How Documenting a Vessel Lets You Run Your Business

documenting a vessel

Are you in the process of documenting a vessel yet are stumped by section J? Do you know that you want to use your vessel for one business or another, but aren’t sure how to stay in compliance with the powers that be while you do so? There are many benefits to having a Certificate of Documentation for your vessel. Not the least of which is having the proper endorsement for your vessel, so that you can use it in the exact manner that you would like. 

Documenting A Vessel Coastwise 

Do you want to use your vessel to transport people or goods on American waters? Have you decided to start a business where you carry cargo or people somewhere within 200 miles off of the coast of the United States? If either of those is the case, then you’re going to want to choose the “Coastwise” endorsement. With that, you can carry people or goods legally on American waters or within the “Exclusive Economic Zone,” within 200 miles off of the coast. 

Fishery and Registry 

Did you read the above paragraph and think something like: “yes, I want something like the ‘Coastwise’ endorsement, but I’m going to want to do that for fishing.” In that case, the “Fishery” endorsement is the correct one. You’ll be able to fish where you want, in American waters or in the Exclusive Economic Zone. While “Registry,” as the name of an endorsement, holds few clues as to what it makes possible in its name, the truth is this endorsement makes it possible to engage in foreign trade. If you have any questions about how any of this works, our staff is always glad to answer your questions. 


Perhaps the most common endorsement is the “Recreational” one. It means exactly what it sounds like: that you can use your vessel for recreation. Fun on the water with family and friends – that’s what this endorsement is all about. However, something to keep in mind: if you get this endorsement, recreation is all you can use your vessel for. You can’t just get the “Recreational” endorsement and then, on a whim, start a Coastwise trade business. That said, we also have the forms that make it possible for you to change your endorsement, too. With that, you’ll always be able to use your vessel how you want. 

Documenting a Vessel and After 

Choosing the right endorsement for your vessel and getting your Certificate of Documentation may be the end of that particular process, but for many, it’s just the start of vessel ownership. We have the forms that you’ll need throughout the course of owning your vessel. The time will come (possibly sooner than you think) where you’ll need to renew your vessel’s documentation, or you might decide it would make everything easier to get a mortgage. You can find the forms for those processes and so much else at our site. To see all that we offer, head to our site or call (866) 981-8783.