Nothing is more relaxing than sailing (or motoring) into the sunset on your yacht or private boat. Whether you’re enjoying retirement or you’re enjoying a long vacation or free time on a business trip, boating can be a peaceful escape.

Unfortunately, many countries have complicated rules, requirements and regulations to register a pleasure vessel. There is also the exorbinate fees and costs.

Whether you’re a business person or a new retiree, you may have heard the great things about relocating to Panama.

Panama offers a solid, growing business environment which has led to economic growth and urbanization. Foreigners retiring to Panama can take advantage of many perks including discounted rents, low cost of living, food vouchers, discounts at restaurants, stores and even on taxi services and mass transportation.

While that may sound good, you may be tempted to think that registering a personal boat in Panama will be like registering it in other countries: it’s expensive, complicated and takes a lot of time. At the same time, you don’t want to part with your boat.

Well, you have no need to fear. Registering a private vessel in Panama is different than in many other countries.

Why Register a Pleasure Vessel in Panama?

According to the PMA Certification, Panama Vessel Registration, Surveys and Certifications department, “Panama is the most widely chosen jurisdiction for yacht and boats than any other country in the world.” This is mainly the result of flexible requirements and fees to register pleasure vessels in Panama.

What are the greatest advantages of registering a private vessel in Panama?

The biggest advantages of registering a pleasure vessel in Panama include:

  • A flat registration fee of $1,500 regardless of the size or weight of the boat. Boat owners who are Panamanian citizens can register their boat for $1,000
  • No technical certificates or surveys are required
  • The Registration Certificate is good for two years, after which it needs to be renewed
  • A provisional registration can be obtained the same day of submitting an application. The provisional registration is valid for 6 months during which time all the required documents can be signed and submitted for a permanent registration.

How to Get a Private Boat Registered in Panama?

To get the process started, a provisional registration will be issued and be in effect for up to six months, until you’re able to provide all the required documentation for a permanent registration. In order to receive a provisional registration, you’ll need:

  • A notice with the name proposed for the ship
  • A completed application form which will ask for specifications about the boat.
  • Payment of governmental fees.
  • Copy of Power of Attorney that is notarized and legalized.
  • A copy of the Bill of Sale and Acceptance of Sale that is signed by both the seller and purchaser. This must be notarized and legalized as well. For a new boat, a Builder’s Certificate will be requested.
  • An Affidavit, that states that the vessel will be used for personal, pleasure purposes only. Vessels used for commercial use have additional requirements and documentation that need to be provided.

After obtaining a provisional registration, you’ll have 6 months to obtain and supply the following documentation to receive a permanent registration:

  • The original Bill of Sale and Acceptance of Sale that is signed by both the seller and purchaser. This document is to be notarized. A Builder’s Certificate will be required for a new boat.
  • The original Deletion Certificate of the registration of the previous port. This document is to be notarized.
  • A notarized copy of the original power of attorney
  • A completed radio license application form

Registering a pleasure boat in Panama is simple and less expensive than in most countries. Those moving to Panama can enjoy the perks of being a Panamanian citizen, and living in a thriving country while also enjoying the beautiful beaches, bays, marinas and coast lines of Panama aboard their boats.

For more information about the boat registration process or about becoming a Panamanian citizen, contact us at Mati Pitti Law Firm today.