Smooth Seas Ahead: Meeting US Coast Guard Boat Requirements

When you’re at the helm, you’re always on the lookout for threats. Rough seas, darkening skies, quickening wind, other boats, people in the water, and more – when you’re in control, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the vessel’s journey is safe. By staying “one step ahead of things,” by paying close attention, then you can make sure that happens. The same goes for US Coast Guard boat requirements. By following them to the letter (sometimes literally), you’re always in compliance. That way, you have one less thing to worry about. 

US Coast Guard Boat Requirements: Name and Hailing Port Marks 

When you get your vessel documented, you don’t have to put the number on the outside of the hull. Instead, you do have to put the name and your chosen hailing port on the side of the vessel. You’ll note that “the side of the vessel” is vague language. There’s a reason for that: it’s on you to figure out exactly where you want to put the name and hailing port. However, it must be “on some clearly visible exterior part of the hull.” Remember: this is for people to see your vessel when it’s in the water, so you have to take that into account when you put the characters on there, making sure that it’s appropriately high up on the boat. 

US Coast Guard boat requirements

Name and Hailing Port Mark Requirements 

As you may know from these blogs, you can get many different kinds of vessels documented. Should your documented vessel be a commercial vessel, then the name of the vessel must be on the starboard and port bow and stern. You can’t just do one; if so, you aren’t in compliance. You can choose to mark these vessels in any way that you would like, but they have to be at least four inches high and they have to be durable. So, you have to mark your vessel in such a way that they aren’t going to fall off after the first journey or so. You can abbreviate the state your hailing port is in, but you must mention the hailing port in your markings. 

What’s in a Name? 

Picking a name for your vessel is exciting, but there are some factors you have to keep in mind when you do so. For example, it can’t be something that is “identical, actually or phonetically,’ to any word or words used to solicit assistance at sea.” It can’t be “obscene, indecent, or profane” either. As with most things of this nature, if you have a question about it, you should probably use something else.  

Staying in Compliance with US Coast Guard Boat Requirements 

These are just some of the things to keep in mind when it comes to the requirements that the Coast Guard puts upon vessel owners. We know how confusing these can be. If you require any additional assistance, we’re glad to help. You can shoot us an email or call us at (800) 535-8570.