Comparison Of State Registration Vs. Boat Documentation (Update For 2022)

We know it: sometimes all of the paperwork required to have your own boat, and to keep your information up to date can be a bit overwhelming. That is the reason why we have created our very own Maritime Documentation site and specifically this article, in which we are going to shed some light on the difference between boat documentation and State registration including the legislation updated until 2022.

Boat Documentation: Basic Principles

Boat documentation and state registration distinctions may be confusing to understand. The problem is that making a mistake while trying to sort the difference out might make you incur some costly consequences, given that boat owners face penalties when responsibilities are not met.

When you bought your boat, you probably assumed that the seller provided you with all the paperwork you needed to be able to register it and to have the documentation in order. Well, that may not be the case, as it is your responsibility and not that of the seller to keep them sorted. With that being said we are going to try to define some basic principles.

Boat Documentation vs State Registration Explained

Boat documentation serves the purpose of proof of ownership. In other words, it is a document that certificates that the vessel is yours.

Boat registration, on the other hand, works as evidence that you have paid taxes on your boat.

A title for the yacht you are buying is a must during the transaction process. There is also another critical paper: the registration certificate. Those are basically the two main documents involved in the transaction and confused many times.

If your registration happens to expire, then you will have no evidence to show that the boat is yours. In addition to that, the registration of boats depends on each state (therefore state registration in the title) so bear in mind to check the requirements of each state. Also, remember to notify the Coast Guard that the boat’s ownership has been transferred.

Boat Documentation vs State Registration: Some More Differences

Yet another difference between these two important papers is the storage: Boat documentation must be retained in the ship at all times while, as long as you keep it up to date, you do not have to carry the Boat registration with you.

Boat registration has to be renewed every five years: if you properly maintain your vessel, it can be extended up to ten years. It is a legal requirement that all mechanically powered vessels that travel on federal waters and vessels that travel on the high seas register.

Boat documentation, on the other hand, needs to be renewed every five years, and the documentation can not be more than nine years in duration.

Boat Documentation

Beyond Getting Your Boat Documented

When someone chooses to document their vessel through our center, it’s often the very first of the forms that they’ll use at our site. However, it’s rarely the last. You can also renew your documentation here as well. To see all of the forms available at the Maritime Documentation Center, just visit our site and contact our friendly staff who will shortly get back to you.