The purpose of this guide to provide information concerning the registration and documentation of yacht tenders and chase boats.
We regularly receive enquiries from owners and captains regarding the need for and/or feasibility of registering tenders and chase boats.
Within Europe and further afield it has historically been the case that small tenders carried onboard a vessel are considered to be part of the vessel's inventory and are therefore left unregistered.
Typically tenders would be marked with the name ‘T/T’ (Tender To) followed by the name of the mother-ship.
Where the tender is small and employed on the business, and in the direct vicinity and sight , of the mother-ship such practice is generally regarded as acceptable.
We would however argue that there is a strong case for the separate registration of many yacht tenders, especially large tenders and chase boats that are not carried onboard the mothership on the following basis:
Tenders are not inexpensive items. We here at Oceanskies regularly register vessels of much lower value that will operate as stand alone vessels. By effecting a full registration of the tender the owner is able to demonstrate full legal ownership. This is particularly useful when an owner may decide to sell the tender independently from the mother-ship as the Buyer has the comfort of conducting a title search at the tender’s registry to prove that the Seller is indeed the registered owner and that there are no registered mortgages or encumbrances.
Tenders and chase boats can become detached from the mother-ship and operated independently. In cases where the vessel is being operated away from the mother-ship it is advisable for the tender or chase boat to carry its own registration otherwise it is not possible to provide any proof of registration for the vessel which is contrary to international maritime law.
The mother-ship may operate in waters where the registration of all tenders is compulsory. An obvious example of this is the USA where foreign flagged yachts operate under cruising permits that cover only the mother-ship and not its tenders. The result is that tenders fall under local regulation requiring them to hold their own independent registration in order to be used lawfully. The U.S. Coast Guard website warns, “Documentation of your vessel does not cover the vessel’s tender or dinghy. These craft fall within the jurisdiction of the motorboat numbering laws of the state of principal use.”
The registered owner of the tender or chase boat will generally be the same owner as the mother-ship or, more prudently, a separate owning company established specifically to own the tender in order to ring-fence any liabilities that might arise from the tender’s operation.
In addition to effecting the full registration of the tender or chase boat, Oceanskies will also obtain a separate radio licence so that the vessel operates with its own call sign and MMSI number.
For further information concerning the registration of tenders and chase boats or general yacht registration advice please do not hesitate to contact us.