Ships and cargoes – guidance

UK Ship Register for merchant ship and bareboat charter >100GT

Online proforma registration and guidance for owners, operators and bareboat charterers registering merchant vessels under the UK flag.


The UK Ship Register (UKSR) - part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is one of the best performing flags in the major Port State Control regimes. It has a reputation for maintaining the highest international standards.

Call +44 (0)7810 528504 to contact the out of hours Duty Surveyor for technical enquiries.

You can register with UKSR to join Part 1 (merchant ship) or Part IV (bareboat charter) for vessels over 100 GT.

If you own a private pleasure vessel, a small commercial (code) vessel or a fishing vessel, you should apply to the Registry of Shipping and Seamen.

What you’ll get under the UK flag

The advantages of Part I and Part IV registration to the ‘UK Flag’ are that:

  • it’s one of the top performing flags on the Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU ‘white lists’
  • it’s included on the US Coastguard’s Qualship 21 initiative
  • UKSR offers dedicated customer service - 24/7 assistance during and after registration
  • registration, survey and statutory certification costs are among the lowest available with no annual renewal fees
  • it meets the Paris MoU flag criteria for low risk ships so UK ships are rarely targeted for Port State Control inspections
  • International Port Facility and Security Code (ISPS) plan approvals and verification audits are free of charge to owners and operators
  • statutory surveys (except ISM, ISPS and MLC) - for eligible vessels - are delegated to classification societies without a formal appointment under the Alternative Compliance Scheme.
  • UK Tonnage Tax Incentive - alternative method of calculating corporation tax profits based on ship net tonnage

Customer support

You’ll have a dedicated customer account manager (CAM) who’ll be responsible for all administration and will take you through the registration process. Your CAM remains your point of contact for the whole time your ship is on the UK Ship Register and provides 24/7 support.

Your CAM works alongside your customer service manager (CSM) who’s a qualified surveyor responsible for any technical issues to do with your vessel.

The CSM will:

  • arrange initial registration surveys and oversee the smooth transfer of your ship to the UK Ship Register
  • co-ordinate plan approval validation of your new-buildings or modifications to your existing ship
  • organise annual and statutory surveys so your ship meets international standards of safety and pollution prevention
  • provide technical advice on the details of certification, plans and operational information for your ship before and during UK registration

Owner eligibility

Owners or bareboat charterers who want to register their vessels on UKSR must be one of the following:

  • UK citizen
  • British dependant territories citizen
  • British overseas citizen
  • company incorporated in one of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries
  • citizen of a EU member state exercising your rights under articles 48 or 52 of the EU Treaty in the UK
  • company incorporated in any British overseas possession which has its principal place of business in the UK or those possessions
  • company in an European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG)

If none of the qualified owners are resident in the UK, a representative must be appointed who is either of the following:

  • an individual resident in the UK
  • a company incorporated in one of the EEA countries with a place of business in the UK

Start registration online now

UKSR needs information about your vessel to decide if it is eligible for registration.

Use the online pro-formato submit your application or;

You can download and complete ‘Information required for UK ship registration (MSF 5547)’ and return to UKSR by email or fax:

Fax: +44 (0)23 8032 9447

When you’ve submitted this initial information, UKSR will assess the vessel’s suitability. If it’s accepted then a UKSR customer account manager will be in touch to tell you about the registration process.

If you own a private pleasure vessel, a small commercial (code) vessel or a fishing vessel, you should apply to the Registry of Shipping and Seamen.

Registry of Shipping & Seamen
MCA Cardiff
Anchor Court
Keen Road
CF24 5JW

Small ships
Telephone: +44(0)29 2044 8813

Fishing vessels
Telephone: +44(0)29 2044 8855

Pleasure vessels
Telephone: +44(0)29 2044 8866

Find out about call charges

Guide to registration and certification for Part I and Part IV

UKSR will contact you once your vessel is considered suitable for registration. We’ll guide you through the process and provide full administrative support.
You can find information about the registration process in our detailed ‘Guide to registration’ .


Read the UK Ship Register quarterly newsletter ‘Flagging up’.

Email UKSR if you’d like to receive a link to future issues by email.


Ship registration costs £124 and there’s a renewal fee of £49 every 5 years or depending on the length of your charter agreement. Renewal notices are sent to owners 3 months before the expiry date.

You can find a list of various fees and costs you may normally pay when registering a vessel on the UK Ship Register.

There’s no charge for removing a vessel from the UK flag.

UKSR registration forms and marine guidance notes

Use our registration forms, guides and notices collection to download any documents you may need throughout the registration process.

Further information: MCA guides

Ship owners may find the following guides helpful during the registration process:

Contact UK Ship Register

UK Ship Register
Telephone: +44 (0)2038 172461
Fax: +44 (0)23 8032 9447

Out of hours duty surveyor (technical enquiries)

Telephone: +44 (0)7810 528504

Customer account managers:

Annette Bowman
Telephone: +44 (0)2038 172462
Telephone: +44 (0)7767 256800

Graham Candy
Telephone: +44 (0)2038 172460
Telephone: +44 (0)7990 801954

Find out about call charges