Certificate of Documentation: Do You Still Need a Boat Title?

When it comes to owning a boat, you must understand the vital documentation that complies with legal requirements. Certificate of Documentation (COD), which you can obtain from the Coast Guard portal, and boat title are two primary documents that often come up. They both serve as proof of ownership. However, they have distinct purposes and are associated with different types of vessels. Does COD replace the need for a boat title? 

Coast Guard Portal to Obtain Certificate of Documentation

COD is a document issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for boats that meet specific criteria. It applies to boats used for commercial activities, including fishing, cargo transportation, or passenger services, and meets certain size requirements. Your boat must have over 5 net tons to obtain COD. It serves as federal documentation for your boat. Essentially, it provides evidence of nationality and ownership. 

Purpose and Benefits of COD

The primary purpose of the COD is to establish the nationality and ownership of your boat. It provides legal proof of ownership, which can be valuable for vessel financing, international travel, and certain commercial operations. The COD also grants your vessel certain privileges and protections, such as the ability to engage in trade or fishing activities in US waters. 

Do You Still Need a Boat Title? 

Coast Guard documented boats do not have titles. The reason for this is that federal law does not allow documented boats from getting State titles. The federal documentation, which is the COD, supersedes all State boat registration. However, it is important to note that even if your boat is USCG documented you will have to register it, if you live in a state that requires boat registration.

Boat titles are issued at the state level. They are applied to recreational vessels, personal watercraft, and smaller non-commercial boats. The title serves as proof of ownership, similar to a title of a car. It is required for registration, insurance, and transfer of ownership. Different boats fall under various regulatory frameworks. Commercial vessels need a COD while recreational boats necessitate a boat title. It is vital to understand the requirements specific to your boat and comply with the appropriate documentation process to ensure legal compliance. 

Coast Guard Portal

Does Your Boat Need COD? 

USCG documentation is only applicable to vessels weighing more than 5 net tons. The USCG has strict regulations when it comes to boat eligibility. Your boat must meet the required size, weight, horsepower, and other criteria set by the said governing body. Once your ship is USCG documented, it means that it has been inspected for compliance with the regulations. It also means that you can travel into open water. 

On the other hand, if your boat did not pass the requirements, you can only use it inland waterways. You cannot travel to the open ocean. With our documentation services, you do not have to leave this site and go to the Coast Guard portal and inquire about the requirements. Simply, give us a call and we can help you determine whether or not your boat requires documentation or a title.