Top tips and guidance: Registering your small ship online for the first time

Published: 27/01/2022

Do you own a vessel under 24 metres in length (LOA)?

Have you lived in the UK for a minimum of 185 consecutive days within the last 12 months?
Do you only intend to use your vessel for recreational purposes (including club racing) with your family and friends i.e. charging no fee?
If you answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, then have a look at some of our top tips and guidance to help you navigate Part III of the registration process for the Small Ships Register.

Why should I register my vessel?

Registering your vessel makes it is easy to prove the nationality of the vessel (not the people on it), which allows you to travel internationally.
Should your registered vessel become lost by breaking off its anchorage, or is stolen , it may make it easier for authorities to return your vessel to you. It could also help with an insurance claim in the event of an incident.
Registering on the Small Ships Register is very reasonable value, it only costs £35.00 and your registration lasts for 5 years.

How do you register?

So, you have a small vessel that you want to register on the Small Ships Register. But what next?

1. Check your eligibility

Before you can start your registration, it is advisable to check whether your circumstances are eligible for you to register.
The criteria for Part III can be reviewed here in further detail.
As the owner(s) you need to meet all the requirements to be eligible. This will include your citizenship or residency details. To be eligible you need have lived in the UK for a minimum of 185 consecutive days within the last 12 months.

2. Create an online account

If you are applying to the UKSR for the first time for a new or provisional registration, you will need to sign up to use the service. This also applies if you are registering a new build vessel.
Creating an account is quick and simple. It allows you to register, manage the process and view the application progress along the way.

Click here to create your online account


*If there are multiple owners, each owner will need to create an account before you can continue with your registration. After registration is complete, one of our customer service advisors will then link the accounts.

When you have submitted your information, you an email will be sent to the address you provided to complete the account set up process.


3. Prepare your documents

When starting the registration process for your boat or yacht for private leisure use, we recommend you have the following information at hand to make the process quicker and smoother.

  • Vessel name
  • Details of all owners, including their email addresses
  • Hull Identification Number (HIN) if appropriate
  • Length overall (in metres)
  • Type of boat e.g. Motor Yacht, Sailing Yacht, wet boat, sport boats etc
  • Make/Model of boat and the number of hulls
  • Length overall (in metres)
  • Bill of Sale with owner(s) information and signature(s)
  • Proof of identification such as a passport or driving licence
  • Payment card for the registration fee

4. Register

Once you have entered the details of your vessel, uploaded your supporting documents, and paid your fee, make sure you check the details on your application fully before continuing to retrieve your reference number. You’ll need to click the reference number in the green box (see image below). This will complete your registration application.
Then sit back and relax while your application is assessed and approved, we will do the rest.

Click the green box to complete your registration

You will receive your Certificate of Registration via email. The Registry of Shipping and Seamen will then provide you with the assigned registration number which you should place somewhere visible on your boat.

That’s all. Quick, easy, secure.

Happy sailing!

If you need further insight, please see Small Ships Register (Part III) on the website.