Guernsey Harbours operates a register of all boats 12 feet (3.66 Metres) and over in length or capable of a speed of 17 knots or more which are based in Guernsey (the 'Local Register'). This is a statutory requirement and, unlike the 'Small Ship Register', 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 Guernsey Harbours, or occupying space in any areas on States of Guernsey property 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, as commercial Fishing Vessels or on the Small Ship Register must also be registered with Guernsey Harbours as 'local boats'.
It is a legal requirement. But it also means that ownership details are available to Guernsey Harbours staff 24 hours a day and in the event of an emergency involving the boat, whether at sea or inshore, it will be possible to pass information immediately to the owner of the vessel and the emergency services.
The Registration process is straightforward and involves completing a single application form which needs to be signed by each owner or joint owner. This form must be submitted with proof of insurance.
Registration documents are available for collection at Guernsey Harbours. Boat registrations will only be processed once all relevant sections/signatures have been satisfied.
For new vessels proof of ownership must be provided which can include bills of sale or other valid proof of purchase. For second-hand vessels already on the local register the application form should have the 'previous owner' section completed and signed by the previous owner(s) or be submitted with a valid bill of sale.
Proof of insurance is required for vessels capable of speeds of 17 knots or more. However, if a vessel occupies a Guernsey Harbours mooring or is on States of Guernsey land then proof of insurance is required, regardless of its size or speed capability.
Some insurance companies require the owner to register their vessel before they issue insurance to prove ownership of the vessel.
Guernsey Harbours charges an administration fee for boat registration/re-registration transfers and replacement documents.
Number marking of boats
Once registered, a number will be allocated which should be marked on the stern of the vessel. It is important and a requirement of the legislation that this number is a distinctive colour compared to the colour of the hull. The size of the number will vary, according to the type of boat. Boats which are not capable of more than 17 knots require the number to be marked in numerals of at least one and a half inches and not more than two inches in height.
Speedboats which are capable of more than 17 knots must have the number marked in black on a white background and each numeral of the number should be at least six inches high and at least one and a quarter inches wide.
Jet-skis and other personal water craft must have the number marked in six inch high numerals on both sides of the front of the craft above the waterline in a contrasting colour to the area on which they are marked.
The number '1' should be at least three inches wide. Registration numbers are issued by Guernsey Harbours and are not automatically transferable to successive vessels in the same ownership. 'GU' registration numbers for fishing vessels are issued only by the Registry of British Ships and are not automatically transferable.
Notification of any amendments must be submitted in writing.
Guernsey Harbours charges an administration fee for boat registration/re-registration transfers.
Commercial Fishing vessels must be marked in accordance with the regulations governing vessels registered under Part II of the British Register.
Changes of ownership, owner(s) address & boat removals
All transfers of ownership or shares of ownership of vessels on the Local Register must be notified to Guernsey Harbours within 28 days of the transfer. Any changes of address affecting the owner(s) of a vessel on the Local Register must also be notified within 28 days of the change.
Guernsey Harbours charges an administration fee for changes of ownership.
If any boat on the Local Register is wrecked, broken up or permanently removed from the island, notification should be made to Guernsey Harbours within 28 days. A logbook is issued on registration of the vessel. This is an official document and should be kept in a safe but accessible place unless required for amendment by Guernsey Harbours. The Certificate of Registration must be surrendered for changes of ownership or owner's address details.