MARAD Waiver: American Vessel Documentation for Foreign Vessels

Did you recently come into possession of a foreign vessel and wish to use it to make some money in the United States? Are you unsure exactly what the next steps to take are? The truth is that there is a “US build requirement” for vessels to conduct certain commercial operations in the United States. However, there is a form of American vessel documentation that can serve as a waiver: specifically, the MARAD Waiver. You can find this form and others on our site. 

Who Qualifies for the MARAD Waiver 

Firstly, you, (or whoever the vessel owner may be) has to be a citizen of the United States. Second, the vessel in question can’t be all that new, as it must be at least three years old to qualify. Lastly, to qualify for a MARAD Waiver, the vessel can only be used to conduct limited commercial passenger operations in the United States. How limited is “limited?” When in service, the vessel cannot be used to carry more than twelve passengers at one time. 

How You Can (and Can’t) Use It 

Again, the MARAD Waiver only allows you to carry up to 12 people at once while in service. You can’t use it for any other purpose. So, it can’t be used for towing, it can’t be used to transport cargo, nor can it be used for dredging, salvaging, or anything of that nature. Additionally, a MARAD Waiver vessel cannot be used for commercial fishing activities. But, you can use it to fish off of, to “sport fish.” Crucially, however, that is only allowed as long as any of the fish that you catch while using the vessel aren’t sold commercially. As long as you use your vessel for only carrying up to twelve people at once, you are in compliance. 

Other Forms of American Vessel Documentation 

Often, vessel owners who come to our site to apply for a MARAD Waiver also use our site for other forms of documentation. For example, should your MARAD Waiver vessel measure more than five net tons in volume, many vessel owners then apply for initial documentation through our site. Moreover, they do so with a Coastwise endorsement. That way, they can continue to use their vessel how they want, making money all of the while. 

American Vessel Documentation

How We Can Help 

It’s possible you read this blog and thought: “Ok, that sounds fine, but I don’t have a foreign-built vessel.” The MARAD Waiver is just one of the many forms of American vessel documentation that you can find at our site. You can file for your initial documentation here, and you can renew it, reinstate it (should it expire), and even acquire certified copies so that you’re always in compliance. All of the forms on our site can be accessed and completed from essentially any mobile device, so you have the freedom to complete them on your schedule. Good luck no matter where your journey takes you.