Licensing and Application Requirements for Harbour Craft

Harbour craft must meet the requirements specified here. Changes to the craft may also require applications to be made.

Carriage of passengers or persons on a harbour craft

“Passenger” means every person on board other than:

  • the master and members of the crew, or other persons employed or engaged on board the vessel; and
  • a child under one year of age

Gross tonnage of vessel

The Gross Tonnage (GT) of a vessel is one of the bases for charging the licence fees and the port dues. Measure the gross tonnage by the formula [ GT = Length x Breadth x Depth x 0.2823 ] if a vessel:

  • is not registered in an Port of Registry; or
  • is not issued with any approved Tonnage Certificate

See the rates of payment of fees and dues for the various tonnage, types and classes of crafts.

Mooring or storage base

The MPA Port Regulations do not allow any vessel to:

  • anchor, moor, lie or loiter in a way that obstruct the approach of other vessels to any anchorage, wharf or landing place;
  • anchor in any fairway or lie in any position that obstruct a fairway; or
  • beach within the port without the prior written permission from the Port Master

We therefore advise owners and operators to ensure that their vessels are properly moored/stored at designated or approved places when they are not in use. Find a suitable mooring or storage base before applying for a licence.

Inspection of the vessel

Every vessel should pass a compulsory inspection of her hull, equipment and appliances for the licensing as a harbour craft and thereafter every 12 months before its licence is renewed. Harbour craft issued with valid statutory safety certificates by MPA’s Shipping Division or any of the recognised Classification Societies will be exempted from these inspections when they renew their licences.

a. Arranging for inspection

Arrange an inspection at the Marinet website for the place, date and time of the inspection at least one week in advance.

An applicant may request to conduct an inspection for the craft at an alternate site if it cannot be at a designated site due to draught, size constraint or other valid reasons. Marine Licensing and Permits(MLP) decides on the acceptance of the alternative inspection site subject to the availability of a Port Inspector.

The MPA reserves the right to change the inspection timeslot without prior notice.

b. Passing the inspection

The applicant will receive a Craft Inspection Report once the craft passes the inspection. He must make payment for the necessary dues and fees with the report within seven (7) days from the date of inspection. Thereafter, the applicant will receive a craft licence certificate.

c. Cancellation or change of appointment for inspection

The applicant will have his inspection fee forfeited if he fails to turn up or fails to notify MLP of any cancellation / change of appointment one working day before the inspection.

Display of licence number

Marine Licensing and Permits (MLP) assigns a Craft Licence Number on receipt of the relevant documents. The licence number shall be:

  • Carved-on, cut-in, or centred punched into the main beam of the vessel;
  • Painted on each side of the bow and on every portable item of life-saving and fire-fighting appliances against a contrasting background; and
  • Kept legible and visible at all times

The minimum height, breadth and thickness of each letter/number for each of the bow on a craft shall be as follows:


Length of vesselHeightBreadthThickness
Under 5 metres10 cm7 cm2 cm
Between 5 and 20 metres20 cm15 cm4 cm
Above 20 metres30 cm20 cm5 cm



SP, Wooden SB, Wooden ST &Wooden SRHarbour craft licence numbers to be mounted on the rooftop of the wheelhouse in an upright/horizontal position where the licence numbers could best be seen on both port and starboard sides.Licence number to be painted at least 15 cm in height, 9 cm in breadth and 2.5 cm in thickness against a contrasting background.
Steel SB,Steel SR & Steel SC,   Steel ST.As above.Licence number to be painted at least 30 cm in height, 21 cm in breadth and 5 cm in thickness against a contrasting background.
Wooden SC with canvas awningsHarbour craft licence numbers to be painted on the canvas awnings above their normal “rolled-up” position.Licence number to be painted at least 15 cm in height, 9 cm in breadth and 2.5 cm in thickness against a contrasting background.

Renewal of craft licence

Renew the harbour craft licence before the licence expiry date. It is an offence to operate a craft without a valid harbour craft licence.

The owner has to do the following for licence renewal:

  • Pay the dues and fees. An owner will receive a Late Renewal Fee for payment received after the expiry date;
  • Arrange for the inspection of the vessel with MLP before the expiry date of the craft licence; and
  • Submit the documents required for the renewal of the craft licence.

Medisave for Self-Employed Scheme

Self-employed applicants must ensure that they have paid up their medisave liabilities or have arranged for payment by instalment. For more information on the Medisave for the Self-Employed Scheme or to check the Medisave payment status for licence application or renewal, please logon to the CPF website at
Owners of harbour craft exempted from inspection shall ensure that their statutory safety certificates / documents remain valid throughout the duration of the licence.

Display of the craft licence certificate

Display the craft licence in a conspicuous place on board at all times. The Port Master, his representative or any police officer may demand to see the certificate.

Change of licensed harbour craft particulars

Report any changes of licensed craft particulars to MLP within 7 days. Marine Licensing and Permits will update the particulars and issue a new craft licence certificate. You will find the types of change and the requirements of submission shown below:

a. Change of ownership

Unless the transfer of ownership is effected via Marinet, the previous owner will be held responsible for every violation of Regulations, and for all dues and fees payment for the vessel. The documents required for the change of ownership are as follows:

NRICs of both buyer and seller or latest information printout from ACRA for company owned:

  • New insurance policy to cover the new owner;
  • Bill of Sale bearing both purchaser’s and seller’s acknowledgement;
  • Original craft licence certificate;
  • Manning licences of the minimum crew; and
  • Mooring letter for confirmation of mooring/storage base of craft, if applicable

b. Change of gross tonnage, dimension or usage of vessel

The Port Master must first approve to any conversion work. The owner must perform the following upon approval or completion of the alteration:

  • Submit the original craft licence certificate;
  • Duly complete and submit the Application Form (PM74);
  • Make arrangement for the inspection of the craft in accordance with the section on inspection of the vessel;
  • Pay the Inspection Fee and any other dues or fees;
  • Pay any additional dues and fees for the difference if there is an increase in GT or higher rate of licence

c. Change of propelling machinery or manning particulars

  • Return the original craft licence certificate for amendment;
  • Submit documentary proof on the change(s), e.g. new engine receipt/invoice or manning licences, etc.
  • Make arrangement for the in accordance with the section on inspection of the vessel.
  • Pay the Inspection Fee.

Registration of lien

The mortgagee or creditors of the craft subjected to the terms and conditions of a Mortgage Deed, Hire Purchase Agreement, Financing, Leasing and other financial arrangements may apply to OSDC for the endorsement of such instruments. The Craft Register and craft licence certificate will reflect such endorsements.

  • The Mortgagee or Creditors need to do the following for application:
  • Submit a letter stating the request;
  • Submit 3 sets of the Mortgage Deed/Hire-Purchase or Lease Agreement, etc; and
  • Pay the Mortgage Registration Fee)

The MLP will issue a craft licence certificate upon registration. It would then be the duty of the Mortgagee or Creditors to inform MLP in writing of the eventual discharge of the Mortgage/Agreement, or of any Notice of Possession/Seizure issued for the craft. When the Mortgage/Agreement is discharged, the craft licence certificate must again be submitted to MLP for updating.

Plying limits and craft leaving port

Harbour craft licences are issued strictly for the use of the vessel within the port limits of Singapore or places within the port limit as stipulated in the craft licence certificate.

Every harbour craft proceeding outside Port Limits must possess a valid port clearance certificate.

Cancellation of craft licence

Notify the Port Master in writing to cancel a craft licence. Use any of the following procedures to cancel the licence:

a. Laying-up

Apply for a Lay-Up Permit if a vessel is to be laid-up. The owner of a vessel must submit a letter issued by the owner or manager of such premises to confirm the authorisation of the vessel’s laying up position if the vessel is to be laid up on private land and clear of the port water at all heights of tide. The craft may require an inspection.

Inspection Fees are payable in accordance with the rates set out.

b. Breaking-up

Apply for a Break-Up Permit if the vessel is to be broken-up. In addition, the owner should arrange at the Marinet website to conduct a break-up inspection and a post-break-up inspection immediately after the vessel is completely broken up to ensure that the site is clear of debris.

Inspection Fees are payable in accordance with the rates set out.

The MLP accepts photographs as evidence of the disposal / break-up of the harbour craft. Accompany the photographs with an official letter from the shipyard / shipbreaker confirming that the craft had been broken-up on a stated date within their premises.

c. Left port or shipped out

Submit to Marine Licensing and Permits (MLP) a photocopy of the port clearance certificate, Export Permit issued or any documentary evidence of a vessel that has left the port for good or shipped out to have the licence cancelled.

d. Lost or missing

The owner shall submit a copy of the Report lodged with the Police if the vessel is lost or missing.

e. Damage due to incident or other accident

The owner, master or person-in-charge of the vessel shall submit a full written report to the Port Master within 24 hours of the accident or incident, and surrender the craft licence certificate to the Port Master. The report should state:

  • the circumstances leading to the accident or occurrence;
  • the extent of damage to his vessel, the extent of damage to third parties (if any); and
  • whether any injury or loss of life was caused

Radio communication requirements for licensed harbour craft

Harbour craft that meet the requirements below must have a Radiotelephone that is capable of operating in the International Maritime Mobile VHF Radio Communication Service in the 156-174 MHz Band on Channels 7, 12, 18, 20, 21 and 22.

  • Self-propelled vessel exceeding 300 GT;
  • Tugboat engaged in towing where the combined GT of the tugboat and the vessel that is being towed exceeds 300;
  • Port Limit Tanker; and
  • Port Limit Passenger Vessel

The Radiotelephone shall at all times be maintained in effective working condition and shall be available for operation on the navigational bridge of the vessel.

Exclusion under the prevention of pollution of the Sea (Air) Regulations 2005

For a ship that is solely engaged in voyages within Singapore waters:

  • Regulation 13(1)(a) will not apply to any diesel engine installed on a ship constructed or undergone a major conversion before 19 May 2005. This is in accordance to the First Schedule of the PPS (Air) Regulations 2005.
  • Regulation 16(2)(a) will not apply to any incinerator installed on a ship before 19 May 2005 according to Regulation 16 (2)(b) of the First Schedule of the PPS (Air) Regulations 2005.

Navigational lights carried by every harbour craft

Vessel TypeMasthead LightStarboard SidelightPort Sidelight
SternlightAnchor Light
Power- driven Vessel2-112
50m and above
12m – 50m11111
Under 20m1May combined in one lantern11
Under 12mAn round white light and sidelight--
Length & Speed 7m and 7knots respectivelyAn all round white light ( if practicable, also exhibit sidelights)--
Sailing Vessel-1112
20m & above-May combined in one lantern11
Length under 7mElectric Torch / Lantern showing a white light
Vessel under oarsElectric Torch / Lantern showing a white light
Vessel engaged in towing31111
All vessels engaging in towing operation (ST) should have a working yellow towing light on board and this light should be illuminated during the towing operation.


Contact information of Marine Licensing and Permits
Tel No: 1800 272 7777
Fax: (65) 6325 2376