What is Net Tonnage Exactly?

Coast Guard documentation requirements for eligibility state that a vessel has to measure at least five net tons. This “net tonnage” is not a measurement of weight. Rather, it’s a measurement of volume.

Specifically, when we measure net tonnage, it’s a volumetric measure of a vessel’s useful capacity. The rule of thumb is: if your vessel is 25 feet or longer, then it almost invariably measures at least five net tons. The Coast Guard Marine Safety Center (MSC) administers the US tonnage measurement program.

Should your vessel measure less than 79 feet in length, then you can choose to have it measured under the U.S. Simplified Regulatory Measurement System, or either of the U.S. Formal Measurement Systems (which include the Dual or Standard Regulatory Measurement Systems).

The method by which the vessel is measured affects how the vessel’s net tonnage is certified. A vessel that’s been measured through the Simplified Regulatory Measurement System evidences the measurement through a Builder’s Certification form CG-1261 (if it’s a document vessel) or a completed Application for Simplified Measurement (form CG-5397).

Vessels that are formally measured are issued a tonnage certificate certifying the net tonnage by the measurement organization.

Should your vessel meet the standards and you wish to document it, you can apply for vessel documentation here.

If you have any questions about net tonnage or Coast Guard documentation, email us at info@maritimedocumentation.us