Coast Guard Boat Documentation: Why Is It Necessary?

Coast Guard Boat Documentation

So you already bought a vessel and now you want to take it to the sea. Sure thing, it’s what ships are made for sailing. But is it ready yet? Before you start the boat’s engine, you must obtain the proper documentation for your ship once you acquire it. 

It’s important to know what kind of documentation you need to comply with the authorities and be a responsible vessel owner.

Coast Guard Boat Documentation

State Registration Vs Coast Guard Boat Documentation

Where and for what do you intend to use your ship? Are you planning on using a yacht in a river or a motorboat in the sea? Is it for recreational use or for commercial purposes? How much does the ship measure? 

If you own a recreational vessel that measures less than five net tons (around 25 feet) and intend to use it in US continental waters, state registration is enough. You can get it with your local Department of Motorized Vehicles. But if you are planning to engage in commercial activities, such as fishing or transporting cargo/people, you must get the Coast Guard Boat Documentation. A recreational vessel over five net tons can be eligible for documentation as well (you are still required to be a US citizen for it)

Documentation proves the ship’s nationality for international purposes and also legitimates commerce between the states, and admits vessels to certain restricted trades (such as fisheries and coastwise). State-registered ships can’t pursue commercial activities.

Benefits Of Documenting Your Vessel

Acquiring a Coast Guard Boat Documentation, even if it’s not mandatory, proves to be quite superior to state registration. Documented vessels are easier to be accepted by foreign governments, and are eligible for Preferred Ship Mortgages that can facilitate financing in case you need it. They also show their name and hailing port, unlike state registered ones which display state registration numbers

How Do I Apply for Coast Guard Boat Documentation?

If you are looking to document your ship at a federal level, you can apply for the form on our website. Look for the ‘INITIAL VESSEL DOCUMENTATION’ option on the main page to get started. Vessel Documentation Online is a private agency that helps people like you to get their paperwork in order easily so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of documents. 

Complete the online form, submit the docs and fees and leave the rest up to us. We will keep you updated about the U.S. Coast Guard waitlist times. Our site is SSL encrypted to protect your information. Trust your Coast Guard Boat Documentation to us.