Maritime Affairs

Maritime Affairs refers to the facilitation of the development of ports and the shipping industry, the promotion of decent living, working and social conditions for seafarers, as well as safety and security at sea and the prevention of marine pollution from ships into the sea and into the atmosphere. Learn more about this department.

The Maritime Affairs Division performs the following services:

Ship Registration


The Barbados Maritime Ships’ Registry is the executive agency of the Barbados Government which registers all foreign-going ships and all near coastal Caribbean trade ships over 150 tonnes.  This agency is based at the Barbados High Commission in London.


Section 15 of the Shipping Act, Cap 296 empowers the Director of Maritime Affairs to register vessels under 150 tons.  

Proof of ownership is required.

All vessels are registered subject to their seaworthiness.  An inspection is required by one of the following Marine Surveyors:

Name Contact # Email Address
Mr. Anthony Hinds 546-6608/265-0482
Mr. Carl Garraway 571-1116/269-7839
Cmdr David Dowridge 230-9133/262-6038
Mr. Derek Johnson 271-8344/826-6020
Mr. Martin Smyth 433-9499/230-1532
Mr. Malcolm Thompson 233-4640/433-4387

Proof of insurance coverage is required for all vessels engaged in commercial activity.  Under the Shipping (Watersports) Regulations all speedboats are required to be insured whether they are used recreationally or commercially.

A Permit to Ply Hire is required for all commercial vessels.  This is issued by this office for speedboats and jet skis and by the Harbour Master, Barbados Port Inc. for RB vessels and vessels over 10 GRT.  The cost of the permit is $100.00.

For RB vessels the relevant application form should be completed.  For vessels over 10 GRT a form entitled Notice of Name Proposed for a Barbadian Ship should be submitted upon initial registration or if there is to be a name change with change of ownership.  Both forms are obtainable from this office.


Registration fees are as follows:

Type of Vessel Initial Registration Renewal
Speedboat/ Jet Ski BBD $100 BBD $100
RB BBD $72.80 BBD $24.80
Vessels Over 10 GRT Calculated based on tonnage -


Grant of Other Permit/Licenses

  1. Police Certificate of Character
  2. Three (3) passport-sized photos
  3. A fee of BBD $140.00
  4. A valid form of Identification (B’dos I.D. Card, Passport, or Driver’s license)

Initially, a Speedboat Learner Driver’s Permit which is valid for three (3) months is issued along with study material and a list of speedboat driving instructors.

Written and practical examinations will be booked at the Barbados Coast Guard Headquarters.

You should be accompanied on the practical test by a speedboat driving instructor from the list provided and the registration of the speedboat used should be valid.

After passing the examinations, a fee of $40.00 is payable to this office for the Speedboat Driver’s Licence.

Speedboat drivers’ permits / licences and licenses to ply for hire are issued pursuant to the Shipping (Watersports) Regulations, 2004.


Certification of Seafarers

Seafarers are certified and issued with the requisite documents.  Seafarers certificates of identity are issued as required under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention, (No. 108).


Shipping Incentives

The Shipping (Incentives) Act, Cap. 90A makes provision for the granting of tax and duty incentives to approved shipping companies.  According to the Act, the Minister may make an Order to declare companies as approved shipping companies.   These companies receive, inter alia, duty free concessions in relation to the importation of vessels, certain items used in commercial shipping, boating and sport fishing and articles used for building, refurbishing, transporting, maintenance or repair of ships, and income tax concessions in relation to training and marketing expenses.  These incentives are for a period of fifteen (15) years.


Licences to Operate Casinos & Shops on Board Cruise Ships

The Cruise Ships (Opening of Facilities) Act, Cap 2012-20 provides for the opening of on board casinos and shops of cruise ships berthed in the port of Bridgetown. The Minister responsible for shipping may on application

  • grant a licence to operate a casino on a cruise ship berthed in the port
  • grant a licence to operate a cruise ship shop on a cruise ship berthed in the Port

to open during the period 6:00 pm to 6:00 am provided that the cruise ship remains at berth in the Port for at least twelve hours each visit.  A licence may be issued for a period not exceeding two years and is renewable.


Buoyed Swimming Areas

Pursuant to Regulation 28 of the Shipping (Watersports) Regulations, 2004 any person wishing to erect such a safe swimming area must apply to the Director of Maritime Affairs for permission to do so.