Vessel registration and travelling abroad

Registering and insuring vessels

It is a legal requirement to register

  • any ship that has a length of three metres of more or
  • any ship designated for or capable of speeds in excess of 12 knots

Application for registration must be made by the owner of the ship, accompanied by a fee of £20 and proof of insurance. The registration will remain effective until such time as

  • there is a transfer of ownership or
  • a change occurs that results in alteration of any details recorded on the register

The owner of the ship at the time or immediately prior to the time of change must give written notice within 28 days if, for any reason, a vessel registration ceases to have effect.


Local registration is not a legal requirement if the ship is:

  • owned by a non-resident and is visiting Jersey for a total of three months or less in any 12 month period
  • owned by a department of Her Majesty’s Government or
  • manually propelled and has no mechanical or wind assisted propulsion fitted to it. It is, however, required that any ship meeting these criteria must have its owners’ telephone number or name and address clearly displayed on it.

Although surf boards, kayaks, paddle boards, etc are not required to be registered by law, it is an offence to ride the surf on any ship of over 1.54 metres in length and 0.6 metres in width with a fin for steering purposes, without appropriate insurance cover in force.

How to register your vessel

To register your vessel:

  1. print out and complete the Ship Application Registration Form
  2. take or send it to the Marine Leisure Centre located on the New North Quay

You will receive a certificate of registry once your vessel has been registered. You will need to keep this in order to change the ownership of your vessel.

Change of owner or vessel detail

Any change in owner or vessel detail must be declared to Jersey Marinas within seven days of the date of change. This is to ensure sea rescue, owner contact and vessel information is accurate and up to date.

The current registered owner should be in possession of a ‘Certificate of Registry’ relating to the vessel. This document (similar to a car log book) must be completed and returned to Jersey Marinas to officially notify a change of owner or vessel details.

The new owner(s) must then submit an application for a new registration document to be issued in their name before the vessel can be used in local waters.  If the original certificate cannot be located, a replacement can be issued to the registered owner on request.

Changes might include

  • change in vessel detail (colour, engine size, modification to topsides / hull)
  • change in ownership details, change of owner or addition / removal of a joint owner
  • change of owner address / contact detail
  • destruction / disposal of craft, other than sale
  • sale of craft if outside Jersey

Surf-rider regulations

You can register your surf-rider in one of two ways:

You must take a valid insurance certificate with you when registering through either method. It is an offence to ride the surf on any vessel over 1.54 metres in length and 0.6 metres in width, with a fin for steering purposes without appropriate insurance.

Vessels visiting Jersey

If you are staying in Jersey for longer than three months in any 12 month period, you must:

  • register the vessel at the Marine Leisure Centre
  • maintain third party insurance

All vessels sailing to mainland Europe

You must ensure you have:

  • a certificate of Small Ships Registry (SSR)
  • the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) International Certificate of Competence
  • copies of all papers regarding your vessel, including insurance

French patrols

The French authorities make regular patrols of coastal marinas and waterways and frequently request to board or inspect visiting craft and their paperwork.

It is the responsibility of the vessel’s captain or owner to ensure that the necessary documentation is present and correct. On the spot fines and/or impounding of the vessel may occur without these documents. This is standard practice for the French authorities.

Jersey vessels sailing internationally

Your vessel must be registered on a national register if sailing internationally and display the flag of the country from where it is registered.

You can use one of two registers for this purpose.

Small Ships’ Register

Valid for five years, this registration certificate is unique to the vessel and is not transferable. Application can be made by individuals only (not companies) who are ordinarily resident in Jersey, but is limited to ships under 24 metres or 79 feet in length.

Small Ships’ Register

Full registration with the British Register of Ships

Recognised worldwide, a full registration certificate provides documentary evidence of title, ownership and nationality of a vessel.

More information about these registers, including application forms, can be found here.

British Register of Ships

Insurance requirements

You are legally required to have third party insurance whenever your vessel is residing on or in Jersey territorial waters. This includes any type of mooring or if it is sited in or on any properties owned or administered by Jersey Harbours.

Exemptions to the insurance requirement

Insurance is not required if the ship is manually propelled and has no mechanical or wind assisted propulsion fitted to it.

You must display your telephone number or name and address on your vessel if it meets this criteria.

Should you require further information, contact the Marine Leisure Centre on +44 (0) 1534 447730 or  email the Marine Leisure Centre.