I am looking to book a Brittany Ferries return service from St-Malo (France) to Portsmouth with a car, however it is not registered to my name.

I do have the owner permission (I can have a signed letter from them if needed) to do that trip with the car.

I have never taken a car-ferry before, so I don't know if, at boarding, they would ask to see the registration (nothing is mentioned on their website), and if so, would fact that the registration certificate names differ deny me boarding?

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    And do you have insurance cover, both in France and UK? I have taken a vehicle on cross-channel return journeys from UK (not recently), and been a passenger on other visits. I don't recall being asked for any documentation of the vehicle. Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 19:12
  • ...and Brittany Ferries doesn't mention vehicle documents in "The check-in procedure". Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 19:22
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    Regular user of Brittany Ferries here. We've never been asked to show proof of ownership. You will need to give the correct number plate when booking. Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 9:39
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    again purely FWIW, we have never, ever, ever been asked for any paperwork at all. hope it helps!
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 19:43
  • Another case of never having been asked for documents but that doesn't mean that it couldn't happen. Be sure on the insurance. If you are relying on your insurance then check carefully that it is valid in both countries.
    – badjohn
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


Source: This is all surmise, based on having used Brittany Ferries a lot and seen how they operate

I do not believe Brittany Ferries will care one bit whether you are the registered keeper of the car or not.

Consider this: When you book, you can specify the registration number, but all this does is fills in the dimensions. You can also say "I don't know what vehicle I'm going to bring", and supply the dimensions yourself. It's entirely possible that BF won't know the exact vehicle until you actually check in. So long as it matches the dimensions you said, they won't care.

Consider also this: I have never been asked for any evidence of the registered keeper, or of ownership, or even that I have permission to drive. I like to think that if I turned up in car that had been reported as stolen, they might say something, but beyond that I don't believe they do a live check with DVLA or anything like that.


Regardless of what BF want, bear in mind the general rules on driving abroad. Now, it doesn't mention borrowed (rather than hired) cars here, but nonetheless I'd play it safe and take the V5C, as well as proof of insurance and the letter from the owner. Remember also all the equipment you must have in the car. The French police love imposing on-the-spot fines on drivers of UK-registered cars that have committed minor infractions...

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