Getting Your US Coast Guard Registration Has Never Been Easier

US Coast Guard registration

“Do I really need to register my vessel with the Coast Guard? The process sounds like a lot of work,” is something we hear fairly often. We understand that the US Coast Guard registration might seem complicated at first, but don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be that hard.

The Basics of US Coast Guard Registration

What is the purpose of registering your vessel with the United States Coast Guard? Well, think about why you register your car at the DMV every year. The whole point is to maintain an official registry of the vehicles out on the road and their owners, streamlining the process of insurance and regulations to be easier to tie into each specific vehicle. A similar concept applies for your US Coast Guard registration: there needs to be a record of the vessels sailing on American waters and what their activities are. After all, there are different regulations for commercial and recreational vessels, which is why these need to be registered as one of the other to enforce these. Let’s go over how you can register your vessel.

What Will You Need to Register a Vessel?


  • Application for initial registration – This will be the main component of your application for registration because it is, after all, the application itself. The new owner, or someone legally acting on their behalf, will need to submit this with their contact information and data about the vessel.
  • Builder’s certification and first transfer of title – When submitting initial documentation, you will need to submit the builder’s certification completed by the builder of the vessel themselves. Please note that evidence of US build is required for all vessels seeking a fishery or coastwise endorsement.
  • Application for simplified measurement – This will be needed to establish tonnage calculations when the builder’s certification is not provided.
  • Bill of sale – This form won’t have to be submitted if the builder’s certification and the first transfer of title forms are submitted with the applicant shown as the party for whom the vessel was built. Otherwise, submit an original bill of sale or a copy that’s been signed by everyone transferring interest in the vessel. 


Simplified Application Method

Now, there is a simplified US Coast Guard registration method to establish ownership when there is already state or foreign registration. To do this, a copy of the title or registration must be provided with the bill(s) of sale from the registered owner to applicant. If the foreign registry is similar to the United States documentation, provide a copy of the registry and evidence of removal from foreign registry in addition to the bill of sale. Please note that the simplified method does not apply to coastwise vessels of over 200 ITC gross tons. In addition to US-build evidence, also submit the complete chain of title and proof of U.S. citizenship for all past owners. 

Get Your Registration in Place

Whether you need your initial US Coast Guard registration, a renewal, a reinstatement, or anything else, you can find all the necessary forms on our homepage. Should you need help, you can reach out to us. Give us a call at 1-866-981-8783 or email us at with your questions.