Pleasure craft at sea

For sailing a recreational vessel at sea, the skipper must have sufficient knowledge and skills to be able to safely undertake the intended voyage.

Definition of pleasure craft in the Dutch Ships Act

Pleasure craft are vessels which are only used as such and which do not carry passengers for remuneration. Charter vessels are not pleasure craft.

Certificate of Registry

It is not compulsory for pleasure craft sailing at sea to have a Certificate of Registry. It is, however, compulsory for seagoing vessels that are intended for commercial transport. It is recommended for pleasure craft that make international sea journeys to apply for a Certificate of Registry.

The reason for this recommendation is the following. Prior to the Certificate of Registry being issued, the property is entered in the Land Registry (Kadaster). The property is thus legally secured, which offers assurance. There must furthermore be a contact person onshore in the Netherlands who serves as a contact point for the Dutch authorities. The Certificate of Registry entitles vessels to fly the Dutch flag. Sailing internationally with a seagoing vessel without nationality can cause problems, for example when visiting foreign ports and in case of calamities. A Certificate of Registry is proof of the nationality of a seagoing vessel and comparable to a passport for a seagoing vessel. Having a Certificate of Registry prevents problems abroad.

International Certificate for Pleasure craft (ICP)

Sailing associations issue International Certificates for Pleasure craft (ICP). An ICP is expressly not a proof of nationality and registration such as the Certificate of Registry is, and it does not give the right to fly the flag of the Netherlands.

Certificate of Registry procedure

The ILT (Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate) assesses whether the property of the vessel complies with Article 311 of the Dutch Commercial Code. This results in a declaration of nationality which has to be registered at Kadaster (Dutch) within one month. The Certificate of Registry is issued following the marking of the vessel and the final registration at Kadaster.

Applying for a Certificate of Registry

The length of the vessel (either less than 24 metres, or 24 metres or more) determines the steps.

Pleasure craft of less than 24 metres in length: first entry in the ships register

When you have a pleasure craft of less than 24 metres in length, you simultaneously send in both the pleasure craft registration application form including appendices and the application form for entry in the ships register to Kadaster. The application form for entry in the ships register is available on the website of Kadaster (only in Dutch).

  • Kadaster then further processes the application with the ILT.
  • Once the vessel is entered in the ships register of Kadaster, you receive the Certificate of Registry and the tonnage certificate from the ILT. Kadaster will send you the declaration of nationality.

When a vessel less than 24 metres in length is first registered, Kadaster will ensure the measurement of the vessel and you do not need to enclose a copy of the tonnage certificate with the application form.

Pleasure craft of 24 metres in length or more

  • First have your pleasure craft of more than 24 metres in length measured by a classification society.
  • Then use the recreational craft registration application form and include all the required attachments, as well as a copy of the tonnage certificate. Send this set to the ILT.
  • You will receive a declaration of nationality.
  • Attach the declaration of nationality to the application form for the registration of the vessel in Kadaster and send this to Kadaster. The application form for entry in the ships register is available on the website of Kadaster.
  • Kadaster informs ILT that the vessel is entered in the ships register of Kadaster, after which you will receive the Certificate of Registry.

Certificate of Registry validity

The Certificate of Registry is valid for an unlimited period of time, unless one of particulars set out on the Certificate of Registry changes, for example a name change, transfer of ownership or the placement of a new engine.

Changing the Certificate of Registry

First report the changes in the particulars to Kadaster. For changes in the particulars on the Certificate of Registry, please use the form Application registration recreational craft and include all required attachments.