Apply for flag certificate for recreational craft Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.

If you own a seagoing vessel or a seaworthy sports boat with a hull length of up to 15 metres each and wish or are required to fly the German flag on board, you can apply for a flag certificate.

A flag certificate serves as proof of entitlement to fly the German flag on a seagoing vessel or a seaworthy recreational craft.

You can apply for the flag certificate for a recreational craft with a hull length of less than 15 metres, among other things. It is issued to natural persons, associations of persons or legal entities. You must have a residence or registered office in Germany and either be a German citizen or a citizen of the European Union (EU).

  • Identity card or passport (copy)
  • Purchase contract (copy)
  • Confirmation of full payment (copy of corresponding receipts)
  • Proof of technical data (prospectus, construction drawing, boat letter, etc.)
  • Photos of the vessel
  • if applicable, copy of the first page of the radio licence certificate
  • If applicable, copy of the certificate of registration of the vessel
  • If applicable, owners' association agreement with proof of the personal data of the respective owners (copy)

Forms: Yes
Online services available: Yes
Written form required: Yes
Personal appearance required: No

Related Links

  • Schriftlicher Antrag per Post
Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH) - Sachgebiet S11


  • It must be a seagoing vessel, i.e. a vessel intended for navigation. Among other things, it must be suitable for navigation due to its design, superstructure and dimensions. The following criteria in particular are used to assess whether this requirement is met:
    • Is the ship certified as CE Class A or B?
    • Does the vessel have a waterproof deck and enclosed cabin superstructure for prolonged stay at sea?
    • Note: Open motor boats, inflatable boats and rigid inflatable boats do not fall under the classification as seagoing vessels!
  • Ships flying the German flag must have a German home port. This must be the independent municipality or city to which it belongs and which is located on a navigable body of water (coast, sufficiently large river, canal or inland lake).
    • If the vessel does not have an actual German home port, it is assumed that the vessel is operated from the owner's place of residence or registered office. In this case, the port of registry - the location of the maritime register responsible for the (domicile) registered office - is to be used as the home port.
    • Both the home port and the ship's name must be clearly visible and firmly affixed to the ship, whereby the home port must be affixed to the stern and the ship's name to either the side or the stern.
  • If a flag certificate is to be issued for a sea-going vessel, then it must not be registered in a ship register (sea-going vessel register, inland waterway vessel register or foreign register).

Related Links

  • § 22 Flaggenrechtsgesetz (FlaggRG)
  • §§ 14 und 16 Absatz 1 Flaggenrechtsverordnung (FlRV)

Related Links

  • Informationen rund um Flaggenzertifikate für Sportboote auf der Internetseite des BSH
  • Informationen zu Seeschiffsregistern auf der Internetseite des BSH

You can apply for the issue of a flag certificate at the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH):

  • On the BSH website, you have the option of submitting the application online or by mail.
  • To apply online, go to the BSH's "Flag certificate" website and follow the instructions. You can upload supporting documents in various formats.
  • To apply by post, you can complete the application form as a PDF file on your computer and print it out, or download it and complete it by hand.
  • Send the completed application form together with the required documents and evidence by post to the BSH.

Explanations of the application and information about the flag certificate can also be found on the BSH website.

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