The British Channel Island of Guernsey is a popular British ‘red ensign’ port of registry.
Oceanskies is a Guernsey based yacht documentation agency and the purpose of this guide to highlight the many advantages of the register and to introduce the Guernsey yacht registration services that we provide.
The Island of Guernsey is part of the British Isles. Guernsey is located in the English Channel in the Bay of St Malo. The Island is an independent jurisdiction and is governed by its own ‘Parliament’, the States of Guernsey but is dependent on the British Crown for the administration of foreign affairs and defence. It has become an established international finance centre, with a secure base built on political stability, low taxation and a firmly established fiscal and regulatory environment.
The British Register of Ships in Guernsey
The Guernsey Register of British Ships is a British ‘red ensign’ register administered by the States of Guernsey. The register operates autonomously with regulatory oversight provided by the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The precise date of the commencement of recognition and operation of Guernsey as a port of British Registry is unclear but certainly it has been active as a registry since at least 1894.
Port of Registry
The single Port of Registry is Guernsey. This means that the word GUERNSEY appears on the stern of all Guernsey registered vessels, (not St. Peter Port, which is the Island’s capital and main harbour).
The Flag (‘Ensign’)
Owners of Guernsey registered yachts will fly a standard undefaced plain red ensign unless the owner is a local Guernsey resident who has the ability to fly a Guernsey red ensign which is the red ensign defaced with the red cross of St George.
The Certificate of British Registry
Upon completion of registration formalities a Guernsey registered yacht is issued with a traditional A3 sized Certificate of British Registry more commonly described as the vessel’s ‘Blue Book’. The Certificate of British Registry is valid for ten years from the date of issue.
Eligibility – Yachts
The Registry is open to private yachts under 150 GT.
Yacht that will be operated for charter can be registered if under 24 metres in length.
Eligibility – Owners
To qualify for Guernsey registration, the majority of shares in a vessel (33 of the 64) must be owned either by a British subject or a company registered in and having its principal place of business in a British Crown Dependency or British Overseas Territory.
Summary of Features & Benefits of Yacht Registration in Guernsey
- Guernsey is a neutral, politically stable and well-regarded jurisdiction that has been white-listed as a transparent and well-regulated offshore finance centre
- Member of the coveted ‘Red Ensign Group’ of British ship registries and Guernsey yacht registration enables the prestigious red ensign to be flown
- Government funded, operated, backed and staffed ship registry
- Regulated by the United Kingdom’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA)
- Neutral port of registry marked on the vessel, with ‘Guernsey’, holding the reputation of a quality register that is familiar to port and customs authorities around the world
- No priority or rush fees – all applications are dealt with on a timely basis
- Wealth of experience – many yachts current on the register
- Competitive registry fees with no tonnage tax or other annual ship registry fees
- No insurance premium tax (6% in UK)
- European time zone
- Guernsey registration is valid internationally and documentation issued in English so widely understood.
- Guernseey registered yachts do not have to ever physically visit Guernsey
- Ability to obtain a provisional registration to cover vessel for navigation immediately after purchase
- The Guernsey Register of Ships provides proof of title and enables the owner to register a mortgage on the vessel
- Certificate of British Registry is valid for ten years and at the end of the ten year validity period the process for renewing the registration for a further ten years is very easy<
- Guernsey is fiscally located outside the VAT territory of the EU making the register useful for non EU resident owners wanting to operate VAT free in Europe and who are eligible to do so under Temporary Admission (Temporary Importation) relief
- Yachts can be coded and operated as commercial charter yachts on the register
- Guernsey has minimal nationality restrictions giving yacht owners flexibility in whom they employ as crew onboard their vessel
- Guernsey registered yachts are entitled to diplomatic protection, British consular assistance and Royal Naval protection (dependent on availability of assets/& nature of the threat)
Guernsey Yacht Registration By Oceanskies
Oceanskies is based in Guernsey and provides a fixed fee yacht registration service to all yacht owners wishing to take advantage of the benefits of Guernsey registration for their yacht.
The registration service results in Oceanskies taking responsibility for the entire registration process on behalf of the owner.
Our fees include all registry fees and disbursements providing the internationally recognised Guernsey Certificate of British Registry valid for ten years and a lifetime radio licence allocating the vessel’s call sign and MMSI number.
Crew Employment & Payroll for Guernsey Registered Yachts
Through Oceanskies Crew Limited we are able to provide crew payroll outsourcing services from the Channel Islands for crew working onboard Guernsey registered vessels.
This service is a very popular ‘bolt on’ service for our clients as it simplifies the employment of the crew of their Guernsey registered yacht.
The yacht owner engages Oceanskies Crew Limited to employ and pay the crew of their vessel through a crew services agreement. As employers, Oceanskies Crew Limited issues the crew with contracts in line with the Marine Labour Convention guidelines, pays them, issues payslips, sea service testimonials etc.
For further information please refer to the crew employment and payroll section of our website at the following link:
Other Guernsey Yacht Registration Services by Oceanskies
Oceanskies are able to provide a range of stand-alone fixed fee additional registration services including:
- Provision of Guernsey Representative Person enabling non Guernsey resident owners access to the register where their vessel is greater than 24 metres in length;
- Registration of new owner details in event of vessel transferring to a new owner qualified to maintain the Guernsey registration of the vessel;
- Drafting of sale documents such as a Bill of Sale in the Guernsey format and any supporting documentation required by the Buyer of the vessel;
- Transfers of vessel registration to Guernsey from other British Registries of Ships, (and vice versa);
- Performance of tonnage surveys and issue of Certificates of Survey for Guernsey registration;
- Effect change of vessel name;
- Make amendments to registered particulars of vessel;
- Renew registrations at end of ten year validity period;
- Manufacture and supply of tonnage plates displaying official number and tonnage for Carving & Marking purposes;
- Registration / discharge of marine mortgages;
- Arrange deletion / cancellation of Guernsey registration to provide a Closed Transcript of Registry (Deletion Certificate); and
- Obtain Current Transcripts of Registry to provide at the time of issue a ‘snapshot’ of the register confirming:
– Vessel dimensions and particulars such as the builder, length, breadth, tonnage, year of build and engine details;
– Details of the current registered owner; and
– Details of any mortgages or encumbrances such as a bank loan registered against the vessel.
Please do not hesitate to contact for a free no obligation proposal for any of our Guernsey yacht registration services or any general yacht registration query that you might have.