Coast Guard Boat Documentation Requirements to Follow

Summer is already here and this might be your last chance to make sure your documents are in place before setting sail. Read on if you want to know whether or not your vessel needs to be registered, what the difference with state titles is, and what the Coast Guard boat requirements need to be followed.

When Should I Have my Boat Documented?

As a general rule of thumb, your boat needs to be registered if it measures five net tons or more and is used for commercial means. ‘Commercial means’ includes fishing and the transportation of goods or passengers between the US and the exclusive economic zone, among other things. Generally, if your boat is longer than 25 feet it will probably get to the mentioned five net tons.

On the other hand, there are a few occasions in which, although not compulsory, it might be a good idea to document your boat.

  • Before traveling abroad, the process of entering and leaving foreign ports will be much simpler.
  • If you do not want to display your state registration number. A documented vessel can display its official name instead, along with the hailing port.
  • If your boat was financed, your bank will require vessel documentation, as they qualify for preferred mortgages.

Keep in mind that, unlike State titling, US Coast Guard vessel documentation occurs at a federal level.

What is the Difference Between a Boat Registration and a Title?

Boat registration is similar to car registration. It must be carried on the boat as proof and its validity will vary depending on the state it was issued. It also allows you to boat in every state and Canada. It must be registered in the state of primary use.

A boat title, on the other hand, works the same way a car title does. It is a legal document that proves your ownership, whether the car registration does not. It only needs to be purchased once per boat. Bear in mind that Boat titles work at the federal level, as opposed to boat registration.

What Documents Will I Need for the Registration?

You can document your vessel or renew your Certificate of Documentation here. The Coast Guard boat requirements will need you to submit an application for documentation, an application for simplified measurement, and proof of ownership, which may vary between a state title, a state registration, a bill of sale, and a builders certificate, among others.

Coast Guard Boat Requirements

Boat Documentation Made Easier

Regardless of the paperwork, you need to sort out, the Maritime Documentation Center has got your back! Renewals, changes of address, abstracts of titles, initials, changes of vessel names… those are just some of the documents that are processed at our center. If you have any other queries we can help you with just fill out the appropriate form and let us take care of you!