Legislation Opens Australia to Foreign-Flagged Superyachts

11 December 2019 By Aileen Mack

On December 5, the Australian parliament passed legislation enabling foreign superyachts to charter in Australian waters. The Special Recreational Vessels Bill 2019 will allow superyachts use of a coastal trading temporary license, which permits commercial charter activities. It will go into effect almost immediately, according to a Superyacht Australia press release.

They will be protected from importation and be required to pay 10 percent Goods and Services Tax on the value of the charter. The legislation separates superyachts from the previous disagreements over coastal cargo operations, and it also allows the industry to take advantage and partake in upcoming events in the Pacific, such as the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and the America’s Cup in Auckland in 2021.

“We have been working tirelessly to achieve this for many years for [the] industry,” says David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia, in the recent press release. “The ability to charter in Australia now supplements charter in New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea, where superyacht charter is already permitted and reinforces the South Pacific as a destination of choice for superyachts.”

This legislation passed in near record time and was finalized on the last day of parliament for the year. Changes to the Coastal Trading Act have gone to parliament in 2015 and 2018 without successfully passing the Senate, but work to amend it to cater for superyachts in the long term will continue.

Shortly after the legislation passed, organizers of the Australian Superyacht Rendezvous swiftly threw out the welcome to international superyachts to attend next year’s rendezvous being held for the first time in the Great Barrier Reef. The event showcases the Australian superyacht industry, its capabilities, and economic potential.

Paul Darrouzet, owner of Australian Superyacht Rendezvous host venue Coral Sea Marina Resort and a long-term campaigner for this legislative change, says the new law is an exciting new frontier for international superyachts to charter in Australian waters and it will be the first ever Australian Superyacht Rendezvous where international vessels will be able to participate.

“Superyacht chartering is really one of the best ways to experience what Australia has to offer,” Good says. “We look forward to welcoming a huge increase in superyachts to Australia and invite the guests and crew to stay longer and enjoy the Australian experience.”

To celebrate the milestone, Superyacht Australia is hosting a Grand Soiree event in the evening of Saturday, February 22, 2020 on Sydney Harbour. For more information on the event, visit:

Photo: Courtesy of Superyacht Australia