Your US Vessel Documentation Questions Answered

US Vessel Documentation

Have you found it difficult to get straight answers to US vessel documentation questions? Do you worry about getting the right info from a source you can trust? When it comes to boat documentation, we’re not just experts; we’re passionate boat enthusiasts. Before we began this portal, we were simply individuals who loved boating and who wanted an easier documentation process. Below are some of the most common questions we’re asked. 

“How Do I Establish Vessel Ownership?”

It’s a valid concern, especially for brand-new vessels that have never been documented. In such cases, you can initiate the process by submitting a “Builder’s Certification.” This document names the applicant for documentation as the person for whom the vessel was built or the individual to whom the vessel was first transferred. Alternatively, a transfer on a “Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin” or foreign registration, indicating the applicant as the vessel owner, along with a copy of the State Title or Registration, can serve the purpose.

Vessel Marking

A commonly asked question is, “Where should I put the official number on my documented vessel?” This seemingly minor detail is, in fact, crucial. The official number must be at least three inches high and placed on a clearly visible interior structural part of the hull. The marking should be permanent and resistant to removal, alteration, or replacement. Making it obvious and irreversible ensures the required level of permanence.

What Should I Name My Vessel? 

You can only use letters of the alphabet, numbers, and Roman numerals. Moreover, your name can’t be anything that is or even sounds like something used to solicit assistance at sea. (So, you can’t call your vessel “Mayday” or something like that). 

By that same token, you can’t call it anything obscene, either. When it comes to this, use your common sense. If you think something might be close to the line, don’t try it. Remember: your vessel’s name is going to be associated with you. 

What’s Proper Exterior Vessel Number Marking? 

For recreational vessels, the name and hailing port must be marked together on a visible part of the exterior hull. The visibility requirement extends to situations when the boat is out on the water. When indicating the hailing port, include the state, territory, or possession of the United States. You can abbreviate the state name to save space, using “PA” instead of “Pennsylvania.”

While you have the freedom to choose the material and method for these markings, they must be durable, and capable of withstanding constant exposure to the elements. The marks should be at least four inches tall, visible from a distance, and presented in the Latin alphabet or Arabic and Roman numerals.

US Vessel Documentation

Here to Help With US Vessel Documentation 

These responses address only a handful of the inquiries our customers have regarding vessel documentation. Whether you’re a boating novice or a seasoned veteran, we’re always delighted to engage with fellow water enthusiasts and assist them with any need regarding US vessel documentation. We’re here to keep your boating experience smooth sailing. To see how we can help, click here.