How to Do a Boat Documentation Search and What it Will Tell You

A boat documentation search allows you to find out information about a specific vessel. One of the most common reasons for doing so is if you are looking for a used boat to purchase but there might also be other reasons for a search. The information you get from the search will tell you vital stats and background specifics about the vessel so you can determine if it’s a good choice to buy or not. If you’re new to the process, taking it step-by-step will help you get from start to finish with ease. Here’s how to access the boat search and what you’ll find when it’s complete. 

Gather the Necessary Information

You can easily do an online boat documentation search, but you’ll need an important piece of information, which you’ll input into the system to generate the vessel’s particulars. That is the HIN (hull identification number), which is the official number assigned to the boat. You can enter it in capital or lowercase letters, but it must match exactly. If you put in the wrong number, you will end up with information that doesn’t match the boat you’re looking for. You can use the online system to pay for your search as well, making it simple and quick to get the job done. 

The Information You’ll Get

The data produced when you carry out a boat documentation search includes information about ownership, preferred mortgage filings, notices for lien claims, and other supplemental information about the vessel. If the boat is registered beyond the federal level, whether it’s at the state level or foreign registries, you may get additional information beyond this. It’s also important to keep in mind that there could be facts about the boat that do not come on a search if they have not been shared with the appropriate entities. 

Vessel Particulars

In addition to the above-mentioned information, your vessel search can also provide information about the boat itself. That includes the name, official number, hull identification number, and a flag associated with the boat. The report might also show the dimensions of the craft, including its length and layout. You may also find service and maintenance information and tonnage facts. The report could also share documents and certificates associated with the boat, including the Certificate of Documentation. 

What You Won’t Find

As of 2018, the personally identifiable information (PII) was removed from a boat documentation search. That means you won’t have access to the owner or managing owner’s name or address. If you need this proof, you’ll have to search for it elsewhere. You can request a U.S. Coast Guard Abstract of Title on the USCG website. 

Doing a boat documentation search can turn up valuable information if you want to know more about a specific vessel, whether you’re looking to buy it or otherwise need the facts about it. The process is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. Ready to find what you need? Contact us and we can help you get the process going.