Swiss ocean-going yachts are intended uniquely for pleasure or sport. The Swiss Office of Maritime Navigation (SMNO) is responsible for their registration. It also issues confirmation of flag registration to small boats sailing on foreign inland waterways and coastal waters. The SMNO is responsible for registering ocean-going yachts and small boats sailing under the Swiss flag.

Switzerland Yacht Registration Key Features and Requirements

  1. The SMNO checks that legal and technical conditions for registration are fulfilled and issues the certificate of flag registration to applicants.
  2. The certificate of flag registration is valid for sailing at sea and in foreign waters. It is issued on the basis of Art. 5 of the Ordinance of 15 March 1971 on Swiss Sea-Going Yachts (Ordinance on Yachts, RS 747.321.7; in German, French and Italian only).
  3. To be considered sea-worthy, yachts are generally expected to have living quarters, an automatic bilge pump in the cockpit and to be equipped in compliance with the guidelines of the Swiss Maritime Navigation Office (SMNO).
  4. The certificate of flag registration is required for sailing at sea under the Swiss flag. Breaches of the regulations are punishable under Art. 143 of the Federal Act on Navigation under the Swiss Flag (RS 747.30).
  5. In particular, regulations concerning yachts must be respected: Swiss-registered yachts may not be used for commercial purposes (Art. 17) and are allowed only in exceptional circumstances to be used by a third party (Art. 18).
  6. The application form, duly completed and signed, must be sent with required to the Swiss Maritime Navigation Office of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Incomplete applications will not be processed.


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