UK's Free Online Boat Registration - a Good Idea?

A new online boat registration service that could turn out to be a model for the rest of the world has just been launched in the UK The registration service allows owners to register their vessel for free, track their stolen property and assist in its recovery. It was recently launched by Boat Register.

The new service (available at enables boat owners to register the ownership of their boat, providing confirmation of the registered keeper. It also provides a tagging system to deter theft and improve traceability of a stolen boat or equipment on everything from a small dinghy to a large motor or sailing yacht.

According to Boat Register, the total number of tenders stolen between 2006 and 2007 has doubled, and outboard thefts have increased from 170 to 278 since 2005. RIBs and PWCs are said to be the most vulnerable targets for thieves.

'Boat Register provides real benefits in establishing the identity and ownership of boats,' says David Wright at the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency. 'This will help protect all boaters against fraud and theft and will assist in the recovery of stolen property.'

To enhance security, owners can also choose to purchase electronic Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to prove ownership of their boat and prevent its identity being changed. Boat Register can also provide the mTrack GSM/RF wireless tracker, a self-contained tracking device ideal for RIBs, sailing dinghies and sports boats; SelectaDNA, a marking fluid that contains a unique synthetic DNA, microdots and a UV dye which can mark valuable items and engine components; and Window-etching to make one's boat less attractive to thieves.