It would help if you did not attempt to document a ship without the assistance of an attorney. As the owner of an American vessel, you should be familiar with the paperwork involved. There are too many moving parts when dealing with the government for you to take care of it on your own and expect it to go well.
The most crucial point is that you should not do this alone; instead, you should see an attorney. Don’t trust your buddy even if they claim to know someone who can help you out for cheap. It would help if you verified that the person or company responsible for documenting your ship has prior expertise with similar projects and a track record of success.
An attorney specializing in maritime law will provide you with peace of mind and in-depth knowledge that can only be gained through years of experience. Following these guidelines will help you get your boat registered and appropriately insured.
All American Vessels Must Be Documented With the U.S. Coast Guard
When registering a boat with the USCG, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle if you’re unfamiliar with the various boating categories. Discovering your vessel’s classification is the first order of business since it will dictate the paperwork you must complete.
A vessel is “an enclosed method of propulsion for use on water,” according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Having a keel or not determines the kind of ship you own. From the front of the boat to the rear, the keel provides structural support (front to back). Without a keel, boats like pontoons, tiny rowboats, sailboats, and canoes would tip over easily.
Motorboats, yachts, and some types of sailboats are all examples of boats with keels. Keeled vessels are required to register with the U.S. Coast Guard. Every boat longer than 26 feet in any state, keel or no keel, must be registered. Documenting your American vessel entails determining its mass and its intended use.
The Cost of Documentation Varies Depending on the Type and Size of Your American Vessel
The amount that must be paid for documentation shifts depending on the nature and dimensions of your ship. The type of documentation also affects how you will use your boat. For instance, small fishing boats may not be permitted to leave their state’s borders unless they re-document their vessel with federal documentation first. This restriction applies only if the boat possesses federal documentation.
The United States Coast Guard assesses a single fee that is proportional to the length of the vessel (the length is measured in feet, from one end to the other), regardless of any other factors that may be relevant. When you have completed the purchase of your American vessel, it is your responsibility to provide the Coast Guard with all the documentation and information they require so they can begin processing your paperwork.
Documentation is a Way of Proving Ownership of Your Vessel
A boat must be registered with the government even if it is kept in the same city as its owner and is never taken out of the marina. No Coast Guard inspection or insurance will be provided without proper registration. The legality of your boat depends on whether or not it has been inspected and recorded.
Even if the owner of a U.S. Coast Guard-documented boat is not physically present at all times, that person is still considered to be the legal owner of the boat and must pay any taxes and fees associated with the boat. Since acquiring insurance on most things necessitates registration, legally documented vessels must also be insured.
Your boat must be registered with the U.S. Coast Guard even if you plan to keep it in your backyard most of the time. Otherwise, it will be considered abandoned property, and anyone can claim it (without your permission or legal protection).
You Can Do the Documentation Process Yourself or Hire a Professional to Help You Out
If you own a boat, you know how difficult it can be to stay on the right side of the law. If you don’t follow the correct procedures, you might have problems with the authorities if you don’t have your boat adequately recorded and insured. The good news is that many tools are available to assist boat owners in compliance with the law, but here are a few things to keep in mind.
Getting all of the paperwork for a yacht in order might be daunting if you aren’t acquainted with the process. Fortunately, a plethora of online materials may serve as a road map and guide you through the process. Next, check to see whether your state has a website where you can examine the documentation procedure for your particular circumstance.
Vessel Documentation Online LLC is a company that can help you with all of your American vessel documentation needs. Whether you’re a business owner needing a fishing license or a private individual looking to register your yacht, Vessel Documentation Online LLC has the expertise to assist you. To learn more about the services they offer, you can call them at (877) 564-1398.