If you’re one of the lucky few that has the means and desire to own a boat, you know there’s a lot of documentation to keep track of. Just like owning a vehicle, it’s important to keep this paperwork handy so that you can provide proof of ownership if you are ever boarded or stopped by the United States Coast Guard. This is true, whether you own a leisure boat or a commercial boat. If you’re in the former category, use this list to help you collect all the yacht documentation you need to keep on your boat.
Proof of United States Citizenship
Perhaps your version of the American Dream is owning your own boat. In that case, you have to go about the process as a responsible citizen of the country. If you aren’t a United States citizen, you need to be deemed a permanent resident to be eligible to be a legal yacht owner in the country. A yacht is described by the USCG as “any vessel less than 65 feet in length that is used or intended to be utilized for pleasure or sport.” If your vessel is used for anything else, documentation may differ.
No Trade or Commerce
While all boats can go out on the water, their purposes vary. Some boats are used for commercial purposes in trade or commerce, while others are dedicated fishing boats. Each falls under its own set of documentation guidelines. If you own a yacht and it’s documented as such, it cannot be used to make money in any kind of trade or commerce pursuit. Likewise, no one on board can accept money for these kinds of services while using the yacht. That includes transporting passengers for pay, such as a water taxi.
All boats should have some type of insurance, just as you would insure your car, truck, or SUV. Federal law requires private boats to have insurance, which includes yachts. At the least, you need to have liability insurance, which offers compensation if you are at fault in a collision or accident. It also covers injuries to any passengers involved. Keeping this paperwork on board your boat at all times is important for all yacht owners.
United States Coast Guard Registration Number
This number is a requirement for all yachts in the United States and is issued by the Coast Guard, along with numbers for your fire extinguishers and life preservers. This number must be renewed every two years. This number is used to confirm that all of your safety equipment has been legally registered with the Coast Guard. You will also need this number to get liability insurance for your yacht. Without this number, you can’t prove to the insurance carrier that your safety equipment is registered and up to date.
Yacht documentation can be tricky and it pays to have an expert on your side as you navigate your way through it. Vessel Documentation Online is here to help. We can answer questions and give you advice as you work your way through the paperwork. Contact us today and you’ll be on your way to having the proper paperwork in no time at all.