Overview of the Major Requirements to Obtain or Renew USCG Documentation

Spending time with your family and friends at sea can help you create special memories. It is one of the reasons many Americans want to own a boat. If you have a boat and you have learned about the benefits of USCG documentation, you might be considering obtaining one. You may use our national vessel documentation center services to help you comply with the requirements. 

National Vessel Documentation Center: What Requirements to Meet? 

Obtaining or renewing documentation from the USG is a significant step for you as a boat owner. It provides official recognition and certain privileges for your vessel. So, what are the key requirements to obtain or renew this documentation? 


Your boat must meet specific eligibility criteria. Generally, to be eligible, your boat must be at least five net tons. Then, you must be a US citizen. You must also be engaged in specific commercial activities, like towing, chartering, or fishing. If you don’t use your boat for commercial activities but it is at least 27 feet in length, then it is qualified for documentation. You may browse our articles to help you understand the many requirements of boat documentation. 

Application Form 

The first step in obtaining or renewing USCG documentation is filling out and submitting the appropriate application form. For initial documentation, Form CG-1258 must be completed. Form CG-1280 is used for renewal purposes. The forms required detailed information about your boat, including its name, hull identification number, ownership details, dimension, and intended use. It is vital to accurately complete the form and provide the supporting documents to avoid delays or complications. All forms required to obtain documentation are found on our website. 

Proof of Ownership

To obtain or renew USCG documentation, you must provide proof of ownership for the vessel. This can be established through various documents, like a bill of sale, manufacturer’s statement of origin, builder’s certificate, or a previous Certificate of Documentation. The specific documentation required may vary depending on the circumstances, and it is essential to consult with our experts to determine the appropriate proof of ownership documents. 

Fees and Payments 

Applying for USCG documentation involves certain fees and payments. The fees cover the processing of the application and the issuance of the documentation. The amount of the fee depends on various factors, including the boat’s size and intended use. The USCG provides a fee schedule that outlines the applicable fees for different types of vessels and services. It is important to submit the required payment along with the application to ensure its timely processing. 

Compliance with Safe Requirements 

As part of the documentation process, your boat is subject to compliance with safety and regulatory requirements. This may include demonstrating compliance with applicable safety standards, and ensuring proper navigation lights and signaling devices are installed. You should also adhere to specific operational requirements if you use it commercially. 

National Vessel Documentation Center

Careful Attention to the Requirements

If it is time for you to obtain USCG documentation, make sure that you have all the requirements mandated by the national vessel documentation center. Contact us to assist you through the process. Give us a call if you need further help.