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Owning a registered pleasure craft

Everything you need to know about owning a registered pleasure craft. Find out how to choose a name, renew your registration, change a port or name and transfer ownership of your boat.

Check that your boat is a pleasure craft

A pleasure craft is a boat (like a yacht) that is used for sport or pleasure. The owner of the boat is not using the boat to receive any money for operating it or carrying passengers.

Privately owned boats

A privately owned boat is considered a pleasure craft if, at the time of its journey, it's on a free voyage or excursion and used by:

  • the owner of the boat
  • the owner’s family or friends

Company owned boats

A company-owned boat is considered a pleasure craft if, at the time of its journey, it's on a free voyage or excursion and used by:

  • employees of the company
  • officers of the company
  • immediate friends and family of employees or officers

A pleasure craft can also be owned on behalf of a members’ club, as long as:

  • the boat is used only by members of the club and their immediate families
  • the boat is only used for sport or leisure purposes
  • any fees are paid into club funds for the general use of the club
  • no other payments are made by the users of the boat

What to do if your boat is not a pleasure craft

For any concerns or questions about your boat being a pleasure craft, contact the Registry of Shipping and Seamen (RSS).

UK Ship Register - RSS
Anchor Court
Keen Road
Cardiff
CF24 5JW
Phone number: +44 (0)29 2044 8800
Fax number: +44 (0)29 2044 8820
Email address: part1_registry@mcga.gov.uk

If you would like to register your boat, see 'Registering your pleasure craft'.

Types of registration

Pleasure craft can be registered on Part I or Part III of the register.

Part I of the register

Part I is for when you need to register a mortgage against the boat or would like titled registration.

Part III of the register

Part III is limited to craft under 24 metres and is for boats owned by individuals.

If you're not sure about what type of registration you need, see 'Registering your pleasure craft'.

Choosing a name

Each boat has to have a unique name. When you apply to register, you need a list of potential names in case your first choice is already taken. You should give this list, in order of preference, when you complete the form 'Application to Register a British Ship'. At the moment, it's not possible to check availability online or over the telephone.

Renewing your registration

Three months before your registration is due to expire, RSS will send a renewal notice to the address you registered with them. If you have not received your renewal notice in the post, please contact the RSS. They will send you an application that you'll need to fill in. When sending the application back, you should also include a fee of:

  • £25 for Part III (SSR) registration
  • £49 for Part I registration

A Certificate of Registry lasts for five years from the date of registration.

Closing a registration

If you want to close your registration, you need to fill in form MSF 4744, Application to Remove a British Ship from the Register. The form must be signed by all the boat owners. You also need to return your current Certificate of Registry.

Changes to the pleasure craft

When a registered boat undergoes any changes - like an address change or a change to the engine details - RSS must be notified in writing. You must also send them any necessary forms, receipts and fees.

Changing ownership

If you would like to change the ownership of your pleasure craft, you will need to submit the correct application, documents and fee.

For pleasure crafts registered under Part III (SSR), you need to send:

  • an application for the Small Ships Register
  • a fee of £25

You can also change ownership details or register for Part III of the Register (SSR).

For pleasure crafts registered under Part I, you need to send a:

  • Declaration of Eligibility
  • Title Document - Bill of Sale
  • Certificate of Incorporation (if applicable)
  • fee of £80

Shared vessels - changing ownership if a co-owner dies

This only applies to boats registered under Part I registration. If your boat is registered under Part III (SSR), you apply for change of ownership in the normal way.

If the shares of your boat are held jointly with other owners and one of them has died, you'll need to send the RSS the:

  • original Death Certificate
  • new Declaration of Eligibility
  • old Certificate of Registry (to be returned to the UK Ship Register - RSS)

A new certificate will be sent to you without charge.

Changing ownership of an inherited boat

This only applies to boats registered under Part I. If your boat is registered under Part III (SSR), you apply for change of ownership in the normal way.

If the shares of your boat are not held jointly and the previous owner has died, you'll need a new bill of sale. This has to be completed by the executers named on the probate or letters of administration. You'll also need:

  • a Declaration of Eligibility
  • a Grant of Representation (probate, letters of administration, or for Scotland, a confirmation)
  • the old Certificate of Registry
  • to pay a fee of £80

Change of name or port

If you would like to change the name of your boat or the port of registration, you need to submit the correct application and fee.

For pleasure crafts registered under Part III (SSR), you need to send:

  • an application for the Small Ships Register
  • a fee of £25

You can also register the change online for Part III of the Register (SSR).

For pleasure crafts registered under Part I, you need to send:

  • the Application for a Change of Name or Port of Choice
  • a fee of £37

Changing the engine details, the tonnage or dimensions

This only applies to boats registered under Part I. If your boat is registered under Part III (SSR), you don't need to do anything.

If the engine details change, you'll need to submit the original receipt or invoice for the new engine. If the receipt or invoice isn't available, you'll need a letter from a surveyor who can confirm the engine details, along with the correct fee.

If the tonnage or dimensions have changed, you'll need to submit the original Certificate of Survey issued by an authorised surveyor or inspector of marks. You'll also need to submit a fee of £37. If there is more than one change to the vessel, it will cost an additional £17.

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