Entry in the German shipping register of seagoing ships

Yachts financed under German law are entered in the German ship register in Hamburg for a purchase price of EUR 150,000 or more. The type of registration also depends on the credit protection of the yacht financing – security transfer or mortgage. The various registers of seagoing vessels are kept by a specific district court. The register in which ships are entered depends on the home port of the ship. Hamburg is always regarded as the home port for legal reasons.

In this respect, as a customer, you will also receive the service directly from Go Boating. We contact the relevant court, submit the necessary entry applications to the ship register and take care of the preparation and forwarding of the required documents. We can also obtain all boat documents directly from the seller.

The following points may be particularly important for you as the owner and should be clarified with us in good time before entering your ship in the register:

[1] MMSI number and U signal for ships to be registered: If you need it urgently (e.g. programming of radio or EPIRB devices), please contact us in advance before entering the ship in the register of ships. We will send you the corresponding application and take care of the allocation by the Federal Network Agency (BNA).

[2] Photos of the yacht: photos of the ship are required in order to have the tonnage certificate required for registration drawn up by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) in Rostock. Views from aft, obliquely aft, sideways and obliquely forward are required. We usually request these photos directly from the seller. However, we often ask the customers for help. No entry can be made without these photos.

[3] Excess lengths when registering boats: Excess lengths of the ship lead to a deviation between the hull length and the length overall. In the case of special equipment (e.g. Davids, swimming platforms, bowsprits), the actual lengths of the ships sometimes do not match the information from the manufacturer, seller and brochure. If required, please provide the correct details of your ship well in advance. Otherwise, the tonnage certificate and entry in the German shipping register at the competent district court cannot take place.

[4] Discharge certificates are required if you purchase a used boat. According to the law, you must be able to prove that the seagoing ship was deregistered by the previous owner. Otherwise, loan disbursement and transfer of ownership of the yacht may be delayed. If you, as the new owner, have not registered your yacht to be financed anywhere, the German shipping register may require a so-called non-registration certificate for your ship.

[5] Obligation to register: depending on the length of the boat, the travel area (whether a sea or inland waters) or the use of the yacht (e.g. charter), there may be an obligation to register the ships, compliance with which is generally the responsibility of the skipper and borrower. If an obligation to register your vessel in the register is relevant in your case, please contact us at an early stage. If possible, we will then submit urgent applications for registration at the respective district court and prioritise your process. If necessary, please assist, as the owner, to obtain all documents of the ship in advance, such as correct information on length, discharge certificates and corresponding photos.

Attention: The registration of seagoing vessels in the German shipping register in Hamburg can take several weeks to a few months at the court in individual cases. However, on request, the competent district court will issue an official confirmation of receipt of the application. It is used to apply for the U signal at the Federal Network Agency (BNA) and is also recognised in most countries as a provisional entry in the register.

Seagoing vessel, inland waterway vessel and recreational craft – Which register must your vessel be entered in?

If the hull length of a seagoing vessel exceeds 15 m, entry in the register of seagoing vessels is mandatory.

In addition to the register of seagoing vessels, there is the register of inland waterway vessels. Which ship register is the right one depends decisively on the travel area. Inland waterway vessels are all vessels used for navigation on inland waters, e.g. rivers. An inland waterway vessel with a water displacement of 10 tonnes or more must be entered in the register.

Whether a recreational craft (sailing and motor yachts) is entered in the register of seagoing vessels or in the register of inland vessels also depends on the size and travel area. With a hull length of less than 15 m, an owner can register his vessel voluntarily, and the recreational craft must be entered in the register of seagoing vessels.

Why is registration in the register of vessels necessary?

Regardless of whether the vessel is a seagoing vessel or an inland waterway vessel, it also makes sense to enter it in the register of vessels for other reasons. Each registered vessel shall disclose the nationality of the owner and can be easily identifiable. In addition, ownership of a seagoing vessel or inland waterway vessel and ship mortgages can be recorded.

Flagging and flagging out – what should be considered when registering in the ship register?

If a seagoing vessel belonging to a German owner is flagged out for a limited period of time, it remains entered in the German register of seagoing vessels. In this case, an owner has the right to temporarily fly a foreign flag at sea. The approval shall be recorded in the register. According to the law, German owners are only permitted to fly a foreign flag on a ship under certain conditions, such as the creation of training positions.

Ship registration is therefore usually easier when changing flag, since the German owners have already entered their ship in the seagoing ship register and only sail under a foreign flag for a limited period of time.

Contact us, we look forward to advising you!

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