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Shipowner Eligibility 

Part 1 Register

To qualify for Part 1 registration, the majority of shares in a vessel (33 of the 64) must be owned either by a British subject or a company registered in and having its principal place of business in a British Crown Dependency or Overseas Territory. Foreign nationals may own up to 31 shares in a vessel, provided that the remainder of the shares are in 'qualified ownership'. Any shares jointly owned by qualified and unqualified owners count as unqualified shares.

Small Ship Register

A small ship may be registered if it is owned by one or more of the following persons who are ordinarily resident in the Bailiwick of Guernsey:

(a) British Citizens

(b) British Dependant Territories citizens; British Overseas citizens; persons who under the British Nationality Act 1961 are British subjects; persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order are British Nationals Overseas, and

(c) Commonwealth citizens not falling within the above paragraphs.

For the purposes of registering a ship "ordinarily resident" means living and sleeping in the Bailiwick for a significant part of the year. A person may be considered to be ordinarily resident if they live for a period of, or periods which collectively amount to 185 days or more in a twelve month period. If you are resident in the Bailiwick for tax purposes, you will generally be regarded as resident for the purpose of registration.

About the Flag

Guernsey is a group of islands located in the English Channel to the Northwest of France. It is a British crown dependency but is not part of the UK or of the European Union. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation. Guernsey has a long and rich maritime history and throughout has held on firmly to its British identity.

Whilst there has been a British Customs & Excise presence in Guernsey since the late seventeenth century, the precise date of the commencement of recognition and operation of Guernsey as a port of British Registry is unclear. Certainly, since the 1894 UK Merchant Shipping Act, the Registry has enjoyed a most active role in providing this valuable service to commercial and private vessel owners.

In 2000 the States of Guernsey's Board of Administration, which is responsible for both Customs and Harbour departments, agreed that the Registry should transfer from Customs to the Harbour Authority to create a new 'one stop shop'. This created a single point of access for Port Control registration, (which had always been administered by the Harbour Authority) and bringing the full British Register (Part I), Fishing Vessel Register and Small Ships Register all under the same roof, from 1 January, 2001.

The Registry is administered under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2002. In 1 February, 2009 new regulations were introduced governing registration and tonnage.
Information on bareboat charter, crewing and mortgages may be found by contacting the registry.

Company Formation

Information regarding forming a company in Guernsey can be found at


There is no annual tonnage tax on British Ships registered at the port of Guernsey.
For more information, please contact the Treasury Department:
Sir Charles Frossard House
La Charroterie
St Peter Port
Channel Islands
Tel: +44 1481 717000
Fax: +44 1481 717321

Registration and Documentation

Part I Register:

In order to complete registration of a vessel, a number of documents are required as follows:

Name approval (GSR 342) (This form should be submitted by fax or email). On receipt of confirmation that the required vessel name is available, the following should be prepared and submitted in original form:
Application to register (form GC190 )
Appointment of authorized officer(s) (GC193) (for company owned vessels).
Declaration of Ownership. (GC194) for company owned shares or (GC195) for individually or jointly owned shares.
Copy of the certificate of incorporation of the company, if the vessel is corporately owned.
Title documentation. This should consist of the builder's certificate, for newly built vessels, or bills of sale for second-hand vessels. These forms are prescribed in law and advice should be sought from the Registry if there is uncertainty regarding the acceptability of any document. If the vessel is purchased from a qualified owner (see above) then further bills of sale must be produced to provide evidence of unbroken ownership back to a non-qualified owner or to the builder's certificate.
Previous Registration. Evidence of the deletion or cancellation of any previous British or foreign registration must be provided.
Tonnage measurement survey. This should be commissioned at as early a stage as possible after confirmation of the vessel name has been received from the Registry. The survey can only be carried out by certain qualified surveyors and a list is available from the Registry.
The Initial Registration fee - £280 GBP. There is no annual tonnage tax on British Ships registered at the port of Guernsey.

When the Registry has received ALL the required documents, formal marking instructions may be issued. This will include details of the official number (issued by the Registry), the register or net tonnage and the vessel's name and port of registry, to be marked on the vessel in accordance with these instructions.

On completion of the marking of the vessel, either photographic evidence, as specified by the Registry should be submitted or, if the vessel is present in Guernsey, the Registrar will schedule an inspection. When the Registrar is satisfied that vessel has been marked in accordance with Registry regulations, the Registrar will proceed to complete Registration and issue the Certificate of British Registry (commonly known as the 'blue book').

The Registry is normally able to process transactions and documentation presented on a same-day service basis. However, tonnage measurement surveys are outside the control of the Registry and applicants should ensure that sufficient time is allowed for the entire registration process to be completed. All forms are available by post or on request by email from the Registry and the most commonly used forms are also available from the Registry's website.

Fishing Vessels:

1. Registration

The registration of a fishing vessel is dealt with by the Registry of British Ships at the Harbour Office. Opening hours are 8.45 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

In order to comply with the law there are three main requirements:

1. The vessel is used for fishing for profit. This means that all or part of the catch is occasionally or exclusively sold.

2. The vessel is owned legally and beneficially either by a British subject living in the Bailiwick of Guernsey or a Company registered in and having its principal place of business in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

3. The vessel is fishing from a port in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Application will need to be made on the prescribed form (FSG37 found at the bottom of this page) and, subject to satisfactory completion, a 'GU' number will be allocated.

When the vessel has been marked as required with its GU number and name and port of registry, the Assistant Registrar or an officer representing him will inspect the vessel and, if necessary measure the vessel in accordance with the regulations.

When this has been completed satisfactorily a fishing vessel certificate will be issued and only then is the vessel properly registered to fish.

These requirements do not remove the need to register the vessel on the local register with the Harbour Office. Local registration may be applied for at the same time as Fishing Vessel registration but will not be processed until a GU number has been allocated.

2. Licensing

A fishing vessel licensing scheme for vessels fishing for profit within 3 miles of the Bailiwick coast is in place and further licensing requirements will be introduced for vessels fishing between 3 and 10 miles of the coast in the near future, when the relevant legislation has been enacted in Guernsey.

Owners of vessels with a Fishing Vessel Licence entitlement card issued by the Department of Fisheries will need to check with that Department that their entitlement is sufficient for the vessel to be registered.

Owners of vessels without the above are advised to obtain a licence or entitlement of sufficient capacity for their vessel that will allow the Sea Fisheries Committee to make arrangements for a licence to be issued.

If you have any doubts concerning your position you should contact Andrew Innes, Administrative Office, Department of Fisheries on telephone 235741.

3. Safety Regulations

Registered fishing vessels are required, by law, to have a current safety certificate. The vessel must comply fully with the Small Fishing Vessels (Safety) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations 2007. Please contact Captain A J B Pattimore, Deputy Harbour Master for further details

The amount of safety equipment and the complexity of the survey will be determined by the length of the vessel. Prospective fishing boat owners are advised to contact Captain A.J.B. Pattimore, Deputy Harbour Master on 720229 in order to understand more fully what will be required for their vessel and whether the vessel will comply with construction standards for commercial fishing vessels.

In the event that the vessel is transferring from the UK and has a current UK certificate, this will need to be presented to the Harbour Office where a Guernsey certificate maybe issued for the balance of the survey period, subject to inspection and approval.

Small Ship Register

The Small Ship Register (SSR) provides a cheap and simple alternative to full registration under the Merchant Shipping Act. The certificate of registry provided will give evidence of the British nationality of the ship when it is taken abroad.

A Small Ship Registration Certificate may not be accepted in some foreign ports if you are using your ship for 'commercial purposes' e.g. diving or chartering. The register does not enable ownership of a ship to be established nor can marine mortgages be recorded.

Registration on the SSR lasts for five years from the date of issue of the Certificate of Registry and can be renewed during the period six months prior to the date of expiry, provided no changes have occurred in the details included on the Certificate of Registry, in which case it will terminate immediately. The registration number can be retained provided application is made within three months of the expiry or termination.

The application form should be used only for the first registration of a ship and for the re-registration of a ship whose registry on the SSR has terminated or expired. A separate form for renewing the registration of a ship is available from the Guernsey registrar.

Ships cannot be on more than one part of the Register at any one time. If you have full British registration it is to your advantage to keep your ship registered on that Part rather than transfer it to the SSR. If you wish to transfer from one Part of the Register to another, it will be necessary to close the ship's current registration before the transfer can be made.

If the ship is registered on the full register at a port in the United Kingdom or the Channel Islands you may apply to register under the SSR. However, if there is recorded a mortgage or sale affecting the ship or a share in the ship the Part 1 registry will not be closed and the application will not be proceeded with. Where the applicant's name and the name of the owner on the Part 1 register differ, the applicant will have to provide a statement of entitlement signed by the present beneficial owner(s), and satisfactory evidence (e.g. bills of sale or a receipted invoice) of ownership.

Local Registration

Traditionally referred to as 'local registration', the Harbour Office operates a register of all boats 12 feet and over in length which are based in Guernsey. This is a statutory requirement and unlike Small Ship Registration is not voluntary. Failure to ensure that your vessel is registered with the Harbour Office is an offence under the Boats and Vessels (Registration, Speed Limits and Abatement of Noise), Ordinances, 1970 and 1994.

In addition, vessels using any of the moorings administered by the Harbour Authority must be properly insured with a minimum public liability cover of £1 million. Vessels which are based in the Island and registered with the Registry of British Ships under Part 1, commercial Fishing Vessels and boats on the Small Ships Register must also be registered on the Port Control Register as 'local boats'.

Bareboat Charter Registration

Guernsey Ports, Captain David Barker, Harbourmaster
Phone: +44 (0)1481 705801

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

The following class societies are authorized to serve as Recognized Organizations for all vessels in the Port of Guernsey:
American Bureau of Shipping
Bureau Veritas
Lloyd's Register of Shipping
RINA UK Limited
The following organizations are authorized to survey vessels up to 24 m in length:
The Royal Yachting Association
Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association
International Institute of Marine Surveying
MECAL Limited


Guernsey Ports, Captain David Barker, Harbourmaster
Phone: +44 (0)1481 705801


Guernsey Ports, Captain David Barker, Harbourmaster
Phone: +44 (0)1481 705801


The following fees are chargeable from 1 January 2022:
Fees chargeable in connection with vessels on Part I of the Register
First Registration,
Re-registration of a vessel previously Part I registered,
Transfer in from another British port of registry
Transfer out to another British port of registry £70
Transfer of ownership by bill of sale
Transfer by transmission,
Registration, transfer or discharge of a marine
Certificate of Provisional Registration £35
Current Transcripts,
Closed Transcripts,
Certified copy of an original document
Inspection of Register £15
Notice of Mortgage Intent £35
Renewal of Registration (every 10 years) £105
Loss / Replacement or Duplicate Certificate of Registry £70
Change of Vessel Name £70
Change of Registered Particulars of Vessel £35
Change of Registered Particulars of Owner
(address, change of name on marriage/ deed poll etc...)
Fees chargeable in connection with vessels on Part III (Small Ships Register) of the Register
First Registration
Renewal of Registration
Re-registration of a vessel previously Part III registered
Re-registration on transfer of ownership
Loss / Replacement or Duplicate Certificate of Registry £35

All fees are those in force on the date that the entry is made and must be paid prior to
the transaction being recorded.

Fees may be paid by means of:
a cheque drawn on a bank having a branch in the UK made payable to ‘States of Guernsey’
a sterling draft payable in London
by Credit or Debit Card (regrettably AmEx and Diners card are not accepted)
a British postal order
British currency (not for items submitted by post)


Ship Registration
Guernsey Ports
Captain David Barker
Harbour Office
Po Box 631
St julian's Emplacement
St Peter Port
Guernsey (United Kingdom)

+44 (0)1481 705801



Income Tax Office
P.O. Box 37
2 Cornet Street
St Peter Port
Guernsey GY1 3AZ
Channel Islands

Tel: +44 1481 724711
Fax: +44 1481 713911


Stockholm Agreement 96
IMO Convention 48
* IMO amendments 91 
* IMO amendments 93
SOLAS Convention 74
SOLAS Protocol 78
SOLAS Protocol 88
LOAD LINES Convention 66
LOAD LINES Protocol 88
TONNAGE Convention 69
COLREG  Convention 72
CSC Convention 72
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
STCW  Convention 78
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR  Convention 79
STP Agreement 71
STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76
INMARSAT amendments 94
INMARSAT amendments 98
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V)
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI)
London Convention 72
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69
CLC Convention 69
CLC Protocol 76
CLC Protocol 92
FUND Convention 71
FUND Protocol 92
FUND Protocol 2003
NUCLEAR Convention 71
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III)
PAL Protocol 76
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76
LLMC Protocol 96
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89
OPRC  Convention 90
HNS Convention 96
Cape Town Agreement 2012
SUA Convention 88
SUA Protocol 88

IMO Conventions

Status of Conventions Guernsey (Member of the Red Ensign group)

IMO Convention 48 x
SOLAS Convention 74 x
SOLAS Protocol 78 x
SOLAS Protocol 88 x
SOLAS Agreement 96 x
LOAD LINES Convention 66 x
LOAD LINES Protocol 88 x
TONNAGE Convention 69 x
COLREG Convention 72 x
CSC Convention 72 x
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
Cape Town Agreement 2012
STCW Convention 78 x
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR Convention 79 x
STP Agreement 71 x
Space STP Protocol 73 x
IMSO Convention 76 x
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65 x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V) x
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI) x
London Convention 72 x
London Convention Protocol 96 x
INTERVENTION Convention 69 x
INTERVENTION Protocol 73 x
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76 d
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76 d
FUND Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 2003 x
NUCLEAR Convention 71
PAL Convention 74 d
PAL Protocol 76 d
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02 x
LLMC Convention 76 d
LLMC Protocol 96 x
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89 x
OPRC Convention 90 x
HNS Convention 96

x= ratification

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