A guide to yacht and superyacht registration in Jersey

With thanks to Jersey Ships' Registry

As a well-known and popular flag choice for luxury yachts and commercial vessels, the island of Jersey offers numerous advantages for a registered vessel. Yachting Pages spoke to Jersey Ship’s Registry, who explained why it may be beneficial to register using the flag and how to go about it.

A background to Jersey

Highly influenced by French culture, language and cuisine, Jersey lies in the Bay of Mont St Michel and is the largest of the Channel Islands. The sea has made Jersey what it is, contributing to the island’s identity, with a coastline that hosts many reminders of the ship builder’s yards from the past.

Jersey Ship’s Registry

The Jersey Ship’s Registry has been active for over 200 years and the first recorded vessel on the Register in 1803 was a foreign-built ship called ‘Nelson’, which was 82 feet in length with three masts and a figurine at the bow.

Since then, Jersey has developed a competent, well-regulated and expanding register, adapted to fast cruising yachts and high-powered motor vessels which have evolved from Brigantines and Cutters in the early years.

At present, Jersey has over 2,000 vessels on the register and these can be seen throughout the marinas and moorings anywhere from Acapulco to Zanzibar. Jersey itself plays host to a large number of these registered vessels within the three marinas which form part of St Helier harbour.

An established finance service

Jersey is also an established, respected and well-regulated offshore finance centre. Within this are the requisite maritime banking, administrative and legal expertise in company formation for the full ownership and management of vessels of all kinds. Thus a full service is available within the Island, including the on-going administration, vessel management and accounting for all types of pleasure and commercial yachts.

A member of the British Red Ensign Group

Registering with the Jersey flag will ensure all British Consular services and support will be available when abroad. As a member of the coveted Red Ensign Group (those British crown dependencies and overseas territories that have such registries), the Jersey Registry is monitored by the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), who ensures their members’ corporate integrity and administrative competence. Their involvement, however, is not restrictive and aims to encourage and provide guidelines for all processes regarding registration.

Read more on the benefits of registering under a British Red Ensign flag.

An efficient registry

From 1st June 2004, the Jersey Registry has been governed in accordance with the Shipping (Jersey) Law 2002. The register specialises in pleasure and commercial yachts up to a limit of 400 tonnes gross, and Jersey Ship’s Registry pride themselves in registering on average 150 new vessels each year. In addition to new registrations, they also deal with between 800 and 1000 transactions regarding existing craft already on the register, so the efficiency and speed of turnaround is paramount to the popularity of the registry.


There is now a wider scope of eligibility for those wishing to register in Jersey. Broadly speaking, owners may be British, Commonwealth or EU individuals and companies, with their principal place of business in an appropriate jurisdiction. In order to have a bona fide link with the island, owners will need to nominate a representative person (or company) based in Jersey and a sample list of bodies prepared to offer this service is available.

Valid for 10 years

As long as ownership doesn’t change, the certificate of registry is valid for 10 years – where as other red ensign group registries are valid for only five years. Upon change of ownership the period commences again for another 10 years.

How to register

A number of steps will need to be followed in order to register, however the process can be completed by following the simple steps laid out by the Jersey Ships’ Registry.

For more information contact Jersey Ships’ Registry or visit their website at www.ports.je/shipsregistry, where links to downloadable forms, as well as checklists for how to register can be found.

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