Administrative procedures for a buyer, owner or seller of a boat

What administrative procedures must a yachtsman take when buying a boat, in the event of owning or selling a boat? Do the same formalities have to be completed for a new or second-hand vessel, purchased in France or abroad?

The team presents all the boat administrative procedures to be carried out as a buyer, owner or seller of a vessel.

All the steps for my boat

The formalities to be completed when buying a ship

When buying a boat under the French flag

Complete the deed of sale

Sale of a pleasure boat from a seller to a buyer

When buying a boat, the seller and the buyer of a boat must together complete a Deed of sale for a pleasure boat . The document is completed in several copies depending on the characteristics of the vessel (1 per party + 1 for the administrations, i.e. 3 copies for a sale between 1 buyer and 1 seller). It is up to the buyer to communicate the information to the departments concerned.

Sale by several sellers or to several buyers

In the context of the sale of a boat in joint ownership, the steps to be taken are the same, but all the selling or buying joint owners must be signatories of the document.

Sale of a single co-owner to a buyer or sale of shares

If the sale concerns only one part of the boat, only the co-owner concerned is required to sign the deed of sale with the new buyer.

Need a boat bill of sale? Find all our bill of sale models for your pleasure boat! You can download a blank boat deed of sale model or generate a deed of sale directly online with all the information on the seller(s) / buyer(s) and the boat. All our models are available for up to 4 buyers and 4 sellers, each with the specificities of a sale or purchase between several co-owners of a boat.
Would you like to register the equipment sold with the boat? A list is available!

Download my bill of sale
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Declare the purchase of the vessel

The buyer of a boat is required to declare the purchase of his unit to the departments concerned, within one month of the transaction.

Make administrative changes

When a yachtsman buys a boat, the modification of the home port or its name, for example, must be the subject of an administrative declaration. Once again, the professionals at can assist you with all the administrative changes you wish to make.

Which boats need to be registered?


All vessels with hull length equal to or greater than 2.50 meters and whose owners wish to sail at sea, or at sea and inland waters, must be registered.


For navigation in inland waters, the registration concerns vessels measuring up to 5 m with a motorization of a power equal to or greater than 4.5 kW, or vessels with a length of 5 to 20 m whose the displacement is less than 100 m³. It is precisely the procedure for registering the boat that allows the yachtsman to obtain a Certificate of registration, and a registration number corresponding to his registration! Without it, he is not allowed to sail. Beyond a fine, the insurance issue is essential!

Did you know ? It is precisely the procedure for registering the boat that allows the yachtsman to obtain a Certificate of registration, and a registration number corresponding to his registration! Without it, he is not allowed to sail. Beyond a fine, the insurance issue is essential!

For a boat purchase under the European flag

Obtain an intra-community acquisition certificate or tax discharge

For a purchase, in France or abroad, of a boat flying the European flag, the new owner must carry out all the steps previously mentioned, with some additional particularities according to the flag of origin. If he acquires a vessel with a hull length greater than 7.50 m purchased within the European Union, the buyer must also prove the regularity of his tax situation, by obtaining an intra-community acquisition certificate, more commonly known as a tax discharge for a boat

Ask for a boat discharge
discharge boat

If it is a boat purchase registered outside the European Union

Declare the importation of the boat and pay any fees

VAT on boats purchased outside Europe

When buying a boat registered in a country that is not part of the European Union, the new owner must take certain additional steps: he must comply with the procedure for importing and customs clearance of the vessel, involving regularizing import taxes, VAT, to provide a Certificate of cancellation of the foreign flag as well as a Customs Quitus.

Compliance of boats purchased outside Europe

There are two cases to distinguish here:

  • Motorboats, sailboats and jet skis (VNM) built before June 16, 1998

These constructions must be systematically accompanied by a written declaration of conformity, sesame attesting to the CE marking of the vessel. Provided that the boat purchased was intended to be placed on the European market as soon as it was built. If this is not the case, the new owner must imperatively have recourse to a PCA (post construction assessment) in order to “bring the boat into compliance” and obtain the CE marking.

This procedure is expensive and can only be carried out by a notified body, there is only one in France, the ICNN in La Rochelle. Other European bodies may also intervene, be careful to ensure that they are approved before starting the procedure.

  • Motorboats, sailboats and jet skis (VNM) built after June 16, 1998

A more delicate situation, boats built without CE marking have three options:

  1. - Prove that the boat has been registered under the European flag at least once since its construction (NO, Great Britain is not accepted). By principle of reciprocity, the European flag concerned will agree to register the vessel
  2. - If this is not the case, recourse to a BCP (procedure explained above) will be necessary
  3. - Opt for a flag accepting boats without CE marking

Accompaniment before purchase, importation of vessel, change of flag… The professional team of is at your disposal to assist you in your project of buying a foreign boat!

Questions about a boat import?
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Administrative procedures as an owner

The Annual Tax on Maritime Pleasure Craft (formerly DAFN)

If he is concerned, the buyer is informed of his duty to pay the Annual Tax on Maritime Pleasure Craft (TAEMP). This, whether the ship flies the French or foreign flag without distinction of the navigation area. The taxpayer is all the owner of a pleasure boat tax resident in France or living there for more than 6 months of the year.

Are concerned :

  • Boats registered at sea only
  • Personal-use vessels with a hull length equal to or greater than 7 m
  • Those whose motorization has an administrative power equal to or greater than 22 HP
  • Nautical motor vehicles (VNM) whose real propulsion power is greater than or equal to 90 kW

In order to know the amount of your DAFN , we invite you to use our page dedicated to its calculation.

Did you know ? The tax is not due if the amount is less than 76 euros. However, there are other exemption situations, in particular for Historic Monument ships or Boats of Heritage Interest, water sports school boats and boats that move only with human energy.

When do you have to pay the Annual Tax on Maritime Pleasure Craft

The Annual Tax on Maritime Pleasure Craft (TAEMP), formerly called DAFN for annual right of francization and navigation, is not required upon registration of the vessel, but is due each year by all boat owners concerned. The payment of the tax is made every year, from the first year of registration. Some boats may be exempt or benefit from a reduction. Do not forget that it is the owner registered on January 1st who is liable for the tax. Only boats registered during the year from a foreign flag, or previously registered in inland waters, will have to pay the registration tax pro rata temporis (registration in June = 6 months of tax to be paid)

Report a change

The owner of a boat is required to notify the administration of any change in the situation. Thus, formalities must be completed to modify the yachtsman's address, the vessel's port of registration or the shore contact on the Certificate of Registration. As many administrative procedures for which can once again accompany you!

Did you know ? A change in the engine power of a boat must also be reported within 30 days.

All the steps for my boat

Have documents reissued

In the event of loss or theft, administrative procedures allow the owner of a boat to obtain, for example, a duplicate of his Plaisance license or the reissue of his vessel's registration certificate.

Radio license and MMSI number

Throughout the period of ownership of a boat, registration of a radio license is mandatory. Even if the previous owner held a license in his name, you must report the transfer of the vessel. Similarly, each change of equipment on board must be notified to the authorities. An MMSI number may be assigned depending on the type of equipment registered.

Pleasure craft radio license
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Buyer, owner or seller of a ship, to easily carry out your formalities on time, call the team! Our team is specialized in carrying out all the administrative procedures relating to the acquisition of a boat and can assist you whatever your project.

Administrative procedures for a buyer, owner or seller of a boat –