Coast Guard Boat Certification to Use Your Vessel How You Want

Are you in the process of completing your Coast Guard boat certification documents and want to make sure that your vessel is in perfect compliance? Do you have a clear idea of how you want to use your vessel, but don’t quite know how to make that work with the powers that be? There are many important parts of your initial Certificate of Documentation form to fill out, but one of the most often overlooked is section J, “Endorsements for Which Application is Made.” By making the right selection, you can use your vessel how you want. 

Coastwise Endorsements 

Do you plan on using your vessel to transport people or cargo through the navigable waters of the United States? Alternatively, are you going to do so within the 200 or so miles off of the coast of America (otherwise known as the “Exclusive Economic Zone” or EEZ?) Then the “Coastwise” endorsement is right for you. After all, you’re planning on using your vessel for “coastwise” trade. If you look closely at the site, there are multiple kinds of “Coastwise” options: “Bowaters Only,” “Oil Spill Response Only,” or “Coastwise Under Charter to an Entity Qualified to Engage in Coastwise.” If you have any questions about your eligibility and the best option, our staff is more than happy to answer all of your questions. 

Fishery and Registry 

Do you plan on using your vessel to catch and/or transfer fish throughout the waters mentioned in the last paragraph? Then, as you probably surmised, the “Fishery” endorsement is the correct one. “Registry” may sound vague, but it primarily involves foreign trade. So, if you’re fishing, or transporting goods or people on foreign waters, then this is the proper endorsement. 

Recreational – for the Rest of Us 

You may have read to this part and thought: “I’m not going to use my vessel for any of those. I just want to register it so that I can get a mortgage on it and then I’m going to take friends and family out on it for fun.” That’s where “Recreational” comes in, perhaps the most common endorsement. With it, you can use your vessel to have a good time. Remember: if you get any of the other endorsements, you can still take your boat out recreationally. But, if you get the “Recreational” one, that’s the only purpose your vessel can have. 

Always Being in Step With Coast Guard Boat Certification 

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about endorsements: you can change them. They don’t have to stay static. You can alter them at any time. All you have to do is use the “Change of Endorsement/Trade Indicator” form at our site. Additionally, you’ll be able to find all of the other forms that you might need at our site, too. From your initial registration through renewal and everything else, it’s available in a mobile-optimized format at the Maritime Documentation Center? Any questions, call (800) 535-8570 or fill out our contact form.