SURVEY procedures 

A shipowner or manager seeking to register a ship in the Isle of Man should initially make contact with a Registrar and the Principal Surveyor to discuss survey requirements.

Merchant vessels registering with us will require an Initial General Inspection (IGI) by an Isle of Man surveyor either prior to registration or within 6 months of registration as follows.

Existing ships

The timing of the IGI is dependent upon the age of the vessel and its Port State Control (PSC) history. Generally, existing vessels less than ten years old which maintain an acceptable PSC inspection history will not require an IGI prior to registration.  Such vessels will however need to be attended for an IGI within six months of registration.

Vessels more than 10 years old will be attended by an Isle of Man surveyor prior to registration.

New ships

A ship built at a shipyard which has delivered IoM-registered ships previously to an owner/manager which has ships currently registered with this administration will not normally be attended for an IGI prior to registration.  The IGI is however required to be carried out within six months of registration.

Ships delivered from yards which have not previously built ships to the Isle of Man flag, and ships owned/managed by companies previously unknown to this administration, will normally be attended for an IGI prior to registration.

Please contact the Principal Surveyor to confirm the inspection requirements for your situation.


The Isle of Man Ship Registry takes great care to ensure ships flying the Manx flag uphold the Isle of Man’s reputation for quality.

After the IGI, all vessels on the register will have two General Inspections within a 5 year period, starting from the date of the IGI. These inspections will be carried out by an Isle of Man surveyor at a time and place to suit the operator.  A comprehensive report will be provided after each inspection.

For vessels which register on or after 1st April 2017, ISM, ISPS and MLC inspections and audits are automatically delegated to Class. For vessels registered before 1st April 2017, there is an optional transitional period during which ships may elect to continue to have ISM, ISPS and MLC inspections carried out by an Isle of Man Surveyor until 2020. After 2020 these inspection this will be fully delegated to the vessel’s Classification Society.

MLC and ISPS approval requirements

A ship's DMLC Part II and Ship Security Plan continue to be approved by the Isle of Man Ship Registry – details of this process can be found in MLN 5.1.3 and MSN 064 respectively.


In the event that a ship is involved in a casualty the owner or manager is required by law to notify the Ship Registry immediately. MSN 003 gives detailed advice how this should be done.

Depending on the circumstances, the Ship Registry may decide to carry out an investigation - see our Casualties Reports page.


The latest version of the Master's Handbook is available for download here.