Foreign Flag Registration (revisited)

We are a family of 2 adults and four (soon to be five!) children about to embark on full-time cruising. We have ordered the Mariner’s Weather Handbook + CD and eagerly await its arrival.

In the meantime we have a burning question for which we cannot seem to find a clear answer. If the answer is in your Encyclopedia, just point us in that direction. We do plan to buy it, but are trying to pace ourselves on literature since one can only read so much at once. Anyway…

We are refitting an old Royal National Lifeboat here in England. We cannot register it here (unless we incorporate in the UK for the purpose) since we are not British citizens.

Our choices seem to be US Registration, or registration in the Grand Cayman Islands or some other offshore entity. Do you have any thoughts on the pros and cons of registering in various places? So far all we have found is a brief reference in “Voyaging Under Power” stating that really official US Registration papers can be helpful.

What do you think? Thanks, Russ & Karla & Crew

Hi Russ and Karla: There is a chapter in Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia on “flags of convenience”.

In general, most countries that allow flags of convenience will not allow a non-citizen to register the boat, as you have found in the UK. This is also the case in Grand Cayman, Bermuda, and the Channel Islands.

Being US Citizens the easiest thing is probably a US registration. Check with the US Embassy in London and they can tell you how to go about the process when you are in the UK.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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