How do I establish U.S. Citizenship?

For USCG vessel documentation, verifying an applicant’s social security establishes citizenship. For documentation purposes, corporations, partnerships, and other entities capable of holding legal title may be deemed citizens in addition to individuals for the purposes of vessel documentation. 

Why and how is build evidence established?

Evidence that a vessel was built in America is necessary for any vessel to be used in coastwise trade or fisheries according to GovInfo. 

Cornell Law states that evidence may consist of a completed form CG-1261, or other original document containing the same information from a person who has personal knowledge of the facts of the build. This person may have constructed the vessel, supervised its actual construction, or is an officer/employee of the company which built the vessel and has examined the records of the company concerning the facts of the vessel’s build. 

What are the vessel name and hailing port marking requirements?

For vessels with a square bow, “the name of the vessel must be marked on some clearly visible exterior part of the bow in a manner to avoid obliteration. The name and hailing port must be marked on some clearly visible exterior part of the stern.” 

These markings must be durable and “must be made in clearly legible letters of the Latin alphabet or Arabic or Roman numerals not less than four inches in height.” 

Hailing port markings must include a place and a State, Territory, or possession of or in the United States. State abbreviations are acceptable. 

How do I mark my vessel?

The official number assigned to documented vessels, preceded by the abbreviation "NO." must be marked in block-type Arabic numerals at least three inches high on some clearly visible interior structural part of the hull. The number must be permanently affixed so that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious and cause some scarring or damage to the surrounding hull area.

The name and hailing port of a recreational vessel must be marked together on some clearly visible exterior part of the hull. The vessel name of a commercial vessel must also be marked on the port and starboard bow and the vessel name and the hailing port must also be marked on the stern. All markings may be made by any means and materials that result in durable markings and must be at least four inches in height, made in clearly legible letters of the Latin alphabet or Arabic or Roman numerals. The hailing port must include both a place and a State, Territory, or possession of in the United States. The state may be abbreviated.

What is a preferred mortgage?

A preferred mortgage is a mortgage which is given status as a maritime lien. As such it enjoys a certain priority in the event of default. In addition, the Coast Guard is prohibited from making certain changes in documentation including, but not limited to, change of vessel ownership, name, and hailing port without consent of the mortgagee. For this reason many financial institutions require vessels which are eligible for documentation to be documented and to have preferred mortgages recorded against them.

Where can I get forms for documentation?

United States Coast Guard vessel documentation forms are available online at this website. Upon completion, all forms automatically forward to Documentation Processors for review. 

Must I submit my application by mail?

No, you do not have to submit any vessel documentation by mail.

Completing boat documentation online can expedite the process, as it is not subject to potential delays (as mail submission may). 

Is the vessel tender documented?

Vessel documentation does not cover a vessel’s tender or dinghy. 

As those measure less than five net tons, they are not eligible for vessel documentation.