Flagging a vessel with the Cayman Islands involves the following activities:
There are minimum Convention and statutory requirements for pleasure yachts engaged in private use and not engaged in trade (see Survey Matrix). These requirements include completion of the appropriate sections of MARPOL 73/78 (such as IOPP and IAPP for vessels 400 gross tons or more), COLREG, and others, depending upon the vessel's size. Pleasure yachts in private use not engaged in trade may opt to voluntarily comply with the Large Yacht Code (LYC) Pleasure yachts in private use not engaged in trade may opt to voluntarily comply with the Large Yacht Code (LYC). In these cases, whilst registration does not require such compliance, the vessel will be surveyed for compliance at the time of registration and if found compliant, then the appropriate Convention and statutory certificates will be issued accordingly.
There are three ports where a name can be registered - George Town, The Creek and Bloody Bay. If a name is not available in one port, it may be available in another. If the name is available, an owner can also reserve a name across all three ports. A name is reserved for a period of 12 months and may be renewed. Names may be requested or reserved by an Owner, Authorised Person, Representative Person, or other party such as a shipyard, particularly in the case of new-build yachts, subject to the approval of the Registrar.
Establishing whether the owner is bona-fide and qualifies to own a Cayman-flagged vessel (see Ownership Structures). Determining whether the owner has legal title to the vessel and that there are no pre-existing conditions prohibiting the vessel from being registered with Cayman. In addition, if the owner of the vessel is not resident incorporated in Cayman, then a Cayman Representative Person must be appointed.
Dealing Directly with the Registry or via Third Party Service Provider
An owner may act on his own behalf in registration matters or may appoint an Authorised Person to do so. If the owner (individual or body corporate) is not resident on the island, then the owner must appoint a Cayman Representative Person.
Any “individual or joint-owners” or “company” or “shipping entity” that applies to register a vessel in Cayman may deal directly with the Shipping Registry in the initial stages, whilst retaining the option to use a maritime services provider, as and when needed.
Completion of Registration Forms and Submission of Supporting Documentation and Fees
Some aspects of this process will vary dependent on the vessel’s type, size and proposed use.
Required forms, supporting documentation and fees for the various types of registrations and other services are outlined in Cayman Vessel Registration & Related Services Matrix.
All forms and supporting documentation may be provided either in original hard copy or electronically. If provided electronically, they must be accompanied by an Undertaking (see form CISR 856 Section 5 iii) to deliver the originals/certified hard copies within 7 days, which can be submitted to any of the following Cayman Registry locations:
- CISR Head Office in George Town, Cayman Islands
- CISR European Regional Office in Southampton, UK
- Cayman Islands Government Office in London, UK
- CISR Asian Regional Office in Singapore
- CISR Representative Office in Athens, Greece
- CISR Representative Office in Tokyo, Japan
- CISR Representative Office in Fort Lauderdale, United States
Fees can be paid via cheque (drawn on a local Cayman Islands bank), completion of credit card authorisation form, online credit card payments or bank wire payment. See Payment Methods
The relevant Certificate of British Registry will be issued once all documentation and fees have been received.
In addition, a Carving and Marking (C&M) Note will be issued which will specify how the vessel is to be marked. Once a vessel is properly marked, an authorised surveyor will verify this by signing and returning the C&M Note to the Registrar within 21 days. If the vessel is under 24 meters, the verification may be done by the captain or authorised person(s). The completed C&M Note may be submitted electronically within the allotted 21 days, however the original should be returned within 7 days thereafter.
Less than 24 meters the vessel is marked with the Official Number and Registered Tonnage.
Over 24 meters the vessel is marked with the Official Number, Net Tonnage and IMO (Ship’s Identification Number).
The above must be carved onto a plate that is permanently affixed to the vessel's main beam or other main structural member where it is clearly visible. The vessel’s name must be marked on each of its bows, and both name and port of registry (e.g. George Town) must be marked on the vessel’s stern. On pleasure yachts, the vessel's name is not required to be marked on each of the bows, one marking on the vessel’s stern is sufficient.
Ship Radio Station Licensing
Please note that this is not a function of the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, but is carried out by the Cayman Islands Information & Communications Technology Authority (ICTA).
The Radio Call Sign is allocated by the CISR, but MMSI numbers are assigned by ICTA. The operator/s of the radio equipment are required to have a Radio Operator's Certificate appropriate to the equipment fitted for the vessel. The Shipping Registry does, however, issue the Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate either directly or through Class and other authorised bodies, which include the 6 Societies authorised by Cayman and agencies such as Selmer Marconi.
Cayman does not maintain an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or EPIRB database for 319 MMSI registrations; therefore all vessel owners should register their EPIRBs with either NOAA in the USA (www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov) or with the HM Coastguard in the UK (email@example.com). Both authorities accept EPIRB registration information for Cayman-flagged vessels. It is the sole responsibility of the vessel owner (or authorised representative) to ensure proper registration of their respective EPIRBs.
Once all the relevant forms, supporting documentation and fees are received, a Certificate of British Registry (COBR) is issued along with a Carving and Marking Note.