US Vessel Certificate of Documentation: Why is It Important?

Certificate of Documentation

Just like any motor vehicle on land, recreational sea vessels need the necessary documents and paperwork. In this case, the US Vessel certificate of documentation is necessary to allow the Coast Guard to see if each watercraft meets the requirements. 

In essence, the document serves as a national registry, just like how social security numbers are important for each living individual. 

Now, if you’re a vessel owner and aren’t familiar with the process, you came to the right place. This article should provide enough information for you to take care of these documents if you haven’t yet. And if you still have questions, this should give you the answers you need. 

Certificate of Documentation

Vessel Registration and Documentation: Background and History

Vessel registration goes way back in time. It was one of the very first systems that were put in place in the 1800s. The statutes include their purpose, the vessels that are eligible for documentation, the exemptions, the types of available endorsements, and both the tonnage and build requirements for all documented vessels. 

If a vessel, for some reason, fails to meet the minimum tonnage requirements of at least five net tons, another option would be to register it with the state. Through this process, the owner will be able to procure a vessel certificate number. 

Why Is It Important? 

Now, let’s get to the meat of the matter and answer the main question: Why is vessel documentation important? We already discussed the primary reason in a previous section, so we’ll now talk about the three purposes it serves.

For one, the document provides identity. Especially in international ports, these papers will help identify your nationality and establish concrete evidence for it.

Purpose number two: commerce. With the help of these documents, you, as a vessel owner, will be able to partake in commerce-related activities and potentially earn money without having to deal with too much legal red tape.

The third purpose is connected with the second one in that it allows vessel owners to join in trades. If you have the documents and certificates of endorsements, you’ll be able to participate in trades like fishing, some recreational trades, as well as towing and dredging.

What Are the Benefits of Vessel Documentation?

Even with the identified purposes, a lot of you are still probably wondering, “What benefits do I get from having vessel documentation?” For this, we’ll also give you three reasons. One, traversing through international waters is easier. With the certificate of documentation at your disposal, entering and leaving foreign ports won’t be too much of a hassle because these papers give you sufficient recognition.

Two, you can freely display your vessel name and hailing port. For aesthetic purposes, you wouldn’t want to exhibit your state registration numbers, now, would you? With proper documentation, there’s no need for that.

Three, financing your boat would be a breeze. Since documented vessels qualify for preferred mortgages, it will be sufficient enough for lenders to move forward with the transaction.  

The Importance of the US Vessel Certificate of Documentation: Now You Know

Hopefully, we’ve been able to provide you with enough information about the importance of the US vessel certificate of documentation. Not only does it serve important purposes, but it also provides you with much-needed benefits to make your recreational vessel ownership much easier to handle.