For ships up to 15 m hull length
The BSH can issue a flag certificate for ships with a maximum hull length of 15 m on the basis of the "Flaggenrechtsgesetz" (flag law act). It serves as proof of the right to fly the German flag (but is not proof of ownership) and is internationally valid according to the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1958 Convention on the High Seas.
The prerequisite for the issue of a flag certificate is a ship intended for navigation. Such a ship must be suitable for navigation by reason , inter alia, of its design, superstructures and dimensions. The seaworthiness classification contained in Directive 2013/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (Recreational Craft Directive) is used to determine whether a vessel is intended for navigation. Vehicles that are not suitable for navigation can apply for an International Boat Licence from DSV (German sailing association), DMYV (German motor yachting association) or ADAC (general German automobile club).
The flag certificate is issued to vessels owned by nationals of a Member State of the European Community. The ship must not be registered in any other shipping register (shipping register of sea-going ships, inland shipping register or foreign register). Ships flying the German flag for which a flag certificate is to be issued must have a German home port (an independent municipality or town on navigable waters). Both the home port and the ship's name must be clearly visible and firmly attached to the ship (in a font size of at least 10 cm).
The validity of the flag certificate is 8 years and can be extended. They must notify the BSH of any change to the registered data or loss of the flag certificate without culpable delay. The fee for an issue, a change or an extension is 88,- € and has to be paid in advance.
You must return a flag certificate to the BSH immediately (no fees are associated with this) if the vessel
- is sold,
- decommissioned or
- was entered in a German or foreign shipping register.