Maritime Documents: What Your Seller Didn’t Tell You About It

Many people dream of owning a ship. If you are one of the lucky ones who can buy and own a ship, make sure that you know everything about the vessel you are planning to purchase. Most of all, teach yourself about the maritime documents that you have to process. These documents are necessary so you can sail away. 

Maritime Documents and Vessel Documentation 

When you buy a vessel, your focus might be on the features, condition, and price of the boat. However, as mentioned earlier, there are documents associated with the transaction that must be fulfilled. The paperwork can impact the legality, operability, and overall value of your investment. 

Certificate of Documentation 

This is not just a piece of paper. It will allow you to sail in the international waters. Did you ask the seller about the current status of the COD? Is the documentation up to date? Are there pending issues that might hinder your boat’s operability or resale value

Outstanding Liens

Your seller might highlight the impressive features of the boat. But how can you be sure that the vessel does not have any existing liens? Maritime liens can be attached to a vessel. It can cause legal headaches for the new owner. Investigate and ensure a clean slate before finalizing the deal. That’s why it pays to check the documentation status of the vessel using a boat search. 

Title and Ownership History 

Unraveling the boat’s history is more than just a curiosity. It is a strategic move to understand potential red flags, past accidents, or undisclosed damages. Your seller might not willingly share the boat’s complete ownership journey. Thus, it is your responsibility to dig into maritime history. 

Insurance Records 

What is the vessel’s insurance history? Has it weathered any significant claims or damages? Your seller might tout the vessel’s resilience. However, understanding its insurance track record provides a clearer picture of potential risks and costs down the line.

Coast Guard Inspections 

You might conduct a sea trial to learn more about the boat’s operational capabilities. However, it does not delve into the nuances of Coast Guard inspections. Make sure that the vessel has been recently inspected and find out if there are compliance issues. This information is vital for seamless future operations.

Upcoming Documentation Renewals 

The expiration date on the COD is not a mere formality. It is a crucial aspect your seller might not emphasize. But knowing when the boat’s documentation is due for renewal allows you to plan and prevent any operational disruptions. 

Pending Legal Actions 

Has the vessel been involved in any legal disputes or actions? Your seller might not share this information. However, this is necessary to uncover any pending legal matters that could potentially impact your ownership experience. 

Manufacturer’s Certificates and Warranties

Did the seller provide you with all the certificates and warranties? Understanding the boat’s warranty coverage and compliance with manufacturer specifications 

ensures that you are aware of potential maintenance or repair costs. 

Vessel Identification Numbers 

Beyond the hull identification number, there might be additional VINs associated with specific components or features of the vessel. These VINs can be crucial for maintenance, upgrades, or in the unfortunate event of theft. 

Maritime Documents

Process the Paperwork

When purchasing a boat, you must be as vigilant about the maritime documents as you are about the vessel itself. On the other hand, if you are looking for forms that you need to meet the requirements of the maritime laws, please take a look at the online forms on the left side of this page.