When Do I Need to Have a Lookout on My Vessel?

At all times. According to the Navigation Center of the United States Coast Guard (Rule 5), “every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”

To be clear, this does not just refer to USCG documented vessels. This refers to any boat on the water of any size.

In this context, the phrase “look-out” is a noun, referring to someone who watches and listens so as to be fully aware of the vessel as what happens in its vicinity. This person should always be ready to act and not just to watch.

In just about any size vessel, the look-out is not the captain or person at the helm, but rather, someone towards the front of the boat. Typically, they are to be at a remove from distractions on the vessel so that they can better focus on what is ahead, what is around, what is on the water, etc.

Neither Rule 5 nor any other rule stipulate where the look-out must be. However, common sense and competent navigation suggest that the look-out be placed anywhere they could best be equipped to hear and see anything that could potentially collide with the vessel.

If your vessel is eligible, you can use this link to apply for vessel documentation.

Does My Documented Vessel Need to Have an Original Name?

Documented Vessel Names Do Not Have to Be Original 
In this context, “original” can mean “names used by other vessels.”
Documented Vessel Name Rules 
That said, there are rules to naming your vessel.

Specifically, 46 CFR 67.17 states that “the name designated: must be composed of letters of the Latin alphabet or Arabic or Roman numerals; may not be identical, actually or phonetically, to any word or words used to solicit assistance at sea; and may not contain nor be phonetically identical to obscene, indecent, or profane language, or to racial or ethnic epithets.”

When choosing a name for your vessel, use common sense. The name of your vessel will be associated with you. Choose something that you will be glad to be associated with.

How to Transfer Boat Documentation After Spouse’s Passing

To transfer a vessel’s documentation into your name after your spouse’s passing, complete this form for the Transfer Exchange of USCG Documentation.

As you complete the form, upload any pertinent documentation in regards to Estate/Inheritance granting you vessel ownership, the death certificate, as well as documentation establishing Right of Survivorship (if necessary).

According to 46 CFR 67.79, “Passage of Title Without Court Action Following Death of Owner,” “when title to a vessel formerly owned in whole or in part by an individual now deceased passes without court action, an applicant for documentation must present (1) when title passes to a surviving joint tenant or tenants or to a tenant by the entirety, a copy of the death certificate, certified by an appropriate State official; or (2) where the laws of cognizant jurisdiction permit passage of title without court action, evidence of compliance with applicable State law.”

For further questions, contact us at info@usvesselregistrar.us

Do I Have to Register My Documented Vessel With the State of New Hampshire?

Most likely, yes.

According to the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles, “any boat operated on the public waters of New Hampshire, including tidal and coastal waters and all inland waters, must be registered and must display the bow number issued by the DMV as part of the registration process, unless the boat is exempt as provided in RSA 270-E:4.

RSA 270-E:4 states:

“The following vessels shall be exempt from registration in this state (New Hampshire):

Sailboats under 12 feet in length, rowboats and canoes powered by sail, oars, paddles, or other human power. Any vessel which has an inboard or outboard motor shall not be exempt from registration except as provided in paragraph II.
Vessel registration in another state or country temporarily using the waters of this state for not more than 30 consecutive days.
Vessels owned or operated by the United States government.

Use this link to file for your initial vessel documentation through our site.

Do I Have to Register My Documented Vessel with the State of Alabama?

Documented vessels used for pleasure are required to register with the state of Alabama. 

Vessels documented as commercial are not. 

According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Driver License Division Vessel Unit: 

“Alabama REQUIRES all mechanically propelled boats (sailboats), and boats for hire to be registered, as well as vessels documented as pleasure with the USCG. 

Due to Theft, My Certificate of Documentation is Gone. What Should I Do?

Certified Copy of Certificate of Documentation 
In the event that your Certificate of Documentation has been stolen, lost, mutilated, or similar, there are multiple ways to proceed.

Use this link to obtain a Certified Copy of your Certificate of Documentation.
Replacement Certificate of Documentation 
Another option: you can use this link to apply for a replacement of your US Coast Guard vessel documentation certificate.

How Do I Change My Recreational Endorsement So I Can Operate it As a Fishing Charter?

Should you wish to use your USCG documented vessel, currently with a “Recreational” endorsement, as a fishing charter vessel, you have to change the vessel’s endorsement/trade indicator. You can do so at this link for updating your boat documentation.

Choose the appropriate commercial endorsement for how you wish to use your vessel. For example, if you wish to engage in commercial fishing activities on the navigable waters of the United States or the Exclusive Economic Zone, select the “Fishery” endorsement.

If you’re going to transport people and/or merchandise (such as operating a “6-pack charter vessel,”) then select the “Coastwise” endorsement.

If you wish to engage in foreign/international trade, choose the “Registry” endorsement.

If you have further questions, you can email us at info@usvesselregistrar.us

How Can I Find If There is a Mortgage on a Vessel?

The easiest way to determine whether or not a documented US vessel has a mortgage on it is to apply for an Abstract of Title.

That Abstract will include whether or not there are any mortgages/liens against the vessel. Additionally, it will tell you the status of those mortgages/liens, whether or not they have been satisfied, and so forth. Plus, the Abstract will include the vessel owner as well as its chain of ownership among other information.

At our site, if you have a vessel’s Official Number or Hull Identification Number (HIN), you can conduct a vessel documentation search. This will give you a vessel’s dimensions, information about its flag, name, vessel documentation status, and more. It will not include any mortgages/liens against the vessel nor will it include any information about the vessel owner(s).