What is a Documented Vessel and How Can I Tell If I Have One?

Documented vessels are those which have a valid Certificate of Documentation from the US Coast Guard. These vessels are wholly owned by an American citizen (or citizens) and measure at least five net tons. 

Use this link to apply for initial US Coast Guard boat documentation

Documented vessels never have “titles,” instead they have Certificates of Documentation. 

On some interior structural part of the vessel’s hull, the vessel’s Official Number (following the abbreviation “NO.”) will be marked in block-type Arabic numerals that are at least three inches in height. 

You should also be able to find the vessel’s name and hailing port on the vessel’s transom or “back end.” 

If you’re unable to find the Official Number, Certificate of Documentation, and so forth, you can search for the vessel using its HIN (Hull Identification Number) through our site. 

The HIN is printed or engraved on the vessel’s aft starboard corner.

Use this link to conduct a US vessel documentation search

The vessel will appear in the results if it has been documented.