer says it was important to treat them separately from merchant vessels and therefore create a specially dedicated registry.
Of course, the new Antigua and Barbuda Yacht Registry is also intended to bolster the islands’ economic growth. Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour (above), Falmouth Harbour Marina in Falmouth Harbour, and the Antigua Yacht Club Marina in Falmouth Harbour are all perennial favorites for private and charter yachts alike. Antigua is also often used as a winter base for megayachts, given its proximity to other Windward Islands destinations. No wonder, then, that the Ministry of Tourism is additionally trying to smooth customs and immigration procedures in conjunction with the launch of the new yacht registry.
Overall, Spencer says, “The megayacht industry offers new opportunities and challenges as a sector, and one which we are confident we can penetrate successfully, having undertaken a careful assessment of the prevailing conditions impacting on such endeavors.”