Are You a Good Fit for American Vessel Documentation?

American vessel documentation

Have you been trying to determine whether or not American vessel documentation is right for you and your vessel? Did you look up the benefits of documentation and wonder how they would apply to your situation? The process can be perplexing, with seemingly contradictory rules surrounding which vessels must be documented and which may be exempt.

 We know that vessel owners have long found themselves in this predicament. To alleviate the confusion and empower boat owners, we established our platform. Here, we can walk you through the process so that you can make the right decision for you. 

Boat Size and USCG Documentation: the Facts 

If your vessel measures “five net tons or more” and is owned by an American citizen, then you can document. 

However, if your vessel is involved in fishing activities within U.S. navigable waters or the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), documentation is mandatory. The EEZ typically extends approximately 200 nautical miles off the U.S. coast. 

Additionally, vessels used in coastwise trade fall under the documentation requirement, unless an exemption applies. 

In this context, “coastwise trade” encompasses the transportation of merchandise or passengers on U.S. navigable waters or the EEZ. Should your boat meet these criteria, documentation is imperative, albeit with rare exceptions. If you suspect your case might be an exception, our team is readily available to provide assistance and guidance.

Why You May Choose to Document Your Vessel 

Even if your vessel isn’t engaged in “coastwise trade” or fishing activities, you can opt for documentation. As long as your vessel measures a minimum of five net tons and is entirely owned by a U.S. citizen, documentation is a viable choice. It’s crucial to note that “net tons” is a volumetric measure, not a weight measure. Generally, if your vessel exceeds 25 feet in length, it is likely to meet the five net tons criterion.

Many who don’t have to document their vessel do so in hopes of securing financing. With documentation, you can apply for a First Preferred Ship’s Mortgage 

Choosing the Right Endorsement for Your Vessel’s Purpose

Tailoring your documentation to your vessel’s intended use involves selecting an appropriate endorsement. For instance, if your vessel operates as a ferry, a “Coastwise” endorsement is the right fit. A vessel dedicated exclusively to fishing requires a “Fishery” endorsement. 

On the other hand, a “Recreation” endorsement is suitable for vessels intended solely for leisure activities. It’s essential to note that vessels with a “Recreation” endorsement are restricted to recreational use only. Lastly, a “Registry” endorsement is designated for vessels engaged in foreign trade.

American vessel documentation

American Vessel Documentation Today and Tomorrow

Even if you’ve absorbed the information presented thus far, lingering questions about the documentation process are entirely understandable. We firmly believe that a well-informed vessel owner is equipped to make sound decisions regarding documentation.  To see all of the ways we can help you through the documentation process, we invite you to check out our site.