How to Conduct A Documented Vessel Search by Number

documented vessel search by number

If you ever find yourself with the need to find out more information about a vessel that you potentially have in your sights to buy, then the best thing to do in order to get thorough knowledge of said vessel is to conduct a search by the serial number of the documented vessel in question. Even if you think that everything looks in great condition, it is still sensible to find out the history of the vessel as much as you can. 

This will include information like where the boat came from, what it has previously been used for, and any details of things like existing loans and mortgages that are attached to it. The good news is that thanks to Coast Guard and state registration requirements, most vessels and every vessel over 5 net tons will have a documentation trail that can be accessed. Here is how to conduct a documented vessel search by number.

Documentation Search

When buying a second-hand boat, it is most likely that the vessel in question will have been registered with the Coast Guard or a state authority by a previous owner. This documentation is commonly a certificate that contains information about the boat including names of previous owners, previous bills of sale, and any liens or mortgages that might still be outstanding on the vessel. When you want to make a search for this documentation, then you will need to do so by applying to the USCG website. Bear in mind that although it is called a documentation search, the “documents” are all online in a national database.

How Do You Perform The Search?

In order to actually obtain this information in as quick a time as possible, the most common way to do so is by conducting the search using the vessel number. This is a number that is completely unique to each vessel, meaning that each number is the identifier of only one boat. 

Even if the certificates themselves lapse, the serial number still remains the same and is retained. Because everything else is subject to changing or becoming invalid, the best way to make sure that you are getting on the right track with your information hunt is by using the specific serial number. Using that number in your search is the best way to guarantee that you are producing the very specific date file that you need.

If you have not been able to obtain the vessel number, you can try searching by name but this is not a truly reliable method. 

documented vessel search by number

Seek the Right Assistance

If you need any further assistance or guidance on anything related to boat ownership, your greatest resource is the National Documentation Portal. If you need to find a vessel, the info on the site can help you with a documented vessel search by number and also help you understand what the returned information will tell you. Feel free to send an email or otherwise get in touch with a specific query, and a member of the experienced team will be more than happy to get back to you in an efficient manner with all of the information that you need to proceed.