Administrative law

Registration of yachts and other vessels – new, unified regulations.

Existing regulation

On April 12th, 2018, the President of the Republic of Poland signed a new law on the registration of yachts and other vessels up to 24 m long. New regulations are particularly relevant due to the fact that until now the registration of ships was a complicated, non-transparent and „fragmented” process, taking into consideration the multiplicity of register entities and legal acts applicable to the subject of registration. Nowadays, the registers are maintained mostly by: the Polish Sailing Association, the Polish Motorboat and Water Skiing Association, District Governors (starosta), as well as maritime chambers and offices. In the above-mentioned aspect, one cannot forget about the important role of the Polish Register of Ships (PRS), which is responsible for the safety of ships, the safety of other objects, people and cargoes on them, and protection of the marine environment, as well as the classification of ships and other objectsand performance of technical supervision. The entities keeping the register had to primarily rely on the classification of vessels used by PRS.

New regulations

Pursuant to the new act, the obligation to register will encumber vessels that have no other than Polish affiliation:

  • yachts and watercraft used for amateur fishing, at least 7.5 m long or power driven at 15 kW or more,
  • a vessel used for fishing,
  • a vessel sailing outside the territory of the Republic of Poland.

It is worth noting that some units will not be subject to registration (e.g. a watercraft powered solely by muscle power or surfboard) and it will be subject to registration only at the owner’s request.

The Act regulates the registration process, the requirements of the registration application, the procedure for its consideration and approval, the issue of registration documents as well as the issues of liability for failure to comply with the obligations indicated in the Act.

Registry’s transparency is a particularly important element. The interested persons do not have to show the legal or factual interest in obtaining data from the register. All you need is an application for certified copies or excerpts. The Act also provides for the possibility of obtaining electronic access to data from the register. Taking into account the form of registry regulation, its availability and character can be compared to the system of the National Court Register.

Entry into force

According to art. 32 the Act comes into force on January 1st, 2020, with the exception of art. 26 and art. 30, which will come into force after 14 days from the day of announcement. Such a long vacatio legis (term between announcement and entry into force)was introduced due to the necessity of creating a new uniform register, a full IT system servicing the register and internal procedures of registration authorities. It is also worth noting that after 90 months, registers of yachts and watercrafts carried out on the basis of the existing regulations and documents constituting the basis for entry into these registers are subject to archiving on the terms set out in separate regulations.

Above means that one register will replace several other registers that are kept nowadays.

If you have any questions, please contact un on [email protected]

Author team leader DKP Legal Michał Dudkowiak
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