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Old 09-20-2013, 10:17 PM   #1
haiqu's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Home Port: Bundarra, NSW
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Default Alternative to Australian Ship Registration

According to the AMSA website the following are the requirements for registration of a yacht (under 24 metres) in Australia:

You will need

As the registration of a ship gives good title to the owners, it is necessary that the owner provide a considerable amount of information to ensure that the title claimed is fully substantiated. An application for registration must be accompanied by:
  • details of any previous registration
  • the builder's certificate
  • any encumbrance statements that are relevant
  • tonnage certificate if applicable
  • bills of sale tracing the vessel's ownership back to the builder
  • proof of the owner/s nationality
  • notice of the appointment of a registered agent
  • in order of preference, three proposed names for the ship
  • the proposed home port for the ship (this must be an approved home port).
The Registrar should be informed if you have problems tracing previous owners or the builder. He will then give you all possible advice on meeting the requirements for registration. It is essential that the documentation is correct, as mistakes once incorporated in the registration documents, can only be rectified at the direction of the courts.

The one-off registration fee is $1,190.00

But what if you don't have a full history, or a builder's certificate, or a full and traceable ownership chain? Then it becomes a nightmare. Since this requirement is only to enable registration of mortgages, it's also an unnecessary complication.

However there's an alternative. Register in New Zealand! Their requirements are much simpler ...

Part B registration is mainly for pleasure vessels that need nationality for overseas voyaging. Read about the required form, fee and application process to register your ship under Part B.
Part B registration:
  • provides a ship with New Zealand nationality when it goes on overseas voyages
  • protects a ship's name for as long as it is registered
  • lasts for five years only. It can be renewed at the end of five years if there have been no changes to the details on the Certificate of Registration. Registration automatically terminates if there are any changes in the ship’s ownership or changes made to the ship.
A person wanting to register a ship under Part B of the register needs to send Maritime New Zealand’s Registrar of Ships the following:
  • an Application for Part B Registration (form SR3). The original form must be lodged. It cannot be accepted by fax or email
  • evidence of closure of any previous overseas registration if applicable
  • a fee of NZ$720.00
Renewal fee is $576.00 every five years.

As an Australian citizen or permanent resident, anyone is entitled to live in NZ permanently and thus the residency requirements are met. My recently purchased house in NZ serves as a residential address, but if you don't have one then the address of any person who lives there will suffice. An example would be the residential address of a family member, in the case of a Kiwi living on Australia.

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Old 09-21-2013, 12:47 AM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2009
Home Port: St. Augustine FL
Vessel Name: Linnupesa
Posts: 189

Woof, that is a pricey undertaking! Or over-taking from your funds.

I can see a verification of the submitted info is justified but this seems over the top for a small vessel. For a mega$yacht its chump-change of course in relation to all else.

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Old 09-21-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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It sounds pretty much like the USCG documentation process. Same hoops to jump through but I'm thinking that one is only abour $500 USD.
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:11 AM   #4
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Posts: 127

I've registered a couple of boats over the years, both in NZ and Australia and didn't find it all that hard. I suspect that they won't be too difficult to please if you are up front with them about the difficulties in obtaining a paper trail.

The cost is high, but that seems to be the price of dealing with any Govt Dept in Australia. Have you noticed how much it costs to get a boat back into Australia?

Bear in mind that you only need Registration if you are leaving the country, other wise it is of no value.

If you consider registering in NZ and then visit there in your Kiwi registered boat, you are most likely to find that the rules applying to NZ boats leaving the country will apply to you. Last time I looked, that was Cat 1 and not a cheap exercise for a cruising boat.
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:02 PM   #5
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Posts: 1,556

I definitely agree that a Cat1 on leaving would be expensive, but recently cruisers into NZ have been refused an exit pass on the basis of the ship's condition, so it could be tricky anyhow.

Good call, HoneyBee. Might just bite the bullet and get Aussie rego after all. At least it's a once-off fee.
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