National Vessel Documentation Center Certificate of Documentation: Facts

National Vessel Documentation Center, Certificate of Documentation

Do you think you may need a Certificate of Documentation for your vessel but aren’t sure? Does it seem like the rules for who does and who does not require such a certificate are arbitrary at best? Over the years, we’ve helped so many vessel owners with that exact quandary. For many, this is the first form that they’ll complete at our site. It could be a form you absolutely need to be able to use your vessel how you want. However, if you don’t need it, you may not want to purchase it (yet, you also may still want to!) At our National Vessel Documentation Center, Certificate of Documentation is one of our most commonly used forms. 

National Vessel Documentation Center

To put it simply, only certain vessels. For example, you must get one of these forms for your vessel if your vessel measures five net tons or more and you’re using it for fishing activities or coastwise trade on the navigable waters of the United States or in the “Exclusive Economic Zone.” (The “EEZ” is, more or less, two hundred or so miles off of the American coastline.) You’ll note we say “measures five net tons or more,” as net tons is a measurement of “volume” and not “weight.” If your vessel is longer than 25 feet, then you’re probably good to go here. 

Why You Might Want One Even If You Don’t Need Them 

All of the above paragraph having been said, you may choose to document your vessel so long as it measures at least five net tons and is owned by a citizen of the United States. Even if you aren’t involved in any fishing operations or coastwise trade, you may still want to get this Certificate of Documentation, albeit with a “Recreational” endorsement. Many banks and mortgage lenders, for example, will only offer you a mortgage on your vessel if you have documented your vessel. There are plenty of other reasons, too. 

Beyond the Certificate Itself 

This Certificate of Documentation is just one of the forms that you can find and fill out at our site.  In fact, you can find just about every other form that you’ll need for the course of owning your vessel. You can renew the Certificate here, get a replacement if yours is lost, change the owner of your vessel, your address, the hailing port, get a new endorsement, and so much more. 

Certificate of Documentation Experts and More 

You may have read the sentence a couple of paragraphs ago about “plenty of other reasons” to document your vessel and not know what they are. If you are on the fence, one way or the other, our staff can help. Here at our vessel documentation site, so as to provide even more help to our customers, we have a staff of pros who know just about everything there is to know about vessel documentation. For more: (866) 981-8783.