Some vessels have to be documented and others can be documented. Vessels that measure five net tons or more and are wholly owned by citizens of the United States can be documented. Vessels that are to be used for commercial fishing activities on the navigable waters of the United States or in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be documented.
Additionally, vessels that transport people and/or merchandise on those same waters have to be documented as well. There are certain exceptions.
Generally speaking, vessels that are meant for recreational, non-commercial use do not need to be USCG documented. However, certain types of vessels, such as those used for commercial activities such as fishing, ferrying passengers for hire, or carrying cargo must be USCG documented. Additionally, certain types of vessels operating in US waters must be documented regardless of intended use.
Vessels operating outside of the US may also require documentation depending on where they are located and what type of vessel it is.
Laws regarding renewal of endorsements can be read here.
Should you have any further questions about whether or not your vessel should be documented, you can reach out to us for more information.