Boat Insurance Magazine

Do I Need to Register My Boat to Use it at Sea?

Yes, to use your boat at sea, you will need to register with the UK Ship Register. However, you can only register with the UK Ship Register if you meet certain eligibility requirements dependent on your citizenship status.

The register has four parts, each for different uses of your boat. We have outlined the various parts of the register, and how you can register your boat:


Registration Parts

As mentioned, the UK Ship Register has several parts, depending on your intended use for your boat.

  • Part 1: Commercial or Pleasure Boats. You would use Part 1 of the register if you have a commercial boat (unless you plan to use it for fishing) or a ‘pleasure vessel’ (where you don’t make any money from the boat).
  • Part 2: Fishing Boats. You should use Part 2 of the register if you use your boat to catch and sell fish. There are two options: simple and full registration, where a full registration gets you a marine mortgage against your boat.
  • Part 3: Small Boats. You should only use Part 3 of the register if your boat is less than 24m long, you live in the UK for at least 185 days of the year, and your boat is a pleasure vessel. It is important to note that you can’t use this part if you are a business.
  • Part 4: Charter Boats. You should use Part 4 of the register if you plan to charter (hire out) your boat.


How Much Does it Cost to Register a Boat to Use it at Sea in the UK?

The cost of registering your boat to use it at sea varies depending on the type of vessel you have. Each part of the register has its own individual fees.

We have broken down the potential registration fees to use your boat at sea for the various vessel types.

  • Commercial or Pleasure Boats (Part 1) – £153 for 5 years, then £72 to renew for a further 5 years.
  • Fishing Boats (Part 2) – £159 (simple registration) and £196 (full registration) for 5 years.
  • Small Boats (Part 3) – £35 for 5 years.
  • Charter Boats (Part 4) – between £35 and £196 for 5 years, dependent on the type of boat being registered.


What Do I Need to Register my Boat?

Before registering your boat, there are some things you will need to know or have to hand. These include:

  • The dimensions of your boat.
  • The bill of sale.
  • The builder’s certificate.
  • Safety certificates.
  • An International Tonnage Certificate (ITC69).
  • The previous registration details of the boat, if it has been registered before.
  • A certificate of survey for tonnage and measurement.
  • The radio signal detail, including your: Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number, and UK radio call sign.


How Can I Register My Boat to Use it at Sea?

You can easily register your boat online through the government website. Here, you will need to either create an account, or sign in to an existing account.

If your boat is shared between multiple people, all owners need to create an account before you will be able to register your boat to use at sea online.

Payments can be made via credit and debit cards.

The online service can be used to view, change, edit, renew, or cancel your boat registration.