Guide to registering your ship on the Australian general shipping register

Read this guide to understand your responsibilities under the Shipping Registration Act 1981.
28 August 2020

Registered ships receive legally recognisable Australian nationality, which provides advantages both at home and abroad: 

  • Registration provides Australian nationality and proof of ownership that is recognised internationally.
  • An Australian registered vessel is granted Australian protection on the high seas and in foreign ports. 
  • At home, registration can help with obtaining a mortgage and other forms of finance, and the sale of the vessel. 

Vessels that need to be registered 

All Australian owned or operated ships, 24 metres and over in tonnage length, and capable of navigating the high seas, must be registered. 

Any ship sailing to a foreign port must also be registered, regardless of size. 

All other craft, including government ships, fishing and pleasure craft need not be registered, but may be if the owner wishes to do so. 

When registering a vessel, read this document in conjunction with the legislation and supporting regulations:  

This document does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for independent professional advice.


Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Last Updated: 

28 August 2020