the UK Shipping Register

  • Part I is the main register, it can be used for commercial, pleasure or commercial yacht purposes with no limitation on length.
  • Part II is the fishing vessels register.
  • Part III is the less than 24 meters overall length “SSR” small ships register for pleasure vessels only.
  • Part IV is the bareboat charter vessels register (rented without skipper)

The procedure for registering a vessel in the United Kingdom (in Part 1) 

In order to complete the registration of a vessel a number of completed official forms and documents are required. Before Registry it is necessary to reserve the yacht’s name so it is important to provide alternative names, as on Part I no two vessels may have the same name, so if one is refused by Registrar the next available from application will be assigned. Once confirmed by Registrar that the name is available the vessel can be applied to Registry.

 To apply is necessary to provide the following documents forms:                      

  • Completed application to register a British ship (MSF 4740)
  • Completed declaration of eligibility (MSF 4727)
  • Evidence of Title documents no less than 5 years (for example a bill of sale (MSF 4705) for the preowned yachts, builder’s certificate (MSF 4743) or sales agreement or invoice for new build vessels) 

Send the following supporting documents:

  • Certificate of survey for tonnage and measurement (can be issued by affiliated surveyor)
  • International Tonnage certificate if the vessel is over 24 metres (ITC69) or more than 500 GT
  • Certificate of Incorporation if registering on behalf of a company
  • Mortgage registration form if existing
  • Copy of the ship’s current Continuous Synopsis Record for vessels over 500 GT
  • Deletion Certificate if the vessel was previously on another register
  • Confirmation of radio call sign if there is any

Ways to pay the registration fee:

  • Send a cheque for appropriate fee (payable to MCA)
  • Fill in the request to pay by credit card
  • Call the Part I registration phone number to pay via credit card 

The relevant Certificate of Registry will be issued once all the documentation is correctly complete and payed fees have been received. In addition the Carving and Marking (C&M) note will be issued with the specification how to mark the vessel. For the pleasure Yacht the vessel´s name and port of registry must be marked clearly visible on the stern.


The eligible to own a vessel registered in the UK Part 1 Shipping Register are:

Qualified or eligible owners, as:

  1. British citizens or non-United Kingdom nationals exercising their right of freedom of movement of workers or right of establishment under Article 48 or 52 of the EEC Treaty or Article 28 or 31 of the EEA Agreement;
  2. British Dependent Territories citizens
  3. British Overseas citizens;
  4. Persons who under the British Nationality Order 1981 are British subjects;
  5. Persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986 are British Nationals (Overseas); Commonwealthcitizens;
    1 citizens of a country listed in Schedule 6 to the Registration Regulations
    5.2 non-United Kingdom nationals who are settled in the United Kingdom;
    5.3 bodies corporate incorporated in a Commonwealth State;
    5.4 bodies corporate incorporated in a country listed in Schedule 6 to the Registration Regulations;
  6. Bodies corporate incorporated in the United Kingdom or in an EEA State;
  7. Bodies corporate incorporated in an EEA State;
  8. Bodies corporate incorporated in any relevant British Possession and having their principal place of business in the UK or any such possession;
  9. European Economic Interest Groupings formed in pursuance in the UK.
  10. The countries listed in Schedule 6 to the Registration Regulations are Argentina, Aruba, Bahrain, Brazil, the Canary Islands, China, the Faroe Islands, Haiti, Israel, Japan, Liberia, Madeira, the Marshall Islands, Monaco, Panama, South Korea, Switzerland, Suriname, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America

For the purpose of registering a small ship it means an owner lives in the UK for periods which add up to 185 days or more in a 12 month period. If you are a resident in the UK for tax purposes, you will generally be regarded as a resident. A vessel can be registered on Part 1 if the majority interest (i.e. 33 shares) is owned by persons qualified to be the owner/s of the vessel. The property in a vessel is divided into 64 shares.

The Uk shipping register