New Season, New Name? Changing Your Boat’s Identity Made Easy

The gentle lapping of waves against the hull, the fresh breeze carrying the promise of adventure—spring conveys a sense of renewal and, perhaps, the perfect time to rename your boat. Through the Coast Guard name search, updating your vessel’s name is a breeze, whether for personalizing a recent purchase or simply for a change in direction. At Vessel Registrar Center, we understand the needs of boat owners and industry professionals alike. Below, we describe the key reasons for a name change and the straightforward processes with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

Why Change Your Boat’s Name?


A new boat acquisition is more than a transaction; it’s the start of a new relationship. Customizing the craft with a name that reflects your personality or a unique theme makes it truly yours. It’s the first step to making countless memories on the water.


Among seafaring folks, legends and customs run as deep as the ocean. Some believe renaming a vessel sheds any unfortunate past and ensures smooth sailing. Whether rooted in folklore or personal belief, a new name can chart a course for good fortune.

Practical Reasons:

Ensuring clear communication over the radio is critical. A challenging or overly common name might lead to confusion, while a distinctive, easily understood name optimizes clarity.

Fresh Start:

A freshly named vessel can reflect a personal transformation—a metaphorical rebirth aligning with the purchase of a new vessel, as a means to go in search of adventures .

Changing a Documented Vessel’s Name with the USCG

Renaming a vessel documented by the USCG is a formal procedure requiring attention to detail:

  • Dedicated Form: The National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) provides a particular form for name changes, ensuring a structured approach to the update.
  • Fee: This service has a fee, acknowledging the administrative work behind your request.
  • Original Documentation: Presenting the original Certificate of Documentation is necessary, from which a new certificate will bear the updated name.

State Registration Name Changes

Name change processes are not one-size-fits-all; they can differ significantly by state:

  • State-Specific Procedures: The nuances of name changes can vary from Department of Motor Vehicles to the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Updating Paperwork: It’s essential that all official state registration documents reflect the vessel’s new name to maintain legality.
  • New Decals: Should new registration numbers or decals be required, state agencies will provide these to match your boat’s updated identity.

Coast Guard name search

Additional Considerations

Prior to selecting a new moniker, a Coast Guard name search can affirm its uniqueness among documented vessels:

  • Check for Uniqueness: Avoid duplication and ensure your chosen name stands out by using the NVDC database to verify its availability.
  • Professional Decal Application: For a sleek appearance, consider hiring a professional to remove any existing vinyl graphics and apply the new name.
  • Rituals and Ceremonies: Engaging in a playful “un-naming” ceremony may allow some boat enthusiasts to foster positive energy and officially welcome the vessel’s new identity.

Spring Transformation

With warmer days and a vivifying spirit, spring is the ideal season to redefine your vessel’s character. Naming or renaming through the Coast Guard name search is more than aesthetic; it symbolizes ownership, legacy, and perhaps a commitment to new horizons. Should you require guidance or assistance in this process, Vessel Registrar Center is poised to facilitate with expertise and care every step of the way.