Ship registration privacy information notice
This privacy information notice explains how we use any personal information we collect about you when you register your vessel with us.
How we use and publish your information
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) collects and retains the personal information provided when you register your boat on:
- Part 1 Register of british ships
- Part 11 Register of fishing vessels
- Part 111 Small ships register (SSR)
- Part 1V Foreign owned ships for bareboat charter
We collect information about you to carry out our official duty and to keep the UK ship register up to date and to make sure our services are planned to meet ship owner’s needs. To check and report on how effective the MCA and the services it commissions have been. To make sure that the MCA gives value for money. We may use your information to investigate complaints, legal claims or important incidents. We may use your information for crime prevention and prosecution of offenders.
Processing your personal information is necessary for the MCA to carry out our function as the register of British ships in the United Kingdom as stated in the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. The register shall be maintained in accordance with the private law provisions for registered ships. The register shall be available for public inspection.
Whilst a boat remains in UK territorial waters there is no compulsory requirement for her to be registered. However, under merchant shipping law, the concept of ownership is inextricably linked with the requirement of registration. By registering your boat, you are then bound by your flag state’s rules and regulations. In order to enjoy the freedom of the high seas a boat must be granted the nationality of a signatory state to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (‘UNCLOS’). The Merchant Shipping Act 1995 specifies which boats are British and therefore entitled to fly the British flag. For practical purposes if a boat wishes to leave UK territorial waters a boat needs to be registered and to carry on board the appropriate certificate. If a boat is of significant value, then it is worth registering on the part 1 register to reassure potential buyers of the boats ownership and title and if the boat is subject to a marine mortgage.
How long we will retain your information
The ships register is a public record where vessel registration details are recorded on the MCA vessel registration database to produce the certification required to register a vessel. The information stored on the register is kept indefinitely to support public requests for historical transcripts and information about the vessel.
All supporting documents and personal information provided at the time of registration are stored on paper-based customer files. The active files will remain open while the vessel is registered. Once the registration is closed the paper file is stored off site in secure storage and destroyed after 7 years unless there is an outstanding mortgage on the file.
If there is an outstanding mortgage on a file, it will remain open until the mortgage is paid.
Who we share your information with
The information you provide is primarily used for vessel registration purposes but may also be used for other non-vessel registration related purposes such as checking how effective our services are. Your information may be shared with other statutory bodies/organisations to enable them to fulfil their statutory obligations.
The information will only be shared with other organisations where there is a legal obligation to do so, or with the agreement of the vessel owners or their representatives.