How is vessel ownership established?

If the vessel has never been registered previously under any system, then for a coastwise or fishery endorsement, “the only title evidence required for a vessel being documented by the owner for whom it was built is (a) certification of the builder (form CG-1261), per Cornell Law.


For a registry or recreational endorsement, a certification of the builder (also referred to as a “Builder’s Certification”) is sufficient as is a Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin.


A copy of the State Registration Title or foreign registration, showing that the applicant owns the vessel, can work as well.


Should the vessel have been owned previously, the applicant must provide bills of sale or present other evidence showing the vessel has been transferred from the person who last registered, titled, or documented the vessel, or to whom the vessel was transferred on a Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin or Builder’s Certification.

Should title have been transferred by a method other than a bill of sale, email or contact our documentation processors at (800) 535-8570.