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The German Ship´s Registry

Have you ever ask yourself how can a big M/Y be carved in Berlin? How is that possible if Berlin has no see?

The German Ship´s Registry or “Schiffsregister” is a public registry  part of the German Registrar of Companies in one of the 17  the District Court “Amtsgericht”  from the town in which the Port is located (see, lake or river)  and has as prior function the publicity of the ownership of vessels  flying German flag and all the charges and encumbrances that burdens it (f.e. mortgage). A vessel is obliged to be recorded if LOA is more than 15 m.

There are mainly four different Registries:

  • Ships Registry or “Seeschiffsregister”. In this Registry are recorded the Ships flying voluntary or obligatory German flag; there is obligation of recording if the owner is German citizen and has his domicile in Germany and if the Vessel is over LOA 15 m.


  • Inland Waterway Registry or “Binnenschiffsregister” ( for vessels mainly destined to sail in inland waters like lakes and rivers no matter ).  In this Registry there is obligation of recording by pleasure crafts over 20 Tn. 10 m3 displacement, in other cases is voluntary. Other from the “Seeschiffsregister” in this Registry recording of ships can be ordered by non German citizens.


  • Registry for Ships under Construction


  • There are also private registration, like the ones from ADAC (“Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobile Club”) that grant the so called International Bootschein (IBS) or International Boat L Motorised small motor craft (recreational craft) with an engine power of more than 2.21 kW (3 hp) and sailing boats without an engine with a hull length of more than 5.50 m admitted for sailing in  German inland waterways is also valid on foreign inland and coastal waters as well as on German inland waterways as an officially recognised boat registration.

Ownership and seaworthiness after official inspection is shown by the “Schiffszertifikat” if the vessel is recorded in a “Schiffsregister” or through a “Schiffsmessebrief” if it is in a “Binnenschiffsregister”.

Necessary documents for the registration of the ship’s registry:

  • Application and registration forms obtained from the office of the District Court
  • Ownership document proprietary document (bill of sale, invoice, customs clearance , registration of the shipbuilding etc.), a copy of the identity card or passport, and the measurement required letter


  • Seaworthiness (Marine Inspection Surveoyrs Certificate l,  Cetrtificate of Building or “Bauzeugnis”a.) The seaworthiness is obtained at the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic “Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie


  • Decision on the acquisition of the exercise of a commercial activity (for example in charter activity)


  • Copy of valid boot liability insurance if the vehicle has more power than 15kW


  • Certificate, with the water displacement and sustainability of vessels/boats to engage if economic activity is requested


  • Declaration for the exercise of economic activity is granted

For further queries, we remind IURISNAUTIC and its team is also German speaking and has experience and local  collaborators in Germany and will be happy to help you in any registrar matters at yachts sales.

Carlos Espinosa

Solicitor & Tax Adviser

+34 627 41 32 01 

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