If you are a citizen of the United States and your vessel measures at least five net tons, then your vessel is eligible for documentation.
Use this link to apply to make yours a Coast Guard documented vessel.
This documentation provides for unhindered commerce between states, admits vessels to restricted trades (such as the fisheries and coastwise trade), and provides conclusive evidence of nationality.
Vessels that are documented do not have titles. Instead, they maintain Certificates of Documentation. Depending on the laws in your state, your vessel may need to be registered with the state as well.
Coast Guard vessel documentation has to be renewed every year. However, this can be renewed for 1-5 years from the date of issuance. Vessel owners can use this link to renew vessel documentation.
Vessel financing has been enhanced through the availability of preferred mortgages on documented vessels since 1920.
For a recently purchased vessel that already has a documented vessel number, use this form for a Coast Guard documentation transfer.
If you have further questions about American vessel documentation, contact the Vessel Registrar Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 535-8570 Monday-Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM.