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Belize Port Authority

Maritime Service, Security and Efficiency

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Requirements for Registering and Licensing of Vessels

It is mandatory by law that Boat Owners register and license their vessel with the Belize Port Authority in order to operate within our territorial waters.


Show proof of their Citizenship by presenting either of the following documents:

  • A valid Social Security Card or
  • Passport


Show proof of their status by presenting either of the following documents:

  • Residency Card or
  • Qualified Retiree Program (QRP) Card provided by the Immigration and Nationality Department
  • Land (Title) document and receipt to show taxes are paid

All Owners/Masters are required to show proof of address by presenting a utility bill in their name or the person name the bill is in must acknowledge that he or she lives at the same address.

Locally Built Vessels:

  • Receipt (Bill of Sale) motor vessel (s) and engine (s)
  • Boat Builder’s Certificate/Certificate of Ownership
  • Copy of Owner’s Identification Card
  • Owner’s Utility Bill

Foreign Built Vessels:

  • Certificate of documentation/registry/title
  • Receipt (Bill of Sale) motor vessel (s) and engine (s)
  • Customs Declaration for vessel (s) and engine (s). Engine serial to be noted on the declaration.
  • Custom Assessment Notice
  • Government of Belize receipt for import duty payment
  • Copy of owner’s identification card
  • Owner’s Utility Bill

Where an owner is unable to produce original documents showing ownership of vessel a notarized document must be signed by a Notary Public.

Conditions for Operating a Vessel

The following information shall be displayed on the vessel at all times in a manner that is clearly visible to all passengers in letters equal to or greater than six inches:

  • The Maximum Capacity of vessel
  • The name and emergency contact numbers of the Belize Port Authority (BPA), including the VHF emergency call channel 16
  • The name and emergency contact numbers of the Belize National Coast Guard
  • The name and contact number of the owner or manager of the vessel
  • Marine Casualty: it is the responsibility of the Master of the vessel to immediately report any and all marine casualties/accidents to the Belize Port Authority. No vessel shall be removed from the location of the site of such casualty or accident without the written approval of the Ports Commissioner unless such movement is required to protect life and property. Maritime casualties/accidents shall be reported to the National Maritime Communications Centre on VHF Channel 16 and by Phone at 222-5664.
  • Engines: It shall be the responsibility of the owner to notify the Authority in writing of any change of engine and provide the specifications and proof of ownership required to update the vessel’s Sea-worthiness Certificate. No vessel shall carry an engine that is not identified on the sea-worthiness certificate.
  • Safety: Vessels shall not be operated without the required manning, safety and navigational equipment as specified on the Sea Worthiness Certificate.
  •  It is an offense to carry passengers in excess of the maximum number of passengers stated on the Seaworthiness Certificate.
  • Masters: Only masters with certificates of competency (master’s license) for this class are authorized to operate this vessel.
  • The safety equipment shall be indelibly marked with the name or BPA Registration number of the vessel in letters no smaller than three (3) inches, and shall not be transferred between vessels.
  • All vessels with inboard engines are required to have an automatic fire suppressant device installed in the engine room, which can be activated from the helm/bridge, or which will deploy automatically if human intervention is not initiated.

Licensing Requirements and Renewal

To license a vessel the following are required:

  • Belize Port Authority Registration Certificate
  • A valid Seaworthiness Certificate for the vessel
    • Vessel must be fitted with the proper navigational lights, ie:
      • Sidelights (Port and Starboard)
      • Stern Lights
      • Anchor Lights
      • Mast Head Light
      • Proper anchor and sufficient anchor line for the class of boat being licensed
      • Serviceable and approved life jackets for each passenger and crew
      • Serviceable fire extinguisher fixed to the bulkhead near the engine compartment and passenger seating area, first aid and distress kit on board, (properly maintained).

Note: Crew must be versed with procedures for treating minor injuries and operation of distress flares.