MYS: Bargate Murray on the Pitfalls of Superyacht Law

By Ben Roberts

The legal landscape of superyacht brokerage, new-build and operation is a complex and heavily niche asset management sector; however, with a view from an experienced superyacht lawyer, it becomes far clearer. We speak to Quentin Bargate about the pitfalls and advice to consider before entering the market alone.

Quentin Bargate, a man of true experience, spoke to us about his experience dealing with new yachts, creating new projects and avoiding high-level legal situations by practicing expert prevention.

“It’s a big minefield and a lot of traps for the unwary and if you don’t take a lot of care when drafting your contract or in your relationships with your crew,” explains Quentin Bargate, Partner of Bargate Murray. “There are tax issues, there are financial issues and there are regulatory issues you can fall into and it’s a very complicated world.”

The history of legal issues surrounding yachting and luxury project asset management covers seizures, delays and contract disputes, but there are steps to take to ensure smooth sailing throughout any process.

“Any owner looking to buy a new yacht is dealing with a very sophisticated seller and the buyer isn’t often as sophisticated as perhaps he should be,” adds Bargate. “There are clauses in the contract that mean serious financial penalties can be imposed on the buyer if he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I’ll give you an example, there are often in contracts causing permissible delay clauses, permissible delay enables a yard to extend the time for delivery based upon, either a real delay, or a purely technical situation […] now if you’re the buyer, you’re thinking ‘hold on a minute, that’s not right, I thought I was going to get my yacht on this date’, now it’s months or in some cases, many months delay. A simple wording change in a contract can prevent that.”

Tax and financial clauses are one thing, but an insight into the advice available is a quick look at the world of legislation and expertise on hand with Bargate Murray is a fantastic start.

“The most important thing is to be wary,” concludes Bargate. “The general thing I would say is get your team in place from the beginning, a good team, obviously I would say the superyacht lawyer but also you need to have other good professionals behind you as well, you need a good yacht manager, project management team, if you’re buying a yacht, a good surveyor.”

For more information on the pitfalls of superyacht law and the surrounding luxury asset management at hand, watch the full video above.

By Ben Roberts