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A Quick Guide to Registering Your Explorer Yacht in Jersey.

All yachts must have registration in a fixed jurisdiction, and our Explorer Yacht Vanguard is no exception. We initially envisaged a registration in the USA but changed our minds due to the impossibility of obtaining adequate insurance.

Our next choice was the Red Ensign of the UK and Commonwealth nations. I spent most of my sea time under the Red Ensign. I have a nostalgic connection. We chose Jersey Registry in the same way as Hull No 1 (Mobius). We were provisionally accepted by Pantaneous Insurance, who we discovered also insured Mobius and were familiar with the design and her performance.

Registering is not a complicated process but is also one where not many of us have much direct experience. So this is how we did it.

Ownership of our Explorer Yacht

Ownership - it is typical practice in the USA to keep significant assets in individual companies (LLC), locally known as "pass-through entities." This helps minimize collateral risks in the case of litigation. We used a local firm to register her with a single entity LLC in Newport, RI, USA.


We then contacted the Jersey Small Ship Registry. The staff reply promptly and are a dream to work with, seeming well aware of the novice status of each applicant. The first step is to appoint a local representative.

  • We used Pierce Barker, a super nice chap, and completed form JR08 - "Appointment of a Local Representative."

  • You will then need to complete an application to register your chosen name using form JR01 - "Application to Register an Individual" OR JR01A - "Application to Register a Company." We did this, allowing us three months to arrange the correct documentation.

  • Form JR25 contains details of the applicable fees.

Note 1: they will need original wet ink copies of all documents submitted except the final JR10 - "Ships Carving and Marking Note."

Note 2: on this and subsequent forms, it is necessary to sign as the corporate body (owning the vessel) and the individual (possessing the Body Corporate or LLC). The two are the same signature but, in law, different entities.

Final Registry

The next act to organize is the Tonnage Survey.

  • Use the International Institute of Marine Surveying form, MCA-V8-09-10-18.

Tonnage Surveys are conducted by a surveyor approved and accepted by the Jersey Registry. We used Joe Rowles, our UK MCA surveyor appointed by the British Government (UK MCA) and, by default, acceptable to the Jersey Registry. It's a mathematical exercise calculating the Gross Registered Tonnage of the vessel and has nothing to do with its displacement. More like how many barrels of tar or tobacco it can carry. Bizarrely, you pay for this, but it's sent directly to the Registry. Please don't ask me why; I am clueless.

You will need several documents for the next stage. If you have registered through a company, then you will need copies of the following:

  • For the LLC, an original copy of the Certificate of Incorporation, including details of the beneficial owners of that corporate body and Articles of Association.

  • An original copy of Form JR05 - "Declaration of Eligibility/Appointment of a Representative Person" dated after the Bill of Sale or Proof of Ownership from the Yard.

  • The Builders Certificate can come from the Yard or use form JR03 - "Builders Certificate ." If from the Yard, it must contain all the information requested on JR03.

  • Proof of Ownership from the Yard. In Turkey, this is issued when the keel is first laid, i.e., you own the construction from Day 1.

  • A "Sanctions Letter" complying with the UK and EU Economic Sanctions and declaring that you are not Russian, like Vodka or an otherwise sanctioned individual or corporate entity.

  • Form JR25 contains a schedule of fees for this stage. They can be paid by card over the telephone and are very reasonable.

The last act

Complete all the above, and you are nearly there. The final stage is to attach the name and Port of Registry (Jersey) in a way compliant with the requirements of:

  • Form JR10- "Ships Carving and Marking Note."

The Jersey Registry will send this form to you for completion. The name and Port of Registry are affixed to the Stern and Tonnage Plate to some substantial hull members. Take photographic evidence of this and send it back to the Registry.

Now have a good day.

  • Welcome to the avowed protection of His Brittanic Majesty's Royal Navy and:

  • Welcome to the ancient Bailiwick of the Channel Island of Jersey.

Chris Ligh-Jones

If you ever visit Jersey, it takes about an hour to drive around the Island and end up where you started! Stay a while; there is plenty of history to discover.

Our Explorer Yacht Tender

We have a 5m water jet tender under construction at Habbeke shipyard in the Netherlands. Under US Coast Guard's purview, it is illegal to operate an unregistered tender when "carrying passengers or out of the line of sight of the mother ship". Other jurisdictions have similar restrictions, so we will similarly register the tender in Jersey. (we also get an independent AIS address for this to help track her). Same process as above. It may be a bit of a pain with a cruising license, but it is better to be legal if staying a while.

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