Until now, US defined a yacht as a vessel whose volume was a maximum of 300 GT. Yachts exceeding the 300-GT limit were only able to fly the US flag if they were registered as a commercial vessel. However, commercial vessels are subject to different standards than recreational ones.
The new legislation is an amendment included on the bill that was signed by President Donald Trump and has received bipartisan support in Congress during its development.
Congressman Duncan Hunter noted:
I am very pleased that the President has signed legislation that will increase the number of large recreational vessels which fly the U.S. flag. This will lead to more U.S. jobs in the ship repair and supporting industries.
Currently, USCG is developong a US Large Yacht Code which is expected to enter into force in 2020. In the meantime, a private yacht over 300 GT that is MCA compliant, will now be able to fly the U.S. flag.