Registering a boat or yacht for leisure use
If you own a boat in the UK, you can register it with the UK Ship Register. The Small Ships Register has been developed for UK pleasure boats owners to give them peace of mind when travelling across the world.
Any eligible UK resident owning a boat or yacht for personal leisure use, that is less than 24 metres in overall length, can join the Small Ships Register no matter where in the world the boat is based.
Why should you register your boat or yacht for leisure use?
Registering your boat with the Small Ships Register provides an inexpensive, simple registration, which proves the boat’s nationality and acts as your proof of ownership.
Registration is not compulsory but there are many cases where you may find it beneficial, sometimes necessary, including;
- Many marinas and ports abroad and even some in the UK will require a registration number to prove you are the owner of the boat before allowing you access
- If you intend to race, race organisers will often require proof or registration and ownership
- If your boat is stolen or damaged, proof of ownership may help with insurance or registering the claim
How much does it cost to register your boat or yacht for leisure?
The fee to register a boat on the Small Ships Register is £35.00 and lasts 5 years.
How to register your leisure boat or yacht
Registering your boat or yacht for leisure use couldn’t be simpler. The new online registration system includes a step by step guide to the registration process.
You can register as an individual or on behalf of a group of owners. If you are registering a group of owners, the online system will send an email to all owners asking them to confirm the registration.
Once you have provided all of the required information, made the payment and your application has been assessed you will receive your registration documents in the post within ten working days.
Before you get started
Before you register your boat or yacht for leisure use, you’ll need to have the following information to hand.
- Name of boat
- Details of all owners, including email addresses
- Official number if previously registered (beginning with SSR if Small Ships Registered, or a set of numbers if Part I Commercial Registered)
- Type of boat e.g. Motor Yacht, Sailing Yacht
- Make/Model of boat and number of hulls
- Overall length (in metres)
- Hull Identification Number (HIN) if appropriate
Going afloat safely
Once you’ve completed your registration, take a look at the handy guidance from our colleagues at HM Coastguard on how to remain safe at sea, following basic guidelines could save your life or the lives of others.
There is a variety of guidance materials available, covering radio and communications, navigational safety, personal safety and the wearing of life jackets.
Stay in touch
To assist The Coastguard in locating you in an emergency, consider downloading the Royal Yachting Association’s SafeTrx app or registering your details on the RYA’s SafeTrx website. It is HM Coastguard’s official voluntary safety identification scheme. It’s a FREE service for owners and skippers of all types of leisure vessels and small craft. Signing up to SafeTrx will give HM Coastguard the information that they need to get you an even swifter response in an emergency.
What is the criteria to register my boat?
The vessel is under 24 metres Length Overall (LOA).
You will be using it for leisure purposes, such as personal excursions and/or club racing.
It will only be used by the owners and close friends and family for no fee charged.
How do I search for my vessel on the UK Ship Register?
If the vessel has been registered with the UKSR previously you are able to search for it using an SSR number.
Then type in the whole number which will be between 3 to 5 numbers including “SSR”. For example: SSR12345. There should be no spaces before or after 'SSR number, else this may return a result of zero.
What do I need to apply for Small Ships Registration?
Is this the right Registration for you? Check the definition of pleasure vessels (Small Ships) here.
How to get started
Your first step will be to complete an application to register on Part 3 (MSF 4701 Rev 1118), which provides us with the necessary information to check if the ship and the owner are eligible for UK registration.
Required documents for Part 3 Registration
- Application to Register and Declaration of Eligibility – MSF 4701 Rev 1118
- Bill of Sale – MSF 4705
- Builders Certificate (for new builds) - MSF 4743
- Deletion certificate/transcript from the current register
- Mortgage registration forms (if appropriate) - MSF 4736 and MSF 4737
- Payment of £35 for 5 years
We also can be contacted on +44 (0)20 3908 5200.
To check requirements for other parts of the Register click here https://www.gov.uk/register-a-boat/the-uk-ship-register
How do I renew my Part 3 Small Ships (pleasure vessel) registration?
How to get started
You can fill out an online renewal application through your vessel registration account, provided your registration is within 3 months of its expiry.
Please note that you will have had to previously claim your vessel through your account in order to fill in online applications. See how to Claim your Vessel here.
The online form will prompt you to upload evidence of payment. See information about paying the renewal fee below.
Renewal by Post
When your registration reaches within 3 months of the date of expiry, the UKSR Online Registration System will automatically trigger a notice of Registration Renewal with an accompanying form (MSF 1306).
This will be sent to your registered home address/nominated first address, or to your nominated email address, if this was elected for on your account.
The renewal notice is very simple to fill in. It will require you to:
- Confirm your contact details, or update them if these have changed
- Confirm/agree that the ship remains eligible to be registered on the Small Ships Register (see Part 3 Small Ships Register eligibility here)
- Confirm/agree that there have been no changes in respect of the ownership of the ship or its British connection, and the ownership details are correct
- Provide the Hull Identification Number (HIN) if applicable to your ship (mandatory for vessels built on or after 1998)
- Confirm/agree that the information given in the form is true to the best of your (or all owners) knowledge and belief
Please ensure you read all pages of the renewal notice and form and obtain all owner signatures on page 3, before sending back to the Small Ships Register.
Return it with your current Certificate of Registry, plus payment of the renewal fee, by email to UKSR@mcga.gov.uk or send by post to:
Registry of Shipping and Seamen
Anchor Court, Keen Road
Please note: Any missing sections and/or lack of evidence of payment of the renewal fee of £35 for 5 years may slow your application, as we may need to contact you.
It costs £35 to renew your Small Ships Registration for 5 years.
You can pay using one of the following ways:
- Using the online payment link https://www.gov.uk/payments/maritime-and-coastguard-agency/ssr-renewal-of-registration. Please provide evidence of payment with your application to renew, such as by forwarding the email confirmation you will receive after successful payment of the fee with your application, if sending by email
- Send a cheque in the post the address above
** Please ensure you write the vessel name and SSR number on the back of the cheque**
What if I do not wish to renew, or I'd like close my vessel registration?
Closing instead of renewing
If your vessel is approaching renewal and you have received the notice to renew from us, but you do not wish to renew, you do not have to do anything.
Your registration will be closed at the expiry of your registration.
Registry of Shipping and Seamen
Anchor Court, Keen Road
Cardiff CF24 5JW
Sold your vessel
If you have sold your vessel and therefore need to close the registration, let us know in writing via email or send us a letter and we will close your registration.
If the new owners wish to register the vessel, as the registered owner prior to selling the vessel, you should still let us know that you need to close the registration.
In the meantime, the new owners can begin the New Registration process for the vessel.
If you are the new owner(s) of a previously Small Ships registered vessel and wish to close the registration; you will need to advise via email or send us a letter that you wish to close the registration. Please provide a copy of the completed Bill of Sale (MSF 4705) with the owner we have on record (now previous), and the new owners named on it. With official proof of new ownership, we can close the registration.