How to Get a Vessel Approved for Voyage by the U.S. Coast Guard?

Do you have plans to go anywhere with your boat shortly? Be sure to submit it for review and approval by the US Coast Guard first! Being a boat owner comes with a lot of responsibilities. You are responsible for ensuring that it is in excellent shape, and you are also responsible for ensuring that you adhere to all of the rules and regulations that are in effect in your local region. 

In this article, we will walk you through the steps in obtaining a vessel cleared for the trip and let you know what to anticipate at each stage of the approval process. It is important to keep in mind that the criteria may change depending on the kind of boat that you possess; thus, you must get in touch with the Coast Guard to get more detailed information. Here are some helpful hints to make the procedure go as smoothly as possible.

Know the Requirements

You must have a solid understanding of the standards for the Coast Guard’s approval of your new vessel before you get too enthusiastic about your new boat. You will be able to prevent unpleasant shocks as a result of this, and the procedure will also become more efficient. The first thing you need to do is check to see whether your brand-new boat has to be authorized by the US Coast Guard

The answer is yes if it is over 24 feet long; however, other factors might require approval. For instance, if the structure of your vessel has been altered or if it has been fitted with an engine or propulsion system that requires inspection, then approval may be necessary. Ensure to consider whether or not your vessel has ever been engaged in an incident that resulted in damage that needed to be repaired.

Gather All Required Documentation

US Coast Guard (USCG) permission for the ship you want to travel on is required before any journey. All ships above 10 tons and all ships flying a foreign flag entering U.S. waters or engaging in international commerce are required to have this paperwork. One of the prerequisites is to use a boat on the Intracoastal Waterway or any other waterway that calls for a pilot’s license. It’s important to take time and follow all the necessary processes in USCG’s National Vessel Documentation Program before applying for vessel approval (NVD). 

Getting caught up on paperwork, however, is easier than it seems. The first order of business is to compile the paperwork needed by the Coast Guard. The required paperwork is detailed at this link. You should also check this site to ensure your ship satisfies all Coast Guard regulations. This includes, but is not limited to, ensuring your ship is equipped with a navigational system, a means of getting in touch with others, and adequate life rafts in an emergency.

Have Your Boat Inspected by a Licensed Marine Surveyor or Inspector of a US Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard will authorize a boat for sea more swiftly if it has been examined beforehand. This is particularly important if you are a U.S. citizen since registration in several states is contingent upon passing a boat inspection. Take your boat to a maritime surveyor for a thorough checkup. Afterward, the Coast Guard receives the survey data in a report known as an ITC (Interim Transfer Certificate). 

Depending on the specifics of the vessel registration process, this may be all that is required. You will need to take out any upgrades, such as a new deck or an engine, that you have made to your boat to pass inspection by the Coast Guard. An essential element of the vessel registration procedure is your guarantee that your ship is fit for ocean passage and up to code with the USCG and other safety regulators.

U.S. Coast Guard

Pay Any Applicable Fees

There are fewer regulatory hurdles now than in the past, thanks to the US Coast Guard, but making your ship seaworthy still requires some work. You need a Certificate of Documentation before legally taking your boat out on the open seas. This formal paperwork verifies your right to operate your boat in international waters. If you want to make money from carrying products or people, you will need a commercial Certificate of Documentation, which is distinct from a recreational one. A Certificate of Documentation for recreational use is required if you want to use your boat for pleasure. Apply for either Certificate of Documentation at the Maritime Documentation Center and pay the required costs.

If you’re preparing for your vessel’s voyage, it is important to make sure it is approved for travel by the U.S. Coast Guard. If it isn’t, major complications and costs can be involved in ensuring that your vessel is safe and ready for travel. To discuss your options with a customer service representative from Maritime Documentation Center, dial 800-535-8570 today!