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Documentation Upload Form

You may not initially anticipate needing to complete a lot of paperwork when you become a boat owner. But it happens to be a large part of the job. Traditionally, this process of completing and submitting boat documentation was complicated. Involved sending private documents in the mail, and was difficult to track. Vessel Documentation Online has made this process easier by putting everything in one place online. Keep reading to learn how Vessel Documentation Online can help you submit your vessel documentation, hassle free.

What is Vessel Documentation?

Vessels need a registration in much the same way other motor vehicles need it, too. In the case of boats, the United States Coast Guard establishes the registration process. So vessel owners have to submit all paperwork and forms to them. This way they obtain a certificate of documentation for the vessel. Vessel documentation allows for free movement within U.S. and international waters for vessels carrying cargo or passengers between two points.

While small pleasure boats do not require this kind of documentation, the USCG requires any vessel weighing over 5 net tons to complete and submit the necessary USCG documentation. Not sure if your vessel is 5 net tons? In general, vessels longer than 25 feet will weigh at least 5 net tons. Vessels requiring USCG boat documentation must also be owned by a U.S. citizen. Boats not meeting these requirements may receive special dispensation to move within U.S. waters. Boats owned by non-U.S. citizens or not meeting the measurement requirements can complete the MARAD Small Vessel Waiver which allows for limited access to certain U.S. waters and trade. 

Submitting USCG Documentation

In order to lawfully utilize and operate a vessel, all USCG documentation must first be completed and submitted. As we said before, this process was troubling, in the past. In addition, the risk of losing important documents in the mail left many vessel owners feeling frustrated. Vessel Documentation Online has come up with a solution, one that has made the lives of our clients easier and allowed them to focus on the things that matter. The site has made submitting USCG documentation so easy that many of our clients complete the forms right from the comfort of their yachts. 

Boat Documentation

Vessel Documentation Online has compiled all the forms you will need to properly document your vessel, and made it possible to submit them all entirely online. When you use our service, you won’t need to download or print anything; simply fill out the online form and submit, our processors will do the rest of the work for you. Seriously, it’s that simple! With Vessel Documentation Online, you never have to worry about losing documents, losing things in the mail, or even remembering to renew once the time comes. 

Vessel Documentation Online compiles and saves all your information, so your documents are always in the same place whenever you need to reference them. In addition, Vessel Documentation Online will help you by reminding you when it is time to renew. Customers of Vessel Documentation Online can even renew in advance, so you never have to worry about your Certificate of Documentation going out of date without you noticing. 

Necessary U.S. Coast Guard Documents

Though not every vessel owner will need each and every form offered by Vessel Documentation Online, knowing they are there if you need them should give you some peace of mind. Here are some of the necessary forms that the U.S. Coast Guard often requires  for qualifying vessels:

Initial Vessel Documentation

This form is necessary for all previously non-documented vessels. The Initial form is what will allow you to receive your Certificate of Documentation, and will establish details of your vessel such as name, hailing port, ownership, etc. 

USCG Abstract of Title

The Abstract is essentially a summary of the title of the vessel. This form allows you to order a copy of the abstract, which will supply information regarding the history, ownership, and details of the boat. 


Your vessel’s COD will eventually expire; before 30 days of expiration, you can use this form to renew your previous COD. 


Once your vessel’s COD has passed 30 days of expiration, the Reinstatement form is required in order to reinstate and activate your COD. 

Copy of COD

Should you need to obtain a copy of your vessel’s COD as it currently exists? This form will allow you to do so. 

Replacement COD

This form allows you to order a replacement copy of your COD in the event it is damaged or lost. 

COD Deletion

The deletion form allows you to have the COD of your vessel entirely removed from U.S. Coast Guard documentation records. 

Change of Name/Port

Should you need or want to change the name or hailing port of your vessel? Then this form will allow you to do so. 

Learn more about vessel documentation and USCG requirements by visiting us at Vessel Documentation Online. We have everything you need to complete and upload your boat documentation.