The Marad Waiver: Making Foreign-Built Vessel’s Lives Simpler

Are you wondering the steps you need to take if your vessel was built abroad and you want to use it for commercial purposes? Then this might be the right article for you. We will explain to you everything you need to know about the Marad waiver. Let us now show you “the 5W”. What is it exactly, why is it used, when you might need it, who can benefit from it, and where you can get it? Without further ado, let us stop asking the questions and start giving you the answers.  


It is not possible to explain the Marad Waiver without referencing the Merchant Marine Act. According to Cornell University, the Jones Act, a crucial component of that law, disallows foreign-built or foreign-owned vessels to be used for commercial purposes in the United States. This doesn’t mean you cannot use your boat for leisure activities if it was built abroad. But it does mean that the United States Coast Guard benefits local vessels to take advantage of American waters and fisheries rather than international vessels. The Marad Waiver is here to help those foreign boats.


The goal of this law was to control the maritime trade in American seas and between American ports, among other things. The Congress established it to protect the local economy with commercial boats cruising between American ports while carrying products and people. Soon after that, they realized that some vessels that were built abroad could contribute to the local economy.


Not all of the foreign-built vessels can apply for the Marad waiver. They need to be at least three years old and only be used for the carrying of passengers. In addition to that, the owner must be an American citizen. This means they cannot apply this waiver for commercial fishing, transporting merchandise, and so on. There is one more rule: the vessel can only carry up to twelve passengers at a time.


The Marine Merchant Law, along with the Jones Act were both passed in 1920. The Marad Waiver has been active since then.

Marad Waiver


You can apply for the Marad waiver both online and by email. After your proposal, you will need to submit the MA-1023 online application, along with the appropriate fee to be considered for the position. There is no need to stress: Our representatives at the Maritime Documentation Center can assist you to make the process simpler for you. This form can be accessed on the left side of our website. Once you have issued the form, our staff will overlook it to make sure there are not any mistakes made that could delay the process. Contact us today for any other questions you may have!