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Our niche yachts and superyachts team, with their extensive experience and deep understanding of the marine industry, are uniquely positioned to provide you with the legal expertise you need, whether from a personal or business perspective.

Our top-class legal advice and practical solutions are tailored to the unique needs of clients in the superyacht and leisure marine industries. Our lawyers, known for their approachability and practicality, bring a wealth of knowledge and a great passion for the marine industry to every case.

With offices in close proximity to the insurance market in London and the heart of the yachting community on the South Coast, together with a vast global network of international lawyers and experts, we are in a great position to offer cost-effective expert legal advice on all aspects of marine law to local, national and international clients alike.

We are proud, active members of several industry bodies, including British Marine and the YBDSA, and are on the panel of legal advisors offering advice to RYA members. We are passionate about being at the heart of the marine industry and offering our marine clients a top-class service.

Our clients include yacht and superyacht owners, yacht brokers, crewing companies and crew, marine insurers, marine finance companies, yacht managers and charter companies, shipyards, yacht brokers and dealerships.

How can we help you?

  • Sale & purchase
  • Yacht registration
  • Brokerage contracts
  • Crew contracts
  • Sponsorship agreements
  • Racing
  • Personal injury and fatality claims
  • Yacht management agreements
  • New build and refit contracts
  • Debt recovery
  • Commercial, yacht ownership, chartering and management
  • Marine finance
  • Marine casualties, collisions and salvage
  • Vessel arrest
  • Marine insurance
  • Commercial disputes, litigation and arbitration
  • Commercial contracts and terms and conditions
  • Personal injury and fatality claims
  • Regulatory offences
  • MCA and MAIB investigations

Please contact our friendly, down-to-earth lawyers for more information or to discuss a matter on an initial, no-obligation basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Registration is not compulsory in the UK although if you plan to take your yacht out of UK territorial waters you will need it to be registered on an appropriate register somewhere. Most of the providers of marine finance in the UK will require the vessel to be registered on Part 1 of the British Registry as a condition of the loan agreement. This is so that a mortgage can be registered against the vessel.

Part 1 of the UK Ship register is a full title register. This means that it is necessary to submit evidence of ownership of the vessel, stretching back at least 5 years in the case of a pleasure yacht, in order to prove that the person seeking to register the vessel is the legal owner of that vessel. Once a vessel is registered on Part 1 of the UK Ship Register a mortgage can be registered against the vessel.

Part 3 (also known as the Small Ship Register) is not a title register. It is not necessary to submit any evidence of ownership of the vessel in order to obtain a SSR certificate. Mortgages cannot be registered against a vessel on the SSR. The SSR certificate will however be sufficient to satisfy foreign authorities if the vessel is taken out of UK territorial waters.

Part 1 Registration lasts 5 years and must then be renewed. SSR registration also lasts 5 years.

A vessel can be arrested in order to obtain security for a wide range of claims relating to the vessel concerned. These include claims for damage done by the vessel, in respect of injuries sustained on board the vessel, for payment for goods supplied or services rendered to the vessel, in respect of the disputed ownership of the vessel or for unpaid wages due to the crew. We can advise on other types of claim which may also give rise to a right to arrest.

When two or more vessels are owned by the same party they are known as sister ships. It is possible to arrest one sister ship in respect of a claim in connection with another of the sister ships provided that both vessels were owned by the same party at the time when the cause of action giving rise to the claim arose and when the claim form is issued and served.

No. All that is required is an undertaking by the solicitor instructed to make the arrest to pay the Admiralty Marshal’s reasonable costs in serving the arrest warrant. However, it may be necessary to pay expenses incurred as result of the ship being detained, including for example berthing charges throughout the period of arrest. These can be added to the claim and be recovered out of the proceeds of sale if the matter proceeds to that stage.

Most maritime claims are dependent upon the ownership of the vessel. The vessel can only be arrested provided that the party who was the owner at the time that the cause of action arose is still the owner at the time of arrest. Maritime liens can however be enforced irrespective of ownership and entitle the claimant to issue a claim and to arrest the vessel despite a change of ownership. Maritime liens apply only to claims for salvage, crew wages, damage done by a vessel and Master’s wages and disbursements.

Subject to the receipt of all documentation relevant to the claim, the papers can be lodged with the court within a matter of hours. The actual arrest will be dependent on the availability of an Admiralty Marshal’s representative (often Border Force) in the port or harbour where the vessel is to arrested but should be effected within 24 hours of the warrant being issued.

Once a vessel is arrested it remains in the custody and control of the Admiralty Marshal until adequate security for the claim is provided by the owner or insurer of the vessel or the claim is settled or withdrawn or until judgement is obtained and an order is made for the appraisal and sale of the vessel by the Admiralty Marshal.


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Lester Aldridge is capable of handling both wet and dry shipping matters. It acts for owners on a range of issues, with a particular focus on superyacht matters, such as collision liability, sale and purchase, and contract negotiations. The firm also maintains a strong maritime personal injury and marine regulation practice. The team's clients include marine insurers, port authorities and yacht owners.Close quote
Shipping: UK-wide
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The team is incredibly efficient and responsive.Close quote
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The ’very creative and responsive’ Lester Aldridge LLP marine practice operates out of the Southampton and Bournemouth offices, specialising in the whole spectrum of litigious and transactional matters in shipping law. Southampton-based Russell Kelly has vast experience of advising national and international clients from the leisure marine and superyacht sectors, as well as handling complex contractual disputes which may arise. From Bournemouth, Linda Jacques leads on arbitration work involving contractual claims and the loss of cargo. Also in Southampton, Philippa Langton handles regulatory matters for shipowners and operators. Associate Lucy Goff is knowledgeable on professional negligence claims.Close quote
Shipping: South East (Band 1)
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The team is very creative and responsive. They are good value for money. Much more agile and flexible than other firms.Close quote
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A knowledgeable team who are approachable and clear and clean in their communications. The team are always welcoming with a can-do approach.Close quote
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