The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) welcomes all types of vessels to the register while ensuring certain legal and safety standards are met. As part of the registration requirements, the technical suitability and age of a vessel are also taken into consideration before it is accepted to fly the Bahamas Flag.

Foreign-owned ships engaged in international trade may be registered in The Bahamas. Vessels over 12 years old are subject to a pre-registration inspection undertaken by an authorised Bahamas inspector and applications are approved on an individual basis. Applications for vessels of less than 1600 net tons may also be submitted to the register and will be assessed on an individual basis.

A foreign owner, irrespective of nationality or place of incorporation, can hold direct title to a Bahamas-flagged ship but some foreign owners find it useful to incorporate a Bahamian company for this purpose primarily because there is no income tax or capital gains tax in The Bahamas. The operation and income of a Bahamian registered ship or any capital gain on its sale are therefore completely tax free in The Bahamas whether the vessel is foreign-owned or owned by a Bahamian company.

The BMA is able to assist with the incorporation of Bahamian registered companies.

Further details may be obtained by contacting any one of the BMA Registrars.