In Waterkampioen 12/13 we talked about the dangers of buying a boat whose origin you cannot properly trace, and the risk that under certain circumstances you will lose the ownership of your stolen / resold boat, if a third party / buyer can claim third party protection.
As a boat owner, what else can you do besides chains, locks and track and trace systems (see Jan Fraterman’s article in this issue) to ensure that your vessel remains your vessel? You can build in an extra safety valve to minimize the risk of this loss of ownership, namely having the vessel registered/registered with the Land Registry.
The Land Registry collects information about registered property in the Netherlands and keeps it in public registers. Registered property includes not only immovable property, such as houses and apartments, but also movable property such as ships and aircraft. You can register your pleasure craft in the so-called Ship Register. Whereas in the past this mainly involved large vessels such as tankers, nowadays more and more owners of pleasure craft and houseboats are finding their way to the Land Register. What is your advantage? First of all, if your ship is registered – and is therefore a registered property – you can get a mortgage on your ship. If you live permanently on board and the boat has a permanent berth, then it is also the ‘first home’ and the mortgage interest is deductible. Having a ship under construction registered is also a good precaution to avoid losing your ship and the money you spent when the yard where you have your ship built, goes bankrupt (see Waterkampioen number 19/2006).
However, for this article it is important to note that registration is the only proof that you are the rightful owner of a ship. How does registration work? You can request the necessary forms from the Cadastre (www.kadaster.nl). The costs are very limited. After the ship has been entered in the shipping register, you can request a so-called brand to the Cadastre. Employees of the Cadastre will apply this brand. On aluminum and steel ships the brand is chiseled out and on polyester ships and houseboats a plastic plate is applied. This brand is a unique mark, after which the ship is internationally identified. It is therefore easy for the police to trace a registered ship. When the ship is registered, it remains your property even if it is resold by the thief or a third party. For an appeal to third party protection is namely no room because a buyer from the registers can/should know who the owner of the vessel is. If it is not the seller, the buyer is with a probability not in good faith! In addition, for the legal transfer of ownership of the registered ship the same applies as for the transfer of a house. Both have become registered property and so a legally valid transfer requires the notary to draw up a deed, execute it and enter it in the shipping register. In other words: a thief will never be able to legally sell your boat because a notary obviously only accepts as a seller the person who is registered as owner in the shipping register.
When at a certain point you still want to sell the Vessel yourself and do not want to incur the costs of a notary – so you want to sell the Vessel privately – you as the owner can have the registration in the Cadastre deleted. The registration of the ship is voluntary.
Postscript: Do you still remember? The case of the ‘scolding’ (Waterkampioen 15/16). It does not always take years of litigation to reach a solution. During the court session, both parties adopted a constructive attitude after which they found each other in a solution that was mutually acceptable and all recriminations were over and done with.
More information or download old articles: https://www.anwb.nl/kampioen/algemeen/digitaal-archief