Buy an undocumented boat, watch out for "good deals"

Buy a pleasant pleasure boat (undocumented (undocumented)

Like a car or a motorcycle without license plate, a boat without pavilion, that is to say without navigation title, can make you hesitate on its purchase. In some cases, acquiring a pavilion without a pavilion is possible by remaining in good standing with the legislation.

However, vigilance must be reinforced throughout the purchase procedure and you will quickly have to regularize this situation without lasting solution. supports you and advises you in your project to acquire a pleasure boat, with and without a pavilion.

An undocumented without recording papers can be normal depending on the country of origin from the ship, among other countries Italy, Denmark or Sweden, apply specific regulations depending on the dimension and type of ships.

Need advice? Contact one of our advisers!


Should a pleasure boat have a pavilion?


Undocumented boat


First, clarify the concept of pavilion: we are talking about the pavilion here in the sense of displaying the country's pavilion where the ship is administratively recorded, as international regulations require it. Of course, specific and specific provisions for each country may vary.

In France, registration is compulsory on any boat according to the navigation area:

  • At sea, for any hull length of 2.5 meters or with an engine with a power greater than 6 CV (4.5 kW)
  • In indoor waters for any length greater than 5 meters or with an engine with a power greater than 6 CV (4.5 kW).


This is not the case in all countries and there are variations in regulation within the European Union. Italy and Sweden in particular authorize boaters to navigate without registration, under certain conditions of compliance with the regulations, and therefore to sell their undocumented boat.

Essential checks for the purchase of a pavilion boat

If in some cases you can buy a boat even if it does not beat any pavilion and even if it has never been registered in its country of origin, it is essential to secure your purchase.

For this, we recommend that you do not complete the purchase procedure without having duly checked with the seller that he is the owner of the boat. Even if he has no registration, he must have in his possession at least the ownership documents of the pleasure boat and all the data relating to his construction, his condition, his security equipment ... if the nationality of the seller has nothing to do with that of the boat or the place of sale, it is therefore better to be wary.


The procedure to regularize the situation of a pleasure boat without a pavilion


Once you have validated the transaction for your boat and have carried out all the usual checks, it is essential to proceed with registration within the regulatory deadlines.
If you bought it abroad and want to register it in France, you have 30 days to do the procedures. Without official recording with maritime affairs, you will not be able to insure it and you will not be covered in the event of a claim or theft. In addition, in case of damage to sea, you cannot be recognized and rescued.

Sulprosses of undocumented boats


Buying boat abroad

If the boat is not recorded anywhere or if it does not have a recognized pavilion, it has no nationality and therefore cannot navigate in good standing in international waters. For example, a “Swedish pavilion” beating boat, which falls under Swedish boats less than 12m and therefore without navigation, has legally right to get out of Swedish territorial waters. This can cause difficulties when the boat repatriated in its future home port.

Another example: the Netherlands have two types of recordings, the ICP (International Certificaat Pleziervaartuig) and the Dutch Worldwide Zeebrief. ICP is not a pavilion in itself because it is reserved for Dutch citizens and residents over 5 years old, and it has no validity in international waters (since 2018). Indeed, it can only be used legally on the river network of Holland and in its territorial waters. It is only accessible to boats less than 24 meters in hull length, and to Dutch residents.


 The donation of a pleasure boat

If you buy your pleasure boating by don when it has never been recorded although the procedure is compulsory (type of boat, dimensions, propulsion means), registration will be impossible. This is a common case with the donation of a boat that has remained in a garage or at the bottom of a garden.

On the other hand, if an administrative link is verifiable between the initial owner and the seller, it becomes possible to register your boat.


Appropriate a boat found 

If you find an abandoned boat that does not seem to belong to anyone and you want to appropriate it, it is better to be wary. In the event of a registration visible on the boat of the boat, you must contact maritime affairs to make a boat declaration found. By carrying out research, they will be able to go up the history of the boat, find its owner and above all check that the registration corresponds well to the characteristics of the boat found. Note that the appropriation of a boat found, registered or not, is similar to a flight and that you are exposing yourself to criminal proceedings.


Buy an undocumented used boat

Here again, distrust is essential. If by browsing the classified ads (newspaper, Le Bon Coin…) and marketplaces (Facebook…) or by exchanging directly with individuals, we suggest you buy a boat that has not been recorded, it may be From a scam, a stolen boat ... apart from all the cases mentioned in the previous paragraphs, we can only warn you against these hazardous and potentially damaging situations in all points of view.

In short, whatever the case, buy a boat without ownership documents and/or without registration and official pavilion is extremely risky and can be complicated to regularize. If you still want to continue your acquisition, advanced investigations remain necessary before finalizing the transaction.

Boat boating support you in all your registration, francization or obtaining a foreign pavilion. Do not hesitate to ask us for advice on the best solution to give to your boat!

Buy an undocumented boat, watch out for "good deals" –