The Triton

Editor's Pick

Large yachts can now carry US flag


American Flag

Americans who own yachts larger than 300 GT can now flag them in the U.S., thanks to an amendment included on a bill signed Aug. 13 by U.S. President Donald Trump. The new legislation, which received bipartisan support in Congress, reforms a law written in 1920 that defined a yacht as a vessel with a maximum volume of 300 gross tons, meaning Americans with yachts exceeding that limit were only able to flag their yachts in the U.S. if they registered them as commercial vessels.
Since commercial vessels, such as cargo ships, are subject to operational and construction standards different from those of recreational vessels, some American owners in recent decades have pursued acts of Congress for their personal vessels as exemptions, but this route is considered arduous and expensive.
“For at least a half century, ridiculous regulations prohibited American citizens from displaying their patriotism by flying an American flag on their yacht,” stated Tilman J. Fertitta, a longtime yacht owner, star of the TV show “Billion Dollar Buyer,” and owner of Landry’s Restaurants and the Houston Rockets. “This is truly a historic day for American yacht owners and the yachting industry.”
Kitty McGowan, president of the U.S. Superyacht Association, credits Fertitta with a key role in the effort to change the outdated law, along with U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, who spearheaded the legislative action.
“The economic impact of more large yachts flagging U.S. could be significant, as these large vessels would now provide more high-profile opportunities for American crew, keep yachts traveling in U.S. waters and spend more time in our repair and refit yards,” McGowan said in a USSA statement.
The U.S Coast Guard is now developing a U.S. Large Yacht Code, to take effect in 2020. In the meantime, a private yacht over 300 GT will be able to fly the U.S. flag if it is MCA-compliant.
“We look forward to continuing our efforts with the U.S. Coast Guard to help develop and establish the new U.S. flag registry as the best in the world,” stated Jay Dayton, USSA advocacy co-chair.
USSA is a nonprofit trade association formed in 2006 to promote and support the U.S. superyacht industry. For more information, visit

Related Posts...
By Dorie Cox After 26 years at Bradford Marine, former Read more...
More than 100 vessels have inquired about dockage for the Read more...
By Dorie Cox Yacht owner and coal executive Christopher Cline Read more...
By Dorie Cox A European Union tariff has disrupted summer Read more...
UPDATE:The 40m award-winning racing sloop My Song has been declared Read more...

Share This Post

3 thoughts on “Large yachts can now carry US flag

  1. Ole Anderson

    All the billionaires that got a huge tax cut from the Tangerine Huckster lobbied hard for this because their new, much larger yachts are under construction in Holland, Germany, Italy and Australia. But they want to fly Old Glory to show what true patriots they are.

  2. Houston Murphy

    This is a great start to opening up more business in the marine industry. MCA compliance is to date the safest code that universally adapts to a global market.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Editor’s Picks

Crew Compass: Crew can curb ocean pollution

Crew Compass: Crew can curb ocean pollution

Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that defines my love for the ocean, but there are several …

Yachties invited to ‘Spin for a Cause’

Yachties invited to ‘Spin for a Cause’

Young Professionals in Yachting have put out the call for the marine industry to unite on Aug. 16 for an afternoon of fun and exercise to …

Top Shelf: Rice paper rolls with green mango, shrimp and avocado

Top Shelf: Rice paper rolls with green mango, shrimp and avocado

Top Shelf: by Chef Tim MacDonald Some 30 years ago, on Richmond’s Victoria Street in Australia, the Vietnamese rice paper roll was a …

Latest news in the charter fleet: Tranquility now with CN

Latest news in the charter fleet: Tranquility now with CN

News in the charter fleet M/Y Tranquility, a 300-foot (91.5m) Oceanco launched in 2014, available for summer charter in the western Med …