Learn the processing times of the US Coast Guard Documentation and how to get them.

When purchasing a vessel you may have noticed the different types of paperwork you need to issue to comply with the federal or state regulations. What type of license you get and where to register your boat will depend on some characteristics, like the size of your vessel or the use you give to it. This article will cover all of those questions, as well as how long it will take you to get your US Coast Guard Documentation on time.

Processing Times of the US Coast Guard Documentation

It might be a good idea to begin with the definition of US Coast Guard Documentation. Basically, it is the process of registering a boat with the United States Coast Guard – National Vessel Documentation Center. As opposed to state titling, this type of documentation occurs at a federal level.

When registering your vessel at the USCG you will be issued a Certificate of Documentation. This certificate will establish the ownership and nationality of the boat. The processing times will vary depending on whether the vessel is recreational (70 working days) or fishery (10 working days) and if it is the first time you are getting it or if you are renewing your certificate (15 working days). Keep in mind that the processing times are just standard.

When Do I Need USCG Documentation?

A boat cannot be both documented by the USCG and titled by a state. Some states, however, will require documented vessels to maintain a state level registration as well.

As we previously mentioned, there are some cases in which you will want to have your boat documented, even though you use it for recreational purposes.

If you plan to travel internationally, a Certificate of Documentation issued by the US Coast Guard will make it easier for an American vessel to enter into a foreign port.

If you want to keep it tidy, you may choose not to display the state registration numbers. A documented vessel can show their name and hailing port instead, although it is subject to the Coast Guard lettering requirements.

Finally, if you have your vessel financed, the bank may require boat documentation. Documented vessels have access to preferred mortgages and the Coast Guard has to have consent from the lender to make changes in the documentation.

Who is Eligible to US Coast Guard Documentation?

Recreational boats who decide to have the US Coast Guard Documentation, need to be owned by an American citizen and with a minimum measure of five tons. As a general rule of thumb, vessels larger than 27 feet will normally meet the requirement.

Furthermore, you will need to submit the form CG-1258, formally known as the application for documentation, the proof of ownership (a form CG-1240 Bill of sale, state title, state registration, etc.) and an application for simplified measurement (Form CG-5397) if the vessel has not been documented before.

All of Your Forms in One Place: The Maritime Documentation Center!

Let’s face it: all of this information can sound a bit overwhelming, yet you are not alone on this. The Maritime Documentation Center has you covered. We process any type of navigation paperwork, from MARAD waivers to abstracts of title. The US Coast Guard Documentation is no exception, so if you need any help with the issuing of your Certificate of Documentation (COD) you just need to fill out our form on the left side of our website and we will do the rest!