Registration and marking of a boat

lenco-marine-boats-groupWe all know that a car must be registered, but what about boats? it is compulsory to register pleasure craft, whether new or used. This registration number is used to verify that the boat complies with the regulations. It is also used by the emergency services to identify the boat. This registration number must appear in several places and its marking is subject to standards.

Registration of pleasure boats

The registration of a boat consists of registering it with the Departmental Directorates of the Territory and the Sea. It allows the administration to verify that the boat complies with regulations and safety standards. In the event of an emergency, it facilitates identification by sea rescue services. Registration information is the currency of the boat, its method of construction, type, year, and place of construction; they indicate the length and width of the hull, the first and last names of the owner as well as the place of registration and his registration number in the register. This is an eight-character number; the first two letters indicate the district of registration.

What does the registration regulations say?

The sailboats and motorboats concerned must have their registration number visible inside, in the cockpit or from the main cockpit. The marking must also appear on the hull.
It is up to the professional buyer or seller to request a certificate from a registration area.

The steps differ depending on the length of the boat.

The following boats are concerned

– Hull length less than seven meters and engine power less than 22 administrative horsepower.

– Hull length equal to or greater than seven meters using exclusively human energy to move.

– Hull length equal to or greater than seven meters with engine power equal to or greater than 22 HP.

For inland and river navigation, the following vessels are concerned

– Hull length between 2.5 and 5 meters with a power equal to or greater than 4.5 kilowatts.

– Length between 5 and 20 meters with motor.

It is possible to use paint or adhesive lettering, stickers. Without this registration number and as with a vehicle, the owner does not have permission to navigate.

The procedures for registering a pleasure boat

The registration request must be made to the Delegation for the Sea and Coast, to the services dedicated to registration.
It can be carried out via an online service or by mail by filling in the maritime waters pleasure sheet.

The following documents must be attached

– Original of the purchase invoice.

– Original of the written declaration of conformity with safety requirements provided by the manufacturer.

– Photocopy of the owner’s passport or national identity card.

When the request is processed by the competent body, the registration number is assigned. You will receive by mail a navigation ticket (or traffic map) containing this identifier. This navigation title has an unlimited lifespan except in the event of a change of situation. This card must always be on board the boat, near the cockpit.

It remains to affix this number inside and outside the boat, respecting certain rules.

Registration of commercial or fishing vessels

To be registered, the vessel must meet the registration conditions.
– Long-distance armed merchant ships or international cabotage.

– Pleasure craft over 15 meters overall.

– Certain deep-sea professional fishing vessels.

Marking of pleasure boats

Since 2009, the rules for marking boats have been changed. It is mandatory to mark the boat on the hull and inside. Marking must follow rules as to the size and color of the characters.


Internal marking

Internal marking has been mandatory since January 1, 2012. It facilitates the identification of vessels in the event of search or rescue. It must be perfectly visible so that the sailor can easily identify himself to the emergency services. The registration number must be affixed near the cockpit or inside the cockpit.

For sailboats, as for motorboats, the characters of the internal markings must be at least 1 cm high and a line thickness of at least 0.1 cm. When the height of the characters is greater than 1 cm, the line thickness is equal to 1/10 of this value.

External marking

The external marking, on the hull, depends on the type of boat.

– For sailing vessels, the name of the vessel and the initials of the registration service must appear on the stern.

– For motor vessels, the registration number must appear on both sides of the hull.

– The annexes must bear the markings of the carrier vessel.

For motorboats of less than seven meters, the height of the characters cannot be less than 4 cm, the width is 1.5 cm and the line thickness is at least 0.5 cm. Yachts under seven meters do not have to be marked.

For motorboats between 7 and 12 meters, the characters must be at least 7 cm high, 3 cm wide with a line thickness of at least 0.8 cm. Sailboats between 7 and 12 meters must have characters at least 4 cm high, 1.5 cm wide and a stroke at least 0.5 cm thick.

For motorboats over 12 meters, the characters cannot be less than 12 cm in height, 5 cm in width with a line thickness of at least 1.5 cm. The marking of sailboats over 12 meters must have characters at least 7 cm in height, 3 cm in width and 0.8 cm for the thickness of the line.

When the characters are more than 18 cm in height, the width is equal to half the height and the line thickness equal to 1/10 of their height.

The lettering must be done in Arabic numerals and Latin characters of light color on a dark background or dark color on a light background. For motorboats, the letters must be in upper case.

Vessels exempted from marking

Certain boats are exempt from marking. This is the case for boats dedicated to sports competitions.

This is also the case with boats powered only by human energy if they sail within two miles of a shelter. If the owner decides to do so, the dimensions of the characters should not be less than 4 cm in height and 1.5 cm in width with a line thickness of at least 0.5 cm.

Beach gear does not need to be marked. These are boats and machinery less than 2.5 meters long and with an engine power of less than 4.5 kW. The same is true for boats less than 3.5 meters in length propelled exclusively with the help of human energy.


Marking of commercial or fishing vessels

Fishing and commercial vessels must also be easily identifiable by their registration number. They have a specific marking, placed as high as possible above the waterline on the port and starboard sides, in a place where it is not likely to be obscured by fishing gear, at rest or in use. For boats equipped with sails, it is possible to display the marking on the sails at the same time as on the hull. The characters are subject to size standards and must be black on a white background or white on a black background. The territorial identifier is written in the statutes and the license plate must appear inside the cockpit.

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