Coast Guard Documentation Renewal

Vessel owners can pursue Coast Guard documentation renewal through our site. 

Through the Vessel Registrar Center, documented vessel owners can renew their vessel documentation. 

To do so, use this link to complete Coast Guard documentation renewal.

Documentation must be renewed every year. Through our site, vessel owners with a “Recreational” endorsement will have the option to renew their documentation for up to five years in advance.

Renewing less than 60 days before the expiration date is recommended. Renewing more than 60 days prior to expiration will issue renewal with a new expiration and issuance date, thus shortening the documentation’s period of validity.

Vessel owners can renew their documentation up to 30 days after the expiration date. 

Note: this form only enables vessel owners to renew their documentation. It does not permit any changes to be made to the vessel’s documentation, to update its Certificate of Documentation, and so forth. 

The Vessel Registrar Center has other documentation forms for changing a vessel’s name and/or hailing port, changing its endorsement/trade indicator, transferring ownership, a change of address, and more. 

Differences Between Federal and State Registration  

The documentation discussed in this FAQ is federal. 

The Vessel Registrar Center does not handle state registration. Some states require Coast Guard documented vessels to be registered with the state as well. Contact the appropriate governing body of your state for more information. 

In the Event Your Documentation Expires 

Once more than 30 days have elapsed beyond the vessel documentation’s expiration date, vessel owners cannot renew their documentation. However, they are able to reinstate it. Vessel owners can use this link to reinstate their US Coast Guard vessel documentation.

If you have further questions about renewing the documentation of your vessel, contact the Vessel Registrar Center at or (800) 535-8570 Monday-Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

Laws Concerning Documented Vessel Renewal 

Below are federal laws regarding the validity of certificates of documentation, their renewal, and their replacement. 

  • 67.161 Validity of Certificate of Documentation.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subpart, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, a Certificate of Documentation but no trade endorsement thereon, issued to a vessel which is the subject of an outstanding mortgage filed or recorded in accordance with subpart Q of this part or any predecessor regulations, remains valid for purposes of:

(1) 46 U.S.C. chapter 125;

(2) 46 U.S.C. chapter 313 for an instrument filed or recorded before the date of invalidation, and an assignment or a notice of claim of lien filed after that date;

(3) 46 U.S.C. 56101, 56102 and 57109; and

(4) 46 U.S.C. 56301.

(b) The provisions of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply to a vessel which is subject only to a mortgage filed or recorded before January 1, 1989, which had not attained preferred status as of that date.

  • 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.