Do You Need U.S. Coast Guard Certification for Your Boat?

You still have a hard time believing it is true. One day, your dreams of owning a boat are just that – dreams. The next day, you have a bill of sale in your hand, indicating you are the new owner of a vessel that you know you will love sailing as often as possible. Even if you are familiar with boats, if you have never owned one before, there may be some steps you need to learn before you can take your ship out on the open water. The United States has many regulations regarding boat ownership and use, and those laws are governed by the Coast Guard. One thing you will want to learn about is if U.S. Coast Guard certification is something you need to seek for your boat.

U S Coast Guard certification

The Laws of Certification

Under the current U.S. regulations followed by the Coast Guard, personal recreational vessels are not required to seek out certification and documentation. You can just register your boat with the state you reside in if you wish, and that is your only responsibility. However, if your boat is for commercial use of any kind, you will need to register your boat with the Coast Guard. Also, recreational vessels over a specific size do have the option of getting a Certificate of Documentation (COD) if they would like one. A COD can be helpful to you because it does grant you certain rights if you sail to foreign countries.

Obtaining Certification

Obtaining U.S. Coast Guard certification requires some effort on your part. Forms will need to be filled out, you will need to provide a copy of your bill of sale, and you must offer proof of citizenship with your application. If the vessel is for commercial purposes and there are multiple owners, each owner must fill out the proper paperwork. You then must mail everything to the Coast Guard’s Documentation Center, along with your payment, for processing. The Coast Guard does not provide online processing for registration, making things slower for you. If problems exist with your application, it is returned to you so you can fill them out again and resubmit them.

The Best Way for Certification

If you want or need to get U.S. Coast Guard certification for your boat, coming to us at Maritime Documentation Center can make your life much easier. We are a third-party firm that acts as a processor to the National Vessel Documentation Center, the division of the Coast Guard that handles the paperwork. We have a web portal established so you can easily find and use the forms you need electronically. All you have to do is fill out the form on your computer, send it to us along with your fees and supporting documents, and we take care of the rest of the process for you. Our experts make sure there are no mistakes that will slow things down before we send it to the Coast Guard for final approval.