Last updated: 17 February 2011
Any resident can own and register a private boat or yacht in the UAE. It must be locally registered regardless of whether or not it is registered in another country concurrently. The process is time-consuming but relatively painless if you reach the respective offices early in the morning.
You do not need a) marine insurance or b) qualifications to drive a private vessel, although this is apparently going to change sometime in the future.
Note: It is possible to register a boat in the name of multiple owners. The only condition is that all owners must be present in person to sign a special form at the NTA.
Follow this procedure if you need to register either a new or second hand boat that has not been registered before (i.e. without DP numbers). Normally the seller of new boats will do this process for you.
· The invoice or sales contract for the boat, which must be certified by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (see Note 1)
· Original Bill of Sale / Sales Agreement after attestation from:
o UAE courts and Chamber of Commerce if purchased locally
o UAE Embassy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs if imported
· Original Deletion Certificate (applicable only if the boat was previously registered) after attestation from:
o UAE Embassy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs if imported
· Passport copies with current resident visa page
· EMIRATES ID CARD (as of Feb 2011)
· No-objection letter from your employer in Arabic (the letter needs to originate from the name of the entity/organisation that is written on your residence visa)
· 520 dirhams (see Note 2)
· 7000 dirhams deposit for a transponder (if not already fitted). This is refundable when boat is sold or de-registered.
· A boat with anchor, torch, first aid kit, distress flares, navigation lights and life jackets
Note 1: On an official poster I have seen at the Marine Affairs dept I saw this: “If there is no official documentation for the boat i.e. the boat is old and has never been registered before, a deed should be obtained from the court.” Please don’t ask me how to get the deed – I have no idea!
Note 2: I received an email from a friend (thanks Adrian) who said that if the boat is financed by one of the banks in Dubai (and therefore technically the boats belong to the bank), then the fee for issue of the new registration card is only 20dhs, plus the 5dhs e-payment card fee!!
Point your browser to http://bit.ly/hN68FB to see the locations of the places you will need to go.
Registration must be renewed annually. It is not 100% clear whether you need to have the boat inspected. I would go to the NTA initially with your paperwork and see how it goes. You can take the boat up on a trailer or sail it up to the coastguard. Note that there is a 200dhs fine for allowing your registration to expire, however there is a one month grace period (subject to change without notice!!).
Please be aware that, once your boat is registered, a form, which is available at most marinas, needs to filled out and faxed to the Coast Guard every time you want to take the boat out; you must wait for the return fax with the "Approved" stamp on it before heading out. On weekends, the Coast Guard can have as many as 500 applications, so it can take some time to get an approval. Here is a very old version of the form - no guarantees that this will work any longer: http://www.kadri.org/boat/coastguardform.jpg
Alternatively there are coastguards present at each of the public harbours in Dubai; you can get it done on the spot – I know of two:
1) The harbour next to DOSC. The old coastguard hut has been demolished and now outgoing vessels can get their registration done by pulling alongside a large police boat and handing the documents over! http://bit.ly/h52B9F
2) The harbour closer to the Burj Al Arab. You'll see the building on the left; walk up the steel steps and knock on the door. http://bit.ly/fsPUdg
The UAE National Transport Authority (NTA) are in charge of this whole process and they will assist you.
The location of the NTA is here: http://bit.ly/h2MCJd
1. Go to the NTA (open between 0800 and 1400). Bring along your Emirates ID card, a copy of your passport (including visa page), ORIGINAL proof of purchase and ownership documents for the boat, and a no objection letter from your employer (in Arabic) stating that they have no objection to you owning a boat. They will help you fill out a form in Arabic and they will ask for you to name the boat. If you have any photographs this can sometimes assist when they are asking you for dimensions, type, etc. You do not need to take the boat. They will ask you to fill in a form like this so be ready to tick all the boxes http://www.kadri.org/boat/NTAform20100709.pdf. If everything goes well, they will give you some papers and ask you to go to the Coast Guard headquarters located next to Port Rashid, where your boat will be inspected. No money required.
2. Go to the Coast Guard with your paperwork; they open at 7am. Do not take your boat yet - boats are not allowed in without a registration number (DP number). When you arrive, give some ID to the man in the small office to the left of the gate and tell him that you are registering a new boat and need a number. Once inside and at the inspection office (go up the stairs) they will start the process and issue you with some documents to sign and also issue a DP number for your boat.
3. Now you need to find some numbers for your boat. A good place to go is The Boat House (http://www.theboathouse.ae). Get the large numbers/letters (approx 6 inches tall) and stick them to BOTH sides of your boat.
4. It's now time to go back to the Coast Guard inspection office and this time take the boat with you for inspection and to get the transponder fitted. Ensure that you carry the following safety equipment: anchor, torch, first aid kit, distress flares, navigation lights and life jackets for the number of people your boat can carry. If you have anything larger than a ski boat then you will also need a radar reflector. If all is well your boat will pass and they will give you an inspection certificate. They will keep the rest of the documents in their file.
5. I'm not 100% up to speed with the transponder requirement, but a kind person called Carlos updated me with the following: "You have to deposit 7000 Dhs in the Fist Gulf Bank, two pictures and copy of your passport and Emirates ID, fill the application provided by the Coast Guard and take the boat with you and talk to Mr Mansur who is in charge of this procedure and he is very helpful, you must take the boat into the water (they will tell you how and where to do that) to install the device and have a picture taken. It takes about one hour." I'll update if I hear anything further. The transponder is connected to a 1m long antenna and they decide where it goes on the boat, so be ready to adjust your boat cover! I’ve also heard that they wire the unit directly to the battery too, which results in a flat battery before long.
6. Return the inspection certificate to the NTA and pay AED 520 to one of the office helpers who will charge an e-Dirham card and settle the bill for you. They will issue your registration card there and then. Best time to go is 7:30 am. Note that you will not get back any of your documents; they will keep the originals of the bill of sale, etc, until such time as you decide to de-register or sell the boat.
I have a couple of email addresses and phone numbers that may help, just in case:
Mr. Rida on 04-3084772
Any of the above information could change without notice! Please feel free to send me an email if you have any updates to the above – I’d appreciate it.
17 February 2011