Registering Your Yacht
With the exception of some boats used on the inland waterways, there is no legal requirement to register boats based or used for recreational purposes in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and United Kingdom and associated territorial waters. There are however, a number of different registers available to boat owners in Ireland and this page aims to provide some information on these.
ISA Small Craft Register
For a number of years the ISA provided an ISA Small Craft Registry Certificate to boat owners who needed some form of documentation when visiting foreign ports. This was not a Government endorsed document and during a consultation on other matters with the Department of Transport in 2014 the Department requested the ISA to cease operating their registry.
Sail Numbers Sailing Yachts
Probably the most visible statement of Irish identity for sailing yachts; any sailing yacht based in Ireland is entitled to apply to the ISA for an IRL sail number. While it is essential for anyone planning on racing, most cruising boats will also have an IRL sail number. Once issued these sail numbers stay with the boat for life. Boats cruising abroad should also look at one of the other forms of registration detailed below.
Irish Ships Register – Sailing & motor yachts cruising abroad
The Irish Register of Shipping provides state registration for all Irish vessels including recreational craft. It is accessed through the Mercantile Marine Office in the Department of Transport. The registration process includes affirmation of ownership, tax status and a survey of the vessel. Inclusion on this register provides full entitlements for vessels cruising outside of The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and United Kingdom and associated territorial waters as set out in the Mercantile Marine Act 1955
Contact details for Mercantile Marine Office
Waterways Ireland – Some motor boats used on Erne System, Shannon-Erne Waterway & Shannon Navigation
All boats with an engine capacity of more than 10bhp on the Erne System and 15bhp on the Shannon-Erne Waterway and the Shannon Navigation must be registered with the Waterways Ireland Inspectorate. Note that the ISA will accommodate us of Waterways Ireland registration numbers when applying for the ISA Small Craft Register.
More details on Waterways Ireland here