All forms can be downloaded from our forms page.

Documents required for an application

An application for registration must be accompanied by all required documentation and the stipulated lodgement fee. Documentation required for the registration of a vessel will include:

  1. Application for Australian registration (AMSA Form 168*)
  2. Declaration of ownership and nationality (AMSA Form 208*)
  3. Notice of appointment of registered agent (AMSA Form 157*)
  4. Document describing the ship (Builder’s certificate or Statutory Declaration for Builders certificate—AMSA forms 211 and 222)
  5. Documents giving evidence of ownership (Bills of sale)
  6. Demise charter party (if applicable)
  7. Tonnage certificate
  8. Call sign licence (if applicable)
  9. Evidence of marking of ship (marking note).

Other documents that may be required:

  • Evidence of closure of previous foreign registration
  • Evidence of non-registration on a foreign register
  • Application for endorsement of master on registration certificate
  • Declaration by charterer
  • Certificate of corporation
  • Power of attorney
  • Written authority to sign
  • Will, probate
  • Commonwealth Statutory Declaration detailing the ownership history of the vessel


Note: * If the ship is foreign-owned and under demise charter to an Australian, these forms must be signed by the charterer.

Generally original application forms are required, however in some circumstances, certified copies may be submitted. Contact the SRO for further details.

Describing the ship

The documentation required to describe the ship varies, depending on the registration history of the vessel.

Ship not previously registered (in Australia or elsewhere)

The following is required:

  1. Builder’s certificate (AMSA Form 211) or
  2. Statutory declaration for builder’s certificate (AMSA form 222), made by a person acquainted with the facts stating the prescribed particulars of the ship and the grounds for the person’s belief that the particulars are correct.

Note: If the ship was built in stages by different builders, or was subject to a major alteration or conversion after building, you may provide a separate certificate describing the subsequent work.

Ship last registered in Australia and being re-registered

Where the ship was previously registered in Australia on the Australian General Shipping Register a Statutory Declaration is required, by a person acquainted with the facts, specifying any changes in the description of the ship since it was last registered.

Ship last registered under foreign law

The following is required:

  1. a Builder’s Certificate (AMSA Form 211) or,
  2. a Statutory Declaration for Builder’s Certificate (AMSA form 222), made by a person acquainted with the facts stating the prescribed particulars of the ship and the grounds for the person’s belief that the particulars are correct.

It is also necessary that evidence of closure of foreign registration will (or suspension under a demise charter) be provided before registration can be granted.

Evidence of ownership

Under the Act there are 64 shares in a ship and the majority of these must be owned by an Australian national or an Australian incorporated company with an ACN. The documentation required as evidence of ownership will vary depending on the ship’s registration history. Transfer of registration cannot be effected without an original Bill of Sale completed by the seller and in a format compliant with the Shipping Registration Regulations 2019.

New builds

For a new build ship, the ownership document is a builder’s certificate that is dated on or after the date of handover, or a Bill of Sale, or a builder’s certificate that is dated prior to handover and accompanied by a certificate of handover.

Ship not previously registered (in Australia or elsewhere)

The owner/operator should provide the builder’s certificate, together with documents relating to any changes of ownership since building.

If the ship was built outside Australia and acquired by the owner outside Australia and those documents are not available, then the owner/operator is to provide the document by which the owner acquired the ship.

The full ownership history is required In order to register a vessel. This is from the time it was built through to when you purchased it. You may provide: 

  • a full set of ownership documents, or
  • a statutory declaration outlining the ownership history from the builder through to yourself.

 If you are unable to provide the full ownership history, a statutory declaration must be provided stating:

  • that to the best of your knowledge the persons claiming ownership are lawfully entitled to ownership of the ship, and
  • the basis of the belief that the owner/operator are lawfully entitled to ownership, and 
  • the reasons certain documents or statutory declarations cannot be obtained, and
  • a Notice of Intention to Apply for Ship Registration must also be published on the AMSA website (see section 7 ).

Ship last registered in Australia

Where the ship was previously registered in Australia on the General Shipping Register the owner/operator is required to provide the ownership history, as above, but from the time it was last registered. 

Ship last registered under foreign law

Where the ship was previously registered under a foreign flag the following must be provided:

  1. a certificate of deletion from the last foreign registry
  2. any documents relating to any changes of ownership since last registered or in respect of the sale of the vessel to the owner seeking registration or a statutory declaration detailing those changes.

Types of documents related to evidence of ownership

Evidence of ownership or changes of ownership can be provided by means of bills of sale or evidence of transmission of ownership by operation of law (e.g. probate, letters or administration, court orders). As ownership can change in several ways evidence provided may vary. Generally the following documents will be accepted as evidence of changes:

  1. Sale of vessel: The owner/operator should provide an original bill of sale1 or other documents transferring ownership for each change of ownership. The document must be signed by the transferor, specifying
    1. the name of the ship
    2. the nature and extent of the interest in the ship to which it relates
    3. the name and address of the transferor and transferee.

If no Bill of Sale was made at the time of sale, or it has since been lost, the owner/operator should have the seller prepare a new Bill of Sale with the information detailed and a statement of the actual date of sale. The AMSA template for Bill of Sale is recommended.

An agreement for sale is acceptable if it is supported by proof that the sale was finalised.

  1. Transmission of ownership on death of a sole owner or owner-in-common. The owner/ operator should provide a copy of the probate notice, or letters of administration, which can be obtained from the state or territory probate office that handled the estate.

In these cases, ownership or power to dispose of the ship passes to the deceased owner’s legal personal representative or to the beneficiary under a will, depending on the case.

  1. Transmission of ownership on death of a joint owner. The owner/operator should provide ‘Evidence of Death’ (either death certificate, certificate of burial, probate or letters of administration).
  2. A Statutory Declaration, the owner/operator should provide a statutory declaration made by a person well acquainted with the facts, to the effect that the deceased person mentioned in the document giving evidence of death is the same as the joint owner of the ship. In this case, ownership passes automatically to the surviving joint owner.
  3. Transmission of ownership by order of a court. The owner/operator should provide a copy of the Order, which may be obtained from the court that made it.

Use of statutory declarations

Where gaps remain in the ownership history the owner/operator can provide a statutory declaration, made by a person acquainted with the facts of the case setting out particulars of the history of the ownership of the ship. Where the owner/operator cannot provide a statutory declaration that effectively addresses all gaps in the ship’s ownership history then a further statutory declaration is to be provided and a Notice of intention to apply for ship registration published as detailed in Part 7.0 of this Guide.

Note: Commonwealth of Australia statutory declarations must be witnessed by an authorised person, with a connection to Australia. The full list of authorised witnesses is available from the Attorney-General's Department.

Demise charter parties

Demise charter means the demise, letting, hire or delivery of the ship to the charterer under a charter party, by virtue of which the charterer has whole possession and control of the ship (including the right to appoint the master and crew of the ship).

Evidence of a demise charter (the demise charter party) is only required if the ship is a foreign ship and operated under a demise (or bare boat) charter by an Australian-based operator whose principal place of business is Australia. If the ship is operated under a demise charter, the charterer should also complete an extra declaration titled ‘Declaration by Charterer’ using AMSA Form 169.

Tonnage Certificate

All ships over 24 metres in tonnage length and intending to go on an international voyage must have an international tonnage certificate before registration can be completed. Tonnage measurement and the issue of the tonnage certification must be undertaken by one of the recognised Classification Societies referred to in Section 3 of this guide.

Call sign, radio licences, MMSI numbers and beacon registration

Radio licences and call signs are issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Web:

Contact details are as follows:

Tel: 1300 850 115
Fax: +61 2 6219 5353

Web: Australian Communications and Media Authority

MMSI numbers

Maritime Mobile Service Identities, or MMSI numbers, are issued by AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre.

If your vessel has changed from foreign to Australian flag and you have Digital Selective Calling radios or AIS on board you will need to apply for a new Australian MMSI number and have your equipment reprogrammed by a certified technician.

Find MMSI information and application details.

406 MHz Distress Beacon

When traveling on an international voyage all ships should carry a 406 MHz Distress Beacon on board. The applicant or the buyer should fill out and submit a 406 MHz Distress Beacon registration form.

If your vessel is changing from a foreign flag to Australian flag and has a foreign coded 406 MHz Distress Beacon on board, it must be reprogrammed with the Australian country code and then registered on the Australian Beacon Register. Once the EPIRB is reprogrammed by the manufacturer it will have a new HEX ID to register. Ensure you deregister the foreign 406 MHz Distress Beacon HEX ID.

Beacons may be registered by completing the form and sending it to Australian Beacons. Beacons may also be registered online as indicated in the contact details below. Further information on registering distress beacons can be found on the beacons website.

Contact Beacons:

Correspondence related to MMSI numbers or beacon registration should be directed to:

Australian 406 Distress Beacon Register
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181
Canberra ACT 2601

Evidence of marking of the ship

The evidence that a ship has been marked as required under the Act and Regulations is a signed and witnessed Marking Note. The Marking Note is sent to the owner/ operator detailing the ship’s registration particulars which must be permanently marked on the ship. These particulars include the:

  • official number
  • ship’s name
  • home port, and either
    • length overall
    • net tonnage.

The name of the ship must be marked on each of the ship’s bows and the ship’s name and home port on the stern, or as close to the stern as possible where stern markings are not possible.

The official number and the net tonnage or length overall (where the ship is not measured for tonnage) shall be cut into the main beam or affixed by way of a plate to a main structural member or other integral part under the upper deck.

Evidence of closure of foreign registration

Where an owner/operator is seeking registration of a ship last registered under a foreign law they are to provide evidence from the foreign registration authority showing that the registration has been closed. This must be done before a registration certificate can be issued.

Examples of the sort of documents that may be accepted for this purpose are a Certificate of Deletion or a certified copy of the foreign register showing the closing entry.

Other documents that may be required

Certificate of incorporation

To be provided to the Registrar as evidence of incorporation if the owner/operator, charterer or agent is a body corporate under the Corporations Act 2001.

Power of attorney

To be provided to the Registrar with any document that has been signed under a Power of Attorney.

Written authority to sign

To be provided to the Registrar with any document that has been signed by an agent on behalf of a person.

Anchor1 Where the ship was already an Australian registered ship the bill of sale should be made on AMSA form 159.