Licensing a Pleasure Vessel

Applying for the Operating Licence for Your Vessel

You should fill in the application form (Form MD 515), follow the guidance notes of the form and return it to the Marine Department along with the required documents and a cheque for the prescribed fee.


After receipt of the application form, with all the details checked and found in good order, a licence will be issued to you. You can check out the link below for more details.


More on application for licensing a pleasure vessel


Ensuring the Operator is certified

The person in charge of your vessel must be a properly certified pleasure vessel operator.  To acquire the certificate for operating your boat, the operator can take the examinations for Pleasure Vessel Operator Certificate of Competency under the River Trade and Local Examination Section of the Marine Department.  The grade of the certificate must be appropriate to the scale of your boat.


More on Pleasure Vessel Operator Certificate of Competency

More on vessel operator requirements (Chapter IX of the Code of Practice for Safety Standards for Class IV Vessels) (pdf file)


Acquiring Insurance

Your vessel should be covered by third party risk insurance of not less than HK$5,000,000 (for those pleasure vessels permitted to carry more than 12 passengers let for hire or reward, coverage requirement is HK$10,000,000). For information on where to acquire such insurance coverage, you may contact the Licensing and Port Formalities Section of the Marine Department at 2852 3082.


Complying with Survey Requirements

Depending on its categories, your vessel shall have plans approved and be surveyed by the officer of the Marine Department, an authorized surveyor or authorized organization. After that, a Certificate of Survey or a Certificate of Inspection will be issued to you.


More on survey requirements


The Local Vessels Safety Section of the Marine Department provides vessel owners with guidance on complying with the safety and environmental protection standards required by law. You can also find informative materials about vessel safety here.


More on local vessel safety and survey


Useful References

Once you have licensed your vessel, you should observe closely the regulations concerning local vessels as well as environmental protection measures required by law.


More on ordinances and subsidiary legislations relating to operating local vessels

More on marine refuses and pollution

No Annoying Noise from Ships leaflet (pdf file)

Measures to Enhance the Safety of Local Vessels During Passage of Tropical Cyclones leaflet (pdf file)

No Excessive Dark Smoke Emission from Vessels leaflet (pdf file)

Keeping Hong Kong Harbour Clean leaflet (pdf file)


Related Links

Safety Tips for Boating


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Last revision date: November 2023