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New regulations for easier Panama luxury yacht charters and tourism

Posted on 2021-08-05


Since January the 8th 2021, new rules have come into effect that make a Panama luxury yacht charter easier than ever before. Panama is famous for the Panama Canal, an essential shipping route linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Visitors by luxury yacht will discover beautiful tropical islands outside of the hurricane belt, making the destination ideal for sunbathing on idyllic beaches and swimming in turquoise blue waters during the summer holidays.

Panama City has an international airport and a marina for easy connections to commence and end a yacht charter within the country. The capital city is a mesh of modern skyscrapers, colonial buildings and natural rainforest parks that make a wander to absorb the local ambience highly rewarding.

The Panama Maritime Authority has issued the Board of Directors Resolution No.088-2020, which regulates charter licenses to allow both national and foreign-flagged yachts to operate in Panama national waters.

Principal features of the Resolution No 088-2020 are:

The new regulations permit the chartering of unmanned pleasure boats as well as the chartering of yachts that include crew and other services the operator of the license may offer.

The operating company must be constituted and registered in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Panama.

The license may be granted in the modality of charters for manned or unmanned yachts.

The operating company has a number of responsibilities, amongst which the principals are:

  • To be the local operator and liaison between the Maritime Authority, yacht owners and those who charter.
  • To register the yachts that operate under its responsibility before the Maritime Authority of Panama, be it national or foreign-flagged
  • Maintain all administrative records, including each boats activities and logs, and insurance for each vessel working under the operator license.

Technical standards to be met by yachts registered under an operator license are:

  • To comply with the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code, January 2019 edition, Part A and B, when applicable;
  • Yachts under 24m will have to comply with Decree No18 of 1984, which regulates recreational and pleasure boats registered at Panama Ship and Yacht Registry;


For more information contact:

Juan José Espino

Pardini & Asociados 
Panama Office
Tel +507-223-7222
Fax + 507-223-7535



Written by Rachael Steele

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