The Red Ensign, a red flag with the Union Jack in the top corner next to the flagstaff, is flown by British-registered ships and is an internationally recognised symbol of quality, regulation, and safety.

It is the flag of the Red Ensign Group which is a group of British Shipping Registers that form a central register of all ships on the UK Ship Register.The registers are divided into two categories which comprises the UK and it’s territories, each of which operates their own shipping register:

Category 1 – ships of unlimited tonnage and type and length:

  • United Kingdom                                                         Cayman Islands
  • Bermuda                                                                      Gibraltar
  • British Virgin Islands                                                   Isle of Man

Category 2 – commercial ships of up to 150 GRT; and pleasure vessels which are not operated commercially of up to 400 GRT:

  • Anguilla                                                                       Montserrrat 
  • Falkland Islands                                                          St Helena
  • Guernsey                                                                    Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Jersey

Any vessel registered in the UK, a Crown Dependency or UK Overseas Territory, is considered a “British ship” and is entitled to fly the prestigious Red Ensign flag   (also known as the Red Duster) which was originally flown by the British Royal Navy in the seventeenth century. Today, all British registered ships are entitled to protection and assistance from the British Royal Navy and the Red Ensign Group of ship registers is tantamount to quality shipping within the maritime sector. It is the flag of choice for many owners seeking high technical, social and administrative standards.