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Owners of small ships can now register them on the Small Ships Register. SSR will provide the owner with a certificate of registration which will satisfy the port authorities as to the nationality of his or her ship when it is taken abroad.

Run by the Royal Yachting Association on behalf of the Department of Transport, registration for a period of five years will cost £10.

Before the introduction of SSR owners faced the choice of registration under Part I of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 or of not registering at all. The Part I register administered by H.M. Customs will still be available for owners of small ships who want to establish proof of ownership and be able to obtain marine mortgages. Where these facilities are not required, however, registration under the 1894 Act is unnecessarily complicated and expensive. The new Small Ships Register provides a much cheaper and simpler option for those owners who only need a certificate of registration which establishes the nationality of their vessel.

Under United Kingdom law there is an obligation to register a ship before taking it into international waters or to foreign countries. Under international law the authorities in foreign countries are entitled to see evidence of the nationality of a ship which enters their waters. From January 1984 the French authorities will enforce this provision and some other European countries may follow suit. The certificate of registration available from the Small Ships Register is an official document issued by Her Majesty’s Government through the Royal Yachting Association. It constituted the evidence of nationality required under international law and will be acceptable to authorities abroad.

When to Register
Owners of small ships may register them from 1 November 1983.

How to Register
An application form to register your ship can be obtained from:
The Royal Yachting Association,
Victoria Way,
Surrey GU21 1EQ.
Telephone No. Woking (048 62) 5022
Detailed guidance notes are enclosed with the form.

Who can Register?
Any Commonwealth citizen, including a United Kingdom citizen, who is ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, is eligible to place his or her ship on the Small Ships Register. Any one of a number of joint owners of a ship may register it provided that each of tire remaining owners is also a Commonwealth citizen ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. Owners of ships which are currently registered under Part I of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 may be able to transfer registry to the new Small Ships Register. The Royal Yachting Association will advise them.
Small ships owned by companies cannot be registered on the Small Ships Register. These must continue to be registered under Part I of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894.

What Ships can be Registered?
Any ship can be registered provided it is owned by individuals and not a company, is less than 24 metres in length and is neither a fishing vessel nor a submersible vessel. A ‘ship’ includes all pleasure craft, whether propelled by sails or an engine and whether it is made of rigid materials or is inflatable. There are various exemptions in European countries from the need to produce documentary evidence of nationality for very small vessels. The Royal Yachting Association will advise on these.

Published by The Central Office of Information.

Editors Note: This article is from Reflections No. 79 Winter 1988, page 14. It has been captured by OCR, so typos & errors are possible.

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