1) What is Part III of the Register?
Part III (commonly called the Small Ships Register - SSR) is for ships which want only simple registration; it does not register title and you cannot register mortgages on this part of the Register. It provides an inexpensive, simple registration which proves the ships nationality (a kind of passport).

2) What is a small ship?
A small ship is one which is less than 24 metres (79 feet) in overall length. The following ships cannot be registered on Part III
  • those owned by a company
  • those over 24 metres in length
  • fishing or submersible vessels

3) Who may register a small ship?
A small ship may be registered if all of the owners are 'ordinarily resident' in the UK:-
  • British citizens

  • Persons who are nationals of a European Union or European Economic Area country other than the United Kingdom and are established * in the UK

  • British Dependant Territories citizens; British Overseas citizens; persons who under the British Nationality Act 1991 are British subjects; persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order are British Nationals Overseas, and

  • Commonwealth citizens not falling within those paragraphs.

* Established It is not sufficient to live in the UK to be established in accordance with Articles 48 and 52 of the EU Treaty. To be established a person must make an economic contribution to the UK by being the proprietor of a business, being employed, or having very recently retired from such employment. i.e. within the last 6 months. If you have any doubts about your establishment you should consult the Registry.

4) What does ordinarily resident mean?
For the purposes of registering a ship it means living and sleeping in the UK for a significant part of the year. A person may be considered to be ordinarily resident in the country in which they live for a period of, or periods, which collectively amount to 185 days or more in a twelve month period.

5) Can my ship be registered on Part I and Part III?
Ships cannot be on more than one part of the Register at any one time. If you have Part I 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 ships current registration before the transfer can be made.

6) How long does SSR registration last?
Registration on Part III of the Register lasts for 5 years. The date of expiry is shown on the ships certificate of registry. You may apply to renew the ships registration up to 3 months before the certificate expires. Registration ceases immediately if a ship is sold or any details change which appear on the certificate of registry. Where this happens the registered owner must return the certificate with a brief explanation of the circumstances of any change. You must also notify the Registry of any change of address.

7) Ship Names
Ships will not be registered if they have undesirable or offensive names or which might cause confusion; e.g. if prefixed by FV or HMS. Names such as SOS, MAYDAY or LIFEBOAT will not be allowed. Ships must have a name before they can be registered.

8) Measuring the Ship
In most cases owners may measure the overall length of the ship themselves (see question 4 on the application form). 'Overall length' is the distance between the foreside of the foremost fixed structure and the aftside of the aftermost permanently fixed structure of the ship. The diagrams below show between which points on most ships the measurements should be made. On multi-hulled craft, the longest hull should be measured. If you are in difficulty or require advice on measuring craft of novel design, or the vessel is found to be 24 metres or a little more in overall length you may seek assistance from the Royal Yachting Association or a qualified naval architect or ships surveyor. They may be able to confirm that the ship is less than 24 metres in length when measured in accordance with the formula contained in the Convention on Tonnage Measurements of Ships, 1969 and that it is therefore eligible to qualify for entry onto the SSR.

However, applications for such vessels cannot be made on-line and must be made using hard-copy application forms which are available from the Registry (see Contact Information link). This is because applicants must have a Statement of Length at the end of their application form, signed by a qualified naval architect or ship surveyor, stating that the ship is less than 24 metres in length when measured in accordance with the formula contained in the Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969.

9) Definitions
  • Sailing Yacht:- boat primarily propelled by sails (larger than a dinghy) with a fixed keel or cabin
  • Motor yacht:- large boat largely propelled with an engine either steam or internal combustion including cabin cruisers
  • Dinghy:- all types of dinghy including rowboats and small sailing vessels without a fixed keel or cabin
  • Motor sailer:- boat propelled by engine or sails with a keel and cabin
  • Inflatable:- including rigid and non-rigid types
  • Sportsboat:- including powerboats and launches
  • Barge:- all types including houseboats
  • Wet bike:- including jet skis, etc.
  • Motor Cruiser:- All types of motor driven vessels which are not described above
  • Rowing Boat:- All types of vessels propelled by oars
  • Other vessel type:- anything which does not easily fit into the above types