18 September 2013

Registering Your Boat (Pt 2) - Ireland (UPDATED)

The Irish Flag
Green represents the Gaelic tradition of Ireland,
orange represents the followers of William of Orange and
white represents aspiration of peace between them
When Scott and I buy our next sailboat in the States, we'll need to register her as we'll be taking her offshore. As we have dual citizenship (USA and Ireland) and are permanent residents of New Zealand, we have choices about where to register our boat. I've already had a look at what's involved in registering a boat in New Zealand and now it's time to check out the process for Ireland.

If you're just using your boat in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom and associated territorial waters, then you don't need to bother with registration. However, like in New Zealand, if you want to race your boat locally then you do need to apply to the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and get an Irish sail number. You can also choose to register your boat with the ISA Small Craft Register which gives you an identification mark. The good news is that it will cost you just €15 if you are an ISA member. Some people cruising abroad choose to go with just the Small Craft Register. However, the good folk at the ISA are at great pains to point out that this does not provide proof of ownership or substitute for being nationally registered. So while the fee of €15 sounds good, it just won't cut it if you're going offshore.
Instead, you have to head over to the Mercantile Marine Office in the Department of Transport and prove you own the boat, confirm your tax status and provide a survey. And this is where it gets tricky as it is very difficult to find information online about the details about what you need to do and how you have to do it. It seems to be a bit like when I renewed my Irish passport. You can't download an application directly from the embassy's website in New Zealand. No, no, no. That would be too easy. Instead you have to email or phone and request that an application be posted out to you. Assuming that this process works something like that, I sent off an email to the Mercantile Marine Office. And I waited for a response. And I waited some more. And then I lost interest and gave up.

While I was waiting, I did some more internet searching and found someone had asked the same question on the Cruisers Forum a few years ago and the response they got back was to "Forget Ireland as a country of registration, it's a very difficult process specifically designed for large merchant ships and very unsuitable to pleasure craft. It also requires the craft to be physically present in Ireland." It is about the only information I have been able to easily find on the process. I'm looking for a hassle-free (and cheap) way to register our boat. Ireland doesn't look like it will be the answer. That's okay because they are the answer to so many other things like shamrocks, Irish coffee, friendly people in the pubs, friendly sheep in the fields and best of all the ancient tomb and temple at Newgrange. It is older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid in Egypt. You should visit. It is really cool.


I’ve now heard from the Mercantile Marine Office at the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport regarding the process for registering your boat. Here is what you need to do:
  • Choose a port of registration – you can pick from Arklow, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Skibbereen, Sligo, Tralee, Waterford, Westport or Wexford.
  • Get your boat name approved – it has to be unique so check first with the Mercantile Marine Office to see if anyone else has it.
  • Then it is time to fill out a bunch of forms and get documents together: (1) Form GR342 – to apply to use your proposed boat name. Provide your details, the boat name, builder’s details, type of boat, what trade the boat will be used for and tonnage. (2) Survey 6 – to make arrangement with the Marine Survey Office to get a Tonnage Survey and get your boat officially measured. (3) Survey 118 - provides a Certificate of Particulars of Engines. Builders Certificate – if your boat has never been registered. (4) Certificate of Deletion – if your boat has been registered outside of Ireland. (5) Bill of Sale showing the transfer of sale from the previous owners to you.
  • And then of course you have to hand over some money. The Tonnage Survey fee for boats based in Ireland is €165 for pleasure craft less than 15m and €272 if greater than 15m. For boats not in Ireland, I’m not sure what arrangement would need to be made and what fees apply.
  • You then have to pay a registration fee which is based upon your gross tonnage. I can’t seem to find any details of what the fee structure is and if it is a one-off payment or needs to renewed periodically.
  • It all seems a little complicated and looks like you need to have your boat in Ireland, so it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll register our boat in Ireland.
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