Can a USCG Documentation Number Expire?

No, a USCG Documentation Number Cannot Expire 

A USCG documentation number does not expire. A vessel documentation number is similar to a HIN number (Hull Identification Number) in this regard.

USCG Documentation Renewal 

However, a Certificate of Documentation does expire. If this vessel documentation isn’t renewed annually, then the documentation will expire. You can renew it every year through our site. Additionally, you have the option to renew for up to five years at once. Use this link to renew vessel documentation.

Renewing too early can cause your documentation to have a new, earlier renewal deadline the following year.  For example, if your vessel renewal deadline is in November and you renew in August, then, the next year, your renewal deadline will be in August. Renewing within 30 days of your deadline is preferred by most vessel owners. 

Rush processing/priority request services are available. For a fee, vessel owners can ensure that their renewal applications are placed at the top of our queue. Through this, vessel owners can receive their renewal as quickly as possible. 

If your vessel’s registration has expired for 30 days or more, renewal is no longer an option. However, you can reinstate your documentation. Vessel owners can use this link for vessel documentation reinstatement

Note: a vessel’s Certificate of Documentation is considered not valid if the actual, physical Certificate of Documentation has been lost or mutilated. Should that occur, a vessel owner should apply for a replacement Certificate of Documentation

Further Questions Regarding Documentation Renewal 

If you have further questions about renewing your documentation, replacing it, reinstating it, or any other action in regards to your Certificate of Documentation, contact the Vessel Registrar Center at or (800) 535-8570 Monday-Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

Laws for Acquiring a USCG Documentation Number and Renewing Documentation 

The following are the laws regarding official numbers (USCG documentation numbers) as well as those regarding renewing and replacing a Certificate of Documentation. 

  • 67.111 Assignment of official number.

(a) The owner of a vessel must submit an Application for Initial Issue, Exchange, or Replacement of Certificate of Documentation; or Redocumentation (form CG–1258) to the Director, National Vessel Documentation Center, to apply for an official number for the vessel when:

(1) Application is made for initial documentation of the vessel; or

(2) An existing vessel has been severed, with two or more vessels resulting. In this case, the official number of the original vessel is retired and the owner of each resulting vessel must apply for designation of a new official number.

(b) Upon receipt of form CG–1258, the Director, National Vessel Documentation Center will have an official number assigned to the vessel and furnish it to the vessel owner.


  • 67.163 Renewal of endorsement.

(a) Requirement for renewal of endorsement. Endorsements on Certificates of Documentation are valid for 1 year, except for Recreational Endorsements on Certificates of Documentation, which are valid for 5 years. However, a Certificate of Documentation with a Recreational Endorsement and a Commercial Endorsement will only be valid for 1 year. Prior to the expiration of an endorsement, the owner of a vessel, which is not exempt from the requirement for documentation under paragraph (c) of § 67.9, must apply for renewal of the endorsement(s) by complying with paragraph (b) of this section. The owner of a vessel exempt from the requirement for documentation under paragraph (c) of § 67.9 must either:

(1) Apply for renewal of the endorsement by complying with paragraph (b) of this section; or

(2) Place the Certificate of Documentation on deposit in accordance with § 67.165.

(b) Renewal application. The owner of a vessel must apply for renewal of each endorsement by executing an original Vessel Renewal Notification, Application for Renewal (CG–1280) certifying that the information contained in the Certificate of Documentation and any endorsement(s) thereon remains accurate, and that the Certificate has not been lost, mutilated, or wrongfully withheld. The completed CG–1280 must be sent to the Director, National Vessel Documentation Center.

(c) Requirement for renewal of recreational endorsements. A certificate of documentation for a recreational vessel and the renewal of such a certificate shall be effective for a 5-year period. During the period beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2021, the owner of a recreational vessel may choose a period of effectiveness of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 years for such a certificate of documentation for such vessel or the renewal thereof.


Renewal of endorsements on a Certificate of Documentation may be denied if the vessel owner is the subject of an outstanding civil penalty assessed by the Coast Guard.

  • 67.169 Requirement for replacement of Certificate of Documentation.

(a) The owner of a documented vessel must make application in accordance with subpart K of this part for replacement of a Certificate of Documentation which is:

(1) Lost;

(2) Mutilated; or

(3) Wrongfully withheld from the vessel owner.

(b) When application for replacement of a Certificate of Documentation is required because the Certificate has been mutilated, the existing Certificate must be physically given up to the National Vessel Documentation Center.