When you are a keen yachtsman who just wants to get out on the water in your new vessel whenever you get the chance, the thought of keeping up with the various forms of boat paperwork and documentation can seem like a very boring and mundane part of the process, but believe us when we say that is one of the most important aspects of your responsibilities as a boat owner.
Without the correct documentation in place, your boat simply won’t be legal for operation on the water, and that is the last thing you want to have to contend with. The United States Coast Guard does make inspections so it is best to be compliant with federal boating regulations. With this in mind, here is some essential information about how boat documentation has now been made very easy compared to previous years, and who needs to do it.
Those Who MAY Document Their Vessels
You can document your vessel in the United States if it measures at least five net tons and is owned wholly by an American citizen. There is an ‘American-build’ requirement in place for certain types of trade.
Those Who MUST Document Their Vessels
Any vessel owner who has plans to transport people and/or goods or engage in a commercial fishing operation in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and/or navigable waters of the United States of America, will be required to document their vessel regardless of size.
A Change Of Vessel Use
When you initially document your vessel, you will be asked to select an appropriate ‘endorsement’ for it. For example, those who will be fishing will select ‘Fishery’. If over the course of your vessel ownership, you decide to change the primary function of operation for your boat, then you will need to notify the relevant authorities of this change through the submission of a Change of Endorsement/Trade Indicator form.
There are some potential benefits to documenting your vessel. It establishes the vessel’s nationality and allows it to be flagged under the jurisdiction of your specific chosen country. This gives access to favorable maritime laws, international recognition, and also the permission to fly the flag of said country. All of these things can help to enhance the credibility of the vessel. In addition to this, it goes without saying that a vessel with documentation will typically have a much easier time navigating international waters. It is a much simpler process to obtain clearance at foreign ports when you have a documented vessel.
If you are looking for an online space where your boat documentation can be easily dealt with, look no further than the US Vessel Registrar. We specialize in providing all the forms online and the checking and processing of all important document types, so feel free to get in touch with a member of the professional team if you have any specific questions that you need answers to. We are here to help you in any capacity that we can. We look forward to hearing from you.