Coast Guard documented vessels are identified by their name and hailing port. They do not display official numbers on the outside of their hull (as with state-registered vessels).
According to Cornell Law, vessels with a recreational endorsement must mark the name and hailing port “together on some clearly visible exterior part of the hull.”
For vessels with other endorsements, “the name of the vessel must be marked on some clearly visible exterior part of the port, starboard bow, and the stern of the vessel. The hailing port of the vessel must be marked on some clearly visible exterior part of the stern of the vessel.”
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.
The name must not exceed 33 characters. Additionally, the name cannot be identical, whether actually or phonetically, to any word or words used to solicit assistance at sea, nor may it contain or be phonetically identical to indecent, profane, or obscene language, or to ethnic or racial epithets.
Documented vessels can have duplicate names. Thus, hailing port marking can be beneficial for identifying vessels.
A vessel’s name cannot be changed without application, payment of fees, and the consent of the NVDC, once established.
For more about vessel names and hailing ports, email email@example.com