General guidance notes
Fishing vessels are subject to three areas of legislation. If you wish to operate a fishing vessel you are required to comply with each part. Further information is available below:
The registration of a fishing vessel is dealt with by the Registry of British Ships at Guernsey Harbours St Julian's Esplanade 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:
- The vessel must be in use for fishing for profit. This means that any part or all of the catch is occasionally or always sold;
- 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;
- The vessel is fishing from a port in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
*Full details of requirements can be found in the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations 2009
Complete and submit the form below by post and, subject to eligibility, a 'GU' number may be allocated.
FV - FSG37 Application - 2022 [382kb]
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 and the vessel has been shown to be compliant with the Code of Practice under the Small Fishing Vessels (Safety Regulations) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations, 2007, a fishing vessel registration certificate may be issued. Only then is the vessel properly registered.
These requirements do not remove the need to register the vessel on the local register with Guernsey Harbours. 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.
A fishing vessel licensing scheme for vessels fishing for profit within Bailiwick waters is in place and owners of vessels with a Fishing Vessel Licence entitlement issued by the Sea Fisheries service of the States of Guernsey will need to check that their entitlement is sufficient for the vessel to be licensed and registered.
Owners of vessels without the above are advised to obtain a licence or entitlement of sufficient capacity for their vessel before a Bailiwick Fishing Vessel Licence can be issued by Sea Fisheries.
If you have any concerns or queries concerning licensing please contact Sea Fisheries by telephone - (01481) 221161 or by email.
Vessel Safety & Training
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. Copies of the Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels are available on request from the Registry or Guernsey Harbours.
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 Guernsey Harbours in order to understand more fully what will be required for their vessel. If the vessel is a 'new build' or has not previously been used as a commercial fishing vessel a SeaFish construction certificate must be provided by the builder or a survey will need to be undertaken by Guernsey Harbours approved SeaFish accredited surveyor. Prospective applicants unsure of the construction standards for their boat are strongly recommended to arrange for early inspection and assessment by the SeaFish surveyor via the Registry.
All owners and crew working on a Bailiwick of Guernsey fishing vessel are required to ensure that they have undertaken the training courses required by the Code of Practice. These courses are provided periodically on Island but SeaFish approved courses held in the UK are also available more regularly and these training certificates are accepted locally. Details of UK courses can be found at www.seafish.org.uk
Notification of change of ownership
If you need to change the ownership or registered details of a British Sea Fishing Boat, please use the form below and email or post it to the Registry. You should complete this form with as much detail as possible.
FV - Notification of Changes - 2022 [307kb]
For further information or to discuss any queries please contact:
Registry of British Ships - Guernsey
P.O. Box 631
St Julian's Emplacement
St Peter Port
Tel: (01481) 220642 / (01481) 220673