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Dinghy on board: Go shopping with the dinghy?

Many owners of larger yachts know the problem: for shopping you come with the yacht often not close enough to land to be able to bunker for the next few days, whether because of lack of space, lack of mooring infrastructure on land or because it is simply too flat on the shore. But why do you have a dinghy on board? What to consider if you want to “shop” (bunker) with the dinghy.

Many owners of larger yachts, especially deeper sailing yachts, nowadays carry a dinghy on longer trips as a matter of course. A dinghy, by definition, is first and foremost a “boat carried by a larger watercraft” and used “primarily for ferrying the ship’s crew, passengers or pilots, transporting goods, raising anchor or rescuing others from distress at sea.” They are usually carried on deck, usually on davits, lashed or towed on deck and are often motorized.


Shopping by dinghy (Dinghy): dinghy on board


Only if the dinghy is used as a dinghy, a license plate is sufficient

So far, so good. But with many yacht owners there is uncertainty about whether they may use their dinghy in addition to the actual purpose as mostly to transfer the crew beyond that to “go shopping” (to bunkering). The problem: only if the dinghy is used exclusively in its function as a dinghy (see above), an attached reference to the mother ship (“tender to”) on the dinghy is sufficient as a mark.

Concretely: abroad a dinghy is labeled with “tt” and name of the mother ship, for example “tt Princess” (is pronounced “tender to Princess”). And: “only if the dinghy is used within sight of the main boat, it can also be included in the hull insurance”, recommends SeaHelp Insurance insurance expert Robert Perger (see also already contribution of 5.8.2021).

If the dinghy is used for independent trips, it must be registered

However, if the motorized dinghy is to be used for independent trips such as bunkering, the dinghy is subject to registration because any vehicle equipped with an engine with more than 3hp (2.21kW) of power is considered a small motorized vehicle and is subject to a corresponding registration requirement.

As small motorized vehicles, dinghies are also subject to this regulation. This applies in particular if the dinghy is used – at least also – for independent trips. Then, depending on the cruising area, a separate IBS and a separate license plate must be applied for.

If the dinghy is subject to registration, it must be registered (for example in Germany) with the Water and Shipping Authority, it then receives an official license plate, which however is only valid within the federal territory.

For those who want to use their boat additionally or exclusively abroad, an IBS makes sense. There are also regulations for the proper attachment: the IBS license plate must be attached to the outside of both sides of the bow or the stern / transom of the (side) boat in ten centimeter high numbers / letters.

In case of doubt, it is better to insure dinghies separately

In this case, the dinghy must also be insured separately, as there is “no coverage outside the line of sight to the main boat,” says Robert Perger. In case of doubt, it is therefore “always better to insure dinghies separately, because in case of doubt they are also a separate vehicle,” advises the insurance expert.

The above also applies to a CE declaration of conformity: as long as the dinghy is registered in the IBS exclusively as a dinghy, no separate CE declaration is required for it. If, on the other hand, the boat is used not only as a dinghy, but as an independent small vehicle, it also requires its own IBS and thus the corresponding CE declaration and its own insurance.

In Croatia applies: Boats always require their own vignette if they are longer than 2.5 meters, or if they have more than five KW power. A registration at the harbor office is mandatory in this case. SeaHelp is happy to assist with boat registration.



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