British Registration - Tonnage Surveys for Part 1 Registration

British Registration of Yachts – Part 1 

The following notes may be of assistance.

Choosing a name for your yacht:

Your choice of name need only be restricted by the following criteria:

  • You may not register a name which may cause confusion or offence;
  • You may not register a name which is the same as, or similar to, the name of a boat which is already registered;

Names beginning with initials which might be confused with a vessel type or a signal or code, such as, “SOS”, “my”, “HMS” or “Mayday” would not be allowed;

Names beginning with the definite article, i.e. “The Boat” will not be registered.

If the name “Mandy” is available, you may also register “Mandy 2” or “Mandy 47”. If “Mandy” is not available, “Mandy 2” will not be available either. However, if you already own “Mandy”, you may also register “Mandy 2”.

It is advisable to submit several alternatives in order to ensure that early approval of the proposed name is obtained. One option is to include, as your second choice of name, the name plus a place name. For example, should your first choice be “Mandy”, your second choice could be “Mandy of Hamble”. Any place name can be used but if that place is one of the Ports of Choice (listed in the schedule to the questionnaire) it must be the Port of Choice selected for the vessel. In other words, if your Port of Choice for the vessel is Southampton, then “Mandy of Southampton” would be acceptable as a name, but “Mandy of Portsmouth” would not.

Port of Choice

You must select a Port of Choice for the vessel from the list attached to the questionnaire. The choice is entirely arbitrary and the vessel needs to have no particular connection with that port. However, the port selected will need to be marked on the vessel in due course (see section 2 overleaf).

Joint Ownership

If the vessel is to be owned by joint owners, registration will be completed as joint owners of all 64 shares (unless nationality precludes this.)

Procedure –

If you have not already done so, we may require you to sign the application forms which we prepare on your behalf;

  1. We will apply to register your yacht on Part 1 of the Register of Ships;
  2. We will normally notify you when we have received approval of one of your choices of name;
  3. We will make arrangements for a measurement survey to be undertaken. We will contact you if the cost of the survey exceeds the fees you have given us. The survey can normally be carried out within a two weeks, or slightly longer if the vessel is abroad;
  4. You will need to make sure that the EMS surveyor can gain access to the yacht to carry out the measurement. We will contact you to arrange a convenient time and place to do this, unless you tell us that someone else (for example, marina staff) can arrange this for you;
  5. We will check and submit the title documentation in support of the application;
  6. When the Registry of Shipping have approved all the documents, including the measurement survey, they will issue a carving and marking note, which we will send to you;

We will order a “tonnage board” for you. This will show the Official Number of the yacht, and the Net Tonnage.        We will send this to you

  1. You will need to arrange for the name and port of choice to be marked on the yacht, and for the tonnage board to be affixed. The instructions for doing so are on the carving and marking note. An example (UK mainland) is attached.
  2. When the yacht is marked, you will need to sign the carving and marking note and send it to us. For Channel Island Registry, and yachts over 24m the carving and marking note will need to be signed by a surveyor or Registry official; we can advise you of the procedure and any additional fees;
  3. We will complete the registration and send the Certificate of Registry to you.

Title documentation – The completion of your registration depends upon us receiving title documents for the yacht. This means:

A builder’s certificate to you OR

A builder’s certificate to the first owner and bills of sale showing the transfer of the yacht through subsequent owners to you OR

Bills of sale dating back at least 5 years.

 If the vessel is currently registered with a foreign registry a transcript of that register must be obtained, translated and notarially certified.

The Registry of Shipping will reject documents that are not properly executed or contain errors. This occasionally occurs and we will endeavour to resolve any problem which arises.

Certificate of Registry – We will forward this to you when the registration is complete. It should be kept aboard the vessel. It is your evidence that the vessel has been registered. It contains details about the ship and its owners and establishes the ship’s nationality and tonnage.

Time – The registration process normally takes around 6-8 weeks for a vessel in the UK. However, at busy times of year the Registry of Shipping deal with hundreds of applications. In the event of such delays, difficulties in measuring the vessel or problems with title documentation it can take longer to complete the registration. You should not make any plans to move your yacht outside UK waters or use it in foreign waters until you have your certificate of registry, as we cannot guarantee to complete registration within a given timescale.

A note about Small Ship Registration (SSR) – Small Ship Registration (also known as Part 3 Registration) is a simplified form of registration. It takes only a few days to complete but it is not a “register of title”. This means that the Registry of Shipping do not check title documents or require official measurement of the vessel. If you have a marine mortgage your lender may require you to have “full registration” or “part one registration”, and SSR will not suffice for this purpose. If the vessel is already SS Registered, the SSR must be cancelled before the Part 1 registration can be completed. We may need to ask you to confirm cancellation of an SSR in writing.

Commercial vessels – There are limited circumstances in which it will be desirable to register a yacht as a commercial vessel. Unless otherwise requested all applications made on our client questionnaire will be treated as registrations for pleasure vessels. These notes apply to pleasure vessels – owners of commercial vessels will also need to provide proof that the vessel complies with applicable codes of safety and should note that the requirements for carving and marking are more onerous. Registration of commercial vessels may take longer and is not covered by our standard fee structure.

IMPORTANT: Your registration is not complete until you have received your Certificate of Registry. Many foreign authorities require vessels to produce a certificate of registry and your yacht may be impounded if it enters foreign waters or ports without a valid certificate on board.