Everything you Need to Know About the Hailing Port of a Vessel

As you probably already noticed, on the outside of a vessel there are a few different digits you may have seen. Boats registered at a local level will probably be displaying their state registration numbers. Vessels documented at a federal level, on the other hand, can show their names instead, along with their hailing port. What are we talking about? Baltimore MD, Chicago IL, Key Largo FL… Those are just a few of the many examples of inscriptions you may have come across with. And what is that? Give us a few minutes to explain it to you.

Definition of a Hailing Port

Let us shed some light on the matter with some definitions. From its own words, you can deduce that a hailing port is, basically, the port from which a vessel hails. That, however, doesn’t clarify the problem. In other words, we can say that every boat has a main port. A port in which the ship spends most of the year docked, or, at least, close to the place of residence of the owner. 

The importance of the hailing port comes from the fact that the USCG uses it, along with the boat name to identify vessels registered at a federal level. Vessels used for commercial purposes that exceed 5 net tons, or boats over the same net tonnage that voluntarily choose to document their boats with the federal agency, can choose to display their name and hailing port instead of the state registration numbers. Given that this form of recognition is formally legislated, there are certain rules you need to follow. Find out what those are in the next few paragraphs.

Your Vessel Name Does Not Have to be Unique

Opposed to countries like Australia and Canada, boat names in the US are not unique. As such, it is crucial for boat owners to display the hailing port close to it, as those are the parameters the USCG will use to identify your ship from others in the case of an emergency. Both the vessel’s name and the hailing port need to be painted on the stern of the vessel in capital letters with distinguishable color. 

It is compulsory for registered boats to keep their details up to date while their certificate of documentation is valid. This means informing the US Coast Guard of any new owners, people who no longer own the boat, a change of address or hailing port, and so on. When can your hailing port change? If you move from your state, or far away from where you used to live, your boat will probably move with you. If that happens, it will now be docked on a different port. During the process, you should inform the USCG of this change, and reissue your certificate of documentation.

Hailing Port

Change of Hailing Port… and More!

We know that dealing with the US Coast Guard can sometimes turn into a bit of a headache. That is why we process your documents on your behalf! Whether you need to change your hailing port, get your certificate of documentation for the first time, or do any other type of boating paperwork, the Maritime Documentation Center can do it for you! We are a private company that will overlook your submitted documents to make sure no mistakes that could delay the process are made and issues them to the USCG for you, so you can complete the application completely online. Contact us today for any other information you may need!