Frequently Asked Questions

Which nationalities can register under Belgium flag?

The Belgium government has decided to make changes in the procedure of Belgium Flag registration that are effective from September 1, 2019. The main change is that from this date you can only register a vessel under Belgium flag if you are a citizen, resident or a company in Belgium that is at least 50% owner of the vessel. All existing licenses that are currently valid for 5 years will not be effected by this new law until they are due for renewal.

How long does it take to register under the Belgium flag?

If all documentation is supplied, it will take about 4 weeks to register. The time to get a renewal done is about 2 weeks.

What are my obligations under the Belgium Flag

  1. Raise the Belgium national flag
  2. Raise the courtesy flag of the country where you are sailing
  3. Indicate the name of your boat and homeport in letters on the backside of the boat or the sides if there is no space
  4. The Belgium Flag register has to be renewed every 5 years
  5. Be current with your tax payments (VAT, local taxes, etc..)
  6. All local maritime rules still apply, speed, navigation areas etc..

Where do I have to put the name of the boat?

You have to paint or paste the name of the boat and the homeport on the port side (back) of your boat. The minimum size for the letters of the name is 10cm, there is no minimum for the homeport name.

Do I have to pay VAT?

Yes, VAT is a European tax and sailing under a different flag doesn’t exempt you from paying VAT. If you buy a new boat it should show on the bill of sale, if you buy second hand the VAT should have been paid by the previous owner. Ask for proof of this VAT payment when buying the boat.

How much is the registration tax in Belgium?

This is a one time tax , on the first time register to be paid directly to the Belgium ministry of finance upon request and it depends on the age and length of the boat, for example for boats under 7,5 meters its 0 EUR. For boats older than 10 years and over 7,5 meters it starts from 61.50 EUR up to a maximum for new boats of 2478 EUR.

Age Years Amount
<1 2478,00 Euro
> 1 2230,20 Euro
> 2 1982,40 Euro
> 3 1734,60 Euro
> 4 1486.80 Euro
> 5 1239,00 Euro
> 6 991,20 Euro
> 7 743,40 Euro
> 8 495,60 Euro
> 9 247,80 Euro
> 10 61,50 Euro

What documents are needed to register under the Belgium Flag

1) Proof / Certificate of nationality and residency
2) Copy of your passport or national identity card
3) Copy of proof of ownership of your boat (Invoice, bill of sale, notary act…)
4) Cancelation of your previous flag (if applicable)
5) A copy of the EC declaration of conformity for boats built after 1998 and for the engines built after 2006
6) Pictures:
a) A picture of the side of the boat, or jetski,
b) A picture of the HIN number, or hull number
c) A picture of the CE plate of the boat
d) A picture of the serial number of the engine(s) if applicable
7) Online form correctly filled in

For Imported boats: Copy of the EC declaration of conformity Proof / Certificate of payment of the EU VAT

For home build boats: Invoices of the main elements of the boat, like hull, mast, engine,.. An insurance report Declaration/statement in French/Dutch that you are the builder, stating the model of boat, construction time with start and end date, address of the location of construction and a drawing reference.

Safety equipment required on board

  • Rescue Equipment

    • Life vest/jacket : one per person on board
    • Lifebuoy with light, in case of night operating
    • Effective distress signals, including flares
  • Nautical Instruments

    • Magnetic compass
    • Navigation lights
    • Boat horn and manual depth sounder
  • Armament Equipment

    • Anchor, hammer and boat hook
    • Bilge pump or bailer
    • Sufficient number of oars with oarlocks
    • Minimum of 20 m of rope for usual operations
    • Waterproof electrical torch allowing to give light signals
    • Fire extinguisher (for motorboats)
    • Complete sails kit (for sailboats)
  • First Aid Kit

    • Waterproof box with necessary bandages and other usual pharmaceutical products
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