Here at the Vessel Documentation Center, we’re always glad to talk to fellow vessel owners. Perhaps the most common, most asked question that we receive is “do I have to register my vessel?” If you’ve never owned a boat before, the registrations, licenses, and everything that you have to get become confusing at best. We built our site to be able to get all of the documentation forms you need that much faster. Additionally, we see as part of that it’s important to let folks know who does and who does not have to get USCG registration.
Not Every Vessel Can Get USCG Registration
Before we get into the boats that need to get covered, we should point out that some vessels can’t get this kind of registration. A vessel that measures less than five net tons can’t get this documentation. On top of that, with some rare exceptions (mostly particular oil spill response vessels) the vessel has to be owned entirely by a citizen of the United States. So, if that’s your vessel or situation, you don’t have to worry about getting this documentation. Of course, if you have further questions, we’re always glad to answer them.
The Vessels that Have to be Documented
The above paragraph laid out the vessels that can receive documentation. There are some vessels that have to get this documentation to be used legally. These vessels are more than five net tonnes and are used in fishing activities or coastwise trade on either the U.S.’s navigable waters or the waters of the “EEZ” (Exclusive Economic Zone). A few terms to clear up here: “coastwise trade” often means “transporting passengers or merchandise.” There are exceptions to these rules, albeit few. Send us a message or call if you believe that your vessel might be one of those exceptions or if you’re looking for more clarification.
“Five Net Tons” Doesn’t Mean “Weight”
When we see the word “tons,” of course we tend to think of the vessel’s weight. However, for the purposes of this registration, it doesn’t mean “weight,” so much as it means “volume” (hence, the word “net.”) That said, don’t feel like you suddenly have to rush out and somehow get your vessel’s “net tons” measured somehow. A good rule to follow: if your vessel is longer than 25 feet, then it almost assuredly measures five net tons or more. So, following this logic, if your vessel is longer than 25 feet, you can get it registered, should you so choose.
What Happens After Registration?
If you’ve read the above and determined that not only is your vessel viable for registration but that you also wish to pursue it, we can help. You can go to our site and get all of the documents you need to not only register your vessel but to maintain that registration as well. In fact, you can go to our site or give us a call at (866) 981-8783 for all of the documents you may need.