Corporate Business Center & Cie are pleased to offer Clients the opportunity to register their boats in the British Virgin Islands.

Through the formation of a British Virgin Islands IBC, any boat, irrespective of the nationality of the maker or owner, may be registered on the beautiful island of Tortola. The BVI IBC which will own the boat may either have the true owner officially registered as both a Director and Shareholder of the company or, for maximum privacy and confidentiality, the company may be registered with a Nominee Director and issued with Bearer Shares.

Where the latter option is chosen, the true owner’s name does NOT appear in any official documentation yet he may still retain full management of the company and any corporate bank accounts, offshore or otherwise, by way of a Power of Attorney which is provided.

Our Registration Service is inclusive of :

The incorporation of a BVI IBC to own the boat (this is legally required if the true owner is not a British subject, body corporate or resident in a British Dependent Territory but is highly recommended for privacy).

The registration of the boat under the above IBC’s name as owner with the BVI Government.

All fees and disbursements in relation to the above, including all 1st year annual charges and Government fees for both the IBC and the boat registration.

The only thing that is not included is the cost of obtaining the required survey for submission to the Registrar of Shipping in the BVI. The cost of this is obviously dependent on the size, type and location of the boat concerned and should be arranged with a Marine Surveyor locally.

As standard, the IBC we form to own the boat will have both Bearer Shares and a Nominee Director appointed to ensure that the true beneficial ownership of both the company and its assets are hidden, (although the beneficial owner may opt for named shareholders/directors if wished).

Our standard fee for this service, inclusive of the BVI IBC, is US$3,500.

A short outline of the BVI Government requirements for registration follows on the next part of this page.

Official Instructions for First Registry of Ships in the British Virgin Islands
First (or Initial) Registry means the placing upon the Register for the first time of any ship, British or foreign built, old or new. The requirements before First Registry can be effected are as follows:

1. Application to Register

There must be an application to the Registrar of Ships for registry of the ship.

2. Ship Name Approval

The name of the ship must be officially approved. The appropriate form, obtainable from the Registrar, is to be completed and returned. This ensures no duplication / confusion.

3. Surveys; Pre-registration Certificate of Survey/Tonnage certificate

The ship must be surveyed and measured to obtain details of size, and other descriptive particulars necessary for the registration of British Ships under the Merchant Shipping Acts. This is carried out by a Surveyor of one of the approved classification societies or a Surveyor appointed or authorised by the Administration. Tile Surveyor issues a Certificate of Survey and a Tonnage Certificate (British or International). A simplified procedure whereby a joint Certificate of Survey/Tonnage Measurement is issued, is applicable to Pleasure Yachts of Under Forty-five (45) feet in Overall Length.

4. Ownership – Qualified Categories: Person or Body Corporate

The Owners of British Ship must be:
(a) British Citizens, British Dependent Territory Citizens, British Overseas Citizens, persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Act 1986 are British Nationals (overseas); or
(b) Bodies Corporate incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, the United Kingdom or in any relevant overseas territory and having their principal place of business in the Virgin Islands, United Kingdom or in any such territory.
A Body Corporate must submit a valid Certificate of Incorporation issued by the respective Registrar of Companies.

5. Title: Evidence of Ownership

The Owner(s) must produce satisfactory evidence of title to ownership in the form of:
(a) Builder’s Certificate; with descriptive details of the ship, showing quite clearly the full name(s) of the person(s) or body corporate on whose account the ship has been built and /or a Document of Sale or Transfer prior to registry if the ship has passed through more than one owner’s hand before registry. Forms for Bill of Sale and Certificate of Sale may be obtained from Registrar of Shipping in the Virgin Islands or at any British Registry of Ships.
(b) In case of ships condemned by a competent court, a Bill of Sale given by tile Admiralty Marshall or such other competent person may be accepted as foundation of title.
(c) With the documents produced as evidence of title to ownership, every owner is required to make a Declaration of ownership. Such declaration can only be made after the ship has been acquired by the applicant. Therefore, the date must not precede the date in the Builders Certificate or the Bill of Sale.
The forms for the various types of Declaration of Ownership are obtainable from the Registrar.

6. Official Number

When all required documents are provided, the ship is given an Official Number, by which she may be known and recognised irrespective of her name and other description.

7. Carving and Marking Note

When the Registrar is satisfied that the ship is eligible to be registered a Carving and Marking Note is issued. It shows the Ship’s Name, Homeport, Official Number and Registered Tonnage which are to be carved/marked on the vessel and contains relevant instructions for doing so.

8. Certificate of Registry

When the Carving and Marking Note is returned and the fees have been paid, the ship is formally registered and a Certificate of Registry issued which contains details about the ship and its Owners.
This Certificate only establishes the ship’s Nationality and Tonnage. It does not prove ownership or show mortgages, liens or any other encumbrances.

9. Fee

Fees for Registry Services must be paid before the Certificate of Registry is issued. Payment should accompany all applications

Additional Information

1. Surveys: (a) All Vessels The approved Classification Societies for the purposes of Survey/Inspection/Certification for Registration details, Tonnage and requirements of SOLAS, MARPOL are: Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR), Bureau Veritas (BV), Det Norske Veritas (DNV), Germanisher Lloyd (GL) and, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Some of the Survey may be initiated by the Ship owner but pre-registration certificates are submitted directly to the Registrar’s Office.
b) Pleasure Yachts Under 45 Feet (13.7 Metres) in Overall Length. In addition to the 5 Classification Societies mentioned in (a), the Royal Yachting Association (U.K.) and the Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association (U.K.) Are authorised to carry out pre registration survey/certificate of these vessels.

2. All costs connected with survey and certification of vessel are for owner’s account.

3. Vessels of 79 feet (24 Metres) and over in length may require a Load Line Certificate unless they are exempted. This Certificate may after due inspection/survey be issued by any of the Classification Societies authorised and designated in that behalf by the Administration. (See 1 (a) above.)

4. Vessels must be Seaworthy and satisfy local, national or international standards of safety for their class and intended use.

5. Register in good time. Always apply for registration well before you intend to sail. Try to ensure that you have completed the necessary documentation properly and paid the correct fee.

6. Radio Station, Radio Operators, Call Sign and other Ship Radio and Telecommunication Licenses/Certificates are issued by the Telecommunications Officer of tile Ministry of Communications and Works, also located at the address below.

  • We specialize in setting-up and administering compagnies

    Please, do not hesitate to contact us to receive more details.