Boat registration in India

No exact rules yet

Since there are currently no specific regulations for private owners in India to register their own boat, there is nothing left than to fall back on the rules that have been provided for traffic and cargo ships since 1917 (Inland Vessels Act). The registration of a boat or yacht – regardless of its size – is fundamentally important for the owner. Because with the registration the owner is able to:

    1. certify his property and prove it to other parties,
    2. make their property credible to banks and potential buyers as security for financing and
    3. confirm that his boat is free from mortgage encumbrances.

According to the regulation, the registration number must be attached to both, the front and rear, whereby the regulation is mandatory for motorized boats. On the other hand, boats that allow propulsion by means of sails are not obliged to register. Nevertheless, registration is also common for sailing boats in order to facilitate free navigation in other Indian state districts.

The Inland Vessel Act, 1917; §§ 19C, 19 D

Docks of Mumbai Port Trust

Another exception to the registration requirement relates to boats weighing less than 15 tons. In principle, ships of the line have to be registered with the Director General of Shipping, while smaller coastal and inland watercraft are registered with the State Maritime Boards. There is also the Maharashtra Maritime Board, an agency that advocates more modern regulation and legal development at the state level. With over 400 employees, the agency overlooks around 10% of all Indian freight and is committed to protection of coast. The institution is also involved in the development of new port facilities.

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