A Coast Guard Documentation Number: What it Means and How You Can Use It

Coast Guard documentation number

Do you know the difference between a Coast Guard documentation number and a state registration one? Have you been trying to find more information about a given vessel and aren’t sure where to start? While documentation isn’t necessary for all vessels, it offers numerous advantages for many vessel owners. Through our National Documentation Portal site you can find the necessary forms to acquire a documentation number as well as the ones to maintain it and more. 

US Coast Guard Documentation: Beyond State Boundaries

Coast Guard documentation is national documentation, it’s federal. That means it applies to all fifty states, not just one. Indeed, this is the difference between state registration and a USCG number. Now, some USCG-documented vessels must also be registered with the state, depending on the rules in your particular state. 

Benefits of a Documented Vessel Number

One of the most popular advantages to vessel documentation is the ease of securing financing. A vast majority of lenders require this federal documentation to grant financing. With it, your lender’s interest can be secured by a Preferred Ship’s Mortgage, which, for many, can be a lifeline for acquiring the necessary funds. 

Documentation Requirements

To acquire this coveted documentation, certain criteria must be met. You must be the rightful owner of the vessel and a US citizen. In the case of purchasing a used vessel, you must provide a bill of sale or equivalent documentation proving the transfer of ownership to you.

Vessels That Can Receive a Coast Guard Documentation Number 

Remember: not all vessels need this documentation. It primarily concerns commercial vessels weighing five net tons or more. However, pleasure/recreational vessels that exceed five net tons may also opt for documentation. A simple rule of thumb: if your vessel stretches beyond 25 feet in length, it’s highly likely to have a volume of five net tons or more. 

Documentation Search 

At our site, you can use a documentation number to learn more about a particular vessel. Just go to the “search” on the left and then type in the “Official Number” or the “HIN” (Hull Identification Number). This search can tell you plenty about a particular vessel. You can learn about the vessel’s particulars, such as when its Certificate of Documentation was issued when it will expire, and so forth. 

You’ll also be provided plenty of information about the vessel’s dimensions, etc. What you won’t find, however, is anything about the vessel’s ownership. As that was taken offline about five years ago now, you can find that by applying for an Abstract of Title through our site.

Coast Guard documentation number

A Place for Documentation

Regardless of your vessel’s documentation needs, our platform can serve as a one-stop destination. We provide all the necessary US Coast Guard forms required for interested vessel owners. From initial registration to renewals and more, our user-friendly forms streamline the process. Should you have any queries about the appropriate documents for your vessel, please explore our site or reach out to us.