How Can I Apply for Boat Documentation?

In the United States, vessel documentation is a national form of boat registration. Use this link to apply for Coast Guard For vessels that have never been documented, use this link to apply for boat documentation.


This form of boat 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 with this form of documentation 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 boat 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.


For a recently purchased vessel that already has a documented vessel number, use this form for the Transfer Exchange of USCG Documentation.


Vessel financing has been enhanced through the availability of preferred mortgages on documented vessels since 1920.

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