The British Register of Ships & The Red Ensign Group – A Guide


A yacht owner is faced by a bewildering variety of shipping registers vying for the opportunity of registering their yacht.

There is however one register that stand out above all other flags as the best choice for nearly any yacht of any size and type – the British Register of Ships.

It is for good reason that the British Register of Ships is the number one internationally valid title register for yachts.

No other registry can offer the same combination of tradition, reputation, prestige and quality as the British Register of Ships.

The ‘Red Ensign’ flown by all British registered yachts is widely regarded as the flag of choice for the discerning yacht owner.

The British Register of Ships is divided into a number of separate shipping registries who collectively are known as the ‘Red Ensign Group’.

The Red Ensign Group is made up from the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) and the UK Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and the Turks & Caicos Islands).

Any vessel registered in the UK, a Crown Dependency or UK Overseas Territory, is a “British Ship” and is entitled to fly the Red Ensign.

The registries forming the Red Ensign Group are divided into two categories:

Category 1

Category 1 registers are capable of registering yachts of unlimited tonnage and type. Registers are:

Bermuda;
British Virgin Islands (BVI);
Cayman Islands;
Gibraltar;
Isle of Man; and
United Kingdom.

Category 2

Category 2 registers are capable of registering yachts and pleasure vessels of up to 150 gross tons (GT). This limit can be extended to 400GT with an agreement in place with the UK. Registers are:

Anguilla;
Falkland Islands;
Guernsey;
Jersey;
Montserrat;
St Helena; and
Turks & Caicos Islands.

Oceanskies specialise in the registration of yachts under the Red Ensign.

For further information detailing the advantages of the most popular individual Red Ensign Group registries for yachts please feel free to consult our guides on the following links:

To obtain a free no obligation proposal for the registration of your vessel under the red ensign please do not hesitate to complete the following form:

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