Coast Guard Documentation Center: A “Small” Vessel Waiver with “Big” Upside

Do you have a vessel that isn’t documented that you want to use on American waters? Did you recently come into possession of a foreign-built vessel and you want to see what you can use it for legally? Some folks think that if they have such a vessel, there isn’t much that they can do with it. However, that’s not the case. At our Coast Guard Documentation Center site, you can get what’s called a “MARAD Waiver.” This waiver will enable you to use the vessel for certain tasks so that you can get plenty out of it. 

Who Qualifies for This Waiver

For a vessel to qualify for a MARAD waiver, it has to be owned by a United States citizen. There’s no room for arguing or negotiation with that. Additionally, the vessel must be at least three years old. Any newer than that and it simply won’t qualify. If you and your vessel meet those two qualifications, then you can apply for the MARAD waiver through our site. Should you have any questions about that, our staff will be happy to answer them. 

What Qualifying Vessels Can Do With This Waiver

You can use the MARAD waiver to carry no more than twelve passengers. That’s the maximum. You can have less than twelve passengers on your vessel, obviously, but you can’t have any more than twelve. With this waiver, it is legal to have up to twelve passengers pay to be on your vessel as they’re transported from one place to another. This waiver is not a waiver from vessel documentation, a vessel inspection requirement, or anything like that. 

What Qualifying Vessels Are Prohibited from Doing Even if They Have This Waiver

“The intended use of the vessel must be to carry passengers only.” We took that exact language from the regulations. There is one purpose you can use it for, however: sport fishing. If you want to fish with some friends and family on the vessel, you are absolutely allowed to do that. However, you can’t sell the fish or anything like that. Moreover, you can’t carry cargo, you can’t engage in commercial fishing, towing, salvage, dredging, or any of those tasks. This waiver is good for carrying up to twelve passengers commercially. 

A Coast Guard Documentation Center for Vessel Owners

You may have read the above and thought: “well, that sounds quite limiting.” Perhaps, but those twelve passengers can be quite a revenue stream. Moreover, if the vessel meets the minimum standards, you can file for a coastwise trade endorsement as a passenger vessel with the Coast Guard. That’s just one of the many other functions of our site. Once you’ve filed for that, you can also file for your annual renewal at our site, too. Moreover, you can do that for up to five years in advance, so that you can always get the most out of your vessel. Any questions? Just call (800) 535-8570.