Coast Guard Requirements for Boats Like Yours

Just as with clothes, a “Certificate of Documentation” for your vessel is not “one size fits all.” Yes, we can help you to get a Certificate of Documentation for your vessel here at the Maritime Documentation Center. However, it’s important to note that there are different kinds of documentation. Getting the right documentation for your vessel is important. After all, it would be truly awful to go through the trouble of getting your vessel documented, only to then run afoul of the authorities for not using your vessel in a manner appropriate with your documentation. With our help, you can always be in compliance with the right Coast Guard requirements

Different Kinds of Documentation 

Your Certificate of Documentation for your vessel can be endorsed for different activities. For example, your vessel can be endorsed for Fishery, Coastwise, Registry, or Recreation. Those are your four options. We understand that some of them might be a bit confusing. For example, a “Registry” endorsement for your Certificate of Documentation is mostly used for foreign trade. So, that would be the right endorsement if you planned on using your vessel for foreign trade, not if you’re just looking for a certificate in general. 

Coast Guard Requirements

Fishery, Coastwise, and Recreation 

The Fishery label is fairly self-explanatory: you’re using your vessel for commercial fishing, to make money off of fishing, that kind of thing. Coastwise, in the context of vessel documentation, is usually defined as “the transportation of merchandise or passengers between points in the United States or the Exclusive Economic Zone.” So, if you’re using your vessel to carry people or merchandise in those areas, it behooves you to get this endorsement. Recreation is just what it sounds like: you’re using your vessel for fun, to have a good time with your family and friends, etc. 

Any Vessel Can Be Used for Recreation, But… 

Something to keep in mind is you can use any documented vessel for “recreation.” You aren’t limited by the endorsement. If you have a vessel that’s endorsed for Fishery, for example, but one day, maybe on a weekend, you don’t want to do any fishing, but just go out and have a good time with your family, that’s fine. You can anchor the vessel, have a little party – that’s all entirely legal. However, you cannot use a vessel that has another endorsement for something other than its endorsement. For example, if your vessel has the Fishery endorsement, you can’t just decide to transport people through the Exclusive Economic Zone one day. 

Always in Compliance with Coast Guard Requirements

We understand that some of this may be a bit difficult to parse. That’s understandable; it’s legalese, the kind of language that few of us use in our day to day lives. That’s why the staff at the Maritime Documentation Center is on hand to help you through any questions or concerns that you might have. If there’s a question or so on a form that you would like answered, you can just give us a call at (800) 535-8570.