The Ultimate Guide to Naming US Documented Vessels

All US documented vessels should have a name. This name goes along with identifying numbers and is important for the sale or purchase of a vessel, as well as in cases of theft, accident, or emergencies. There are a number of rules that go along with naming your boat and it’s important to adhere to them for the best results when you register the watercraft. Keep reading to find out what guidelines you need to follow. 

Rules for Names You Can’t Use

The first step you should take is to make sure that the name you are considering for your boat isn’t already taken. Your choice must be unique and cannot be made up of words or phrases that are trademarked. You must also avoid any names that are offensive, contain profane language, or are racist or sexist. You cannot use swear words or anything that can be embarrassing to other boaters. The name of your boat cannot contain any words that sound like or resemble terms used to get assistance, such as “mayday” or “SOS.” Doing so can result in your application being rejected. 

Be Concise

Keep your boat name short and simple. Remember that this is the name that will be used on the radio so you want to be sure you can understand it and that other boaters recognize it as well. At the same time, you want the name you choose to fit on the boat itself so that it meets guidelines and is visible to other boaters. A short and simple name is also easier to remember in emergencies. 

Have Fun With It

Puns and plays on words are common among boat names. Some people use inside jokes or name their boat after a specific person. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun when you choose your boat’s name. 

Choose Something Original

As stated above, your boat’s name must be original and cannot be the same as any other vessel. For that reason, spend some time coming up with something original that won’t be easy to copy and won’t already be taken. Think about your hobbies, places you’ve visited, or books you’ve read. Consider using the water as a foundation, perhaps adding the word “sea” or “lake” into the name of your boat. A dictionary is a great way to find synonyms and definitions as you go on a quest to find the perfect name for your boat. 

US Documented Vessels

Character Requirements

Your boat’s name must be composed of characters found in the Latin or Arabic alphabet and/or Roman numerals. That means you can’t use foreign characters to name your boat. The name of your boat cannot be longer than 33 characters. However, you can use a variety of fonts, colors, and types of script when you place your boat’s name on the vessel itself. It just needs to be legible and easy to see from a distance. 

Do you need help figuring out the rules for naming US-documented vessels? You’re in the right place. The Vessel Documentation Online is here to help. Contact us today with all of your questions and we’ll point you in the right direction.