US Coast Guard Documentation for Small Vessels Sans Documentation: MARAD

Do you have a vessel that you aren’t sure what to do with? Is there a vessel in your possession that you think may be foreign-built but you still want to see how you can use it in a commercial capacity legally? If you’ve looked at our FAQ and some of our other blogs, then you know that there are severe restrictions on what foreign-built vessels and vessels with no documentation can legally do, particularly in regards to commercial activity. However, there is one form of US Coast Guard documentation that may help: the MARAD Waiver. As with so many other forms, you can file them through our site. 

Does Your Vessel Qualify for a MARAD Waiver? 

If you’ve ever heard of the Jones Act, then you know, for the most part, vessels that engage in coastwise commerce should be, if possible, built in the United States. But, if your vessel isn’t, you could still be OK – through this waiver. To qualify,  your vessel has to be at least three years old and owned by an American citizen or organization. Additionally, your vessel may qualify as long as the introduction of your foreign-built vessel would not “have an undue adverse effect on U.S. commerce in that area.” If your vessel fits the bill, you could very well use it to carry passengers. 

US Coast Guard Documentation

What You Can and Can’t Do With a MARAD Waiver 

To be specific, you can only carry passengers in a commercial capacity with this waiver. In fact, you can only carry up to twelve at any one time. That is all you’re allowed to do with the vessel, at least in terms of making money.  You can’t use it to dredge, tow, carry cargo, or the like. YOu can’t engage in commercial fishing with the vessel, either. However, you are allowed to fish for sport with the vessel, so long as you don’t sell any fish you catch commercially. Even with all of that said, this waiver can be a real opportunity for you and your vessel. 

What Folks Typically Do After They File for the MARAD Waiver 

So many of the folks who use our site to file for their MARAD Waiver then, immediately file for a coastwise trade endorsement as a passenger’s vessel. They do that, of course, as long as their vessel is greater than five net tons in volume. Just as with the MARAD Waiver, you can find that form at our site, too. 

The Forms of US Coast Guard Documentation You May Need 

Depending on the size of your vessel, a vessel that originally is operated under the MARAD Waiver could be one that you use for a long period of time. Should that be the case, you can find everything you need at our site to renew your documentation many years in advance. If you have any questions about how any of our forms work, you can call us at (800) 535-8570.