USCG Documentation Endorsements: How to Use Your Vessel How You Want

Do you find USCG documentation a bit confusing? When you look at the form to file for your initial documentation, do you think: “I just want to get out on the water and make some money with my vessel?” We understand how onerous the process can be. Indeed, that’s one of the biggest reasons we started this company in the first place so that we could make it easier for maritime professionals. Picking endorsement of the USCG Documentation for your vessel is important when completing any form. 

Who Needs USCG Documentation 

If your vessel measures five net tons, is wholly owned by an American citizen, and it’s to be used for transporting people and/or merchandise or for fishing activities on the navigable waters of the United States (or the EEZ) then you have to register it. That said, you may choose to document your vessel even if you are just going to use it for fun with family and friends. 

The Different Endorsements 

The most common endorsements that vessel owners opt for at our site are “Recreation,” “Fishery,” “Registry,” and “Coastwise.” In this context, “Coastwise” means “coastwise trade,” transporting people or goods on American waters. “Registry” can be a bit confusing because it sounds similar to “registration.” Really, that’s the endorsement for vessel owners who are going to use their vessels for foreign trade. “Recreation” is what it sounds like you’re using your vessel to have a good time, not to engage in any commercial activity. Remember: you can use any vessel for recreation whenever you would like, but you can’t use a vessel with a “Recreation” endorsement for any commercial activity. 

Why You Might Want to Document Your Vessel If You Don’t Have to 

“Well, if that’s the case,” you might be thinking, “why would I get a ‘Recreation’ endorsement at all?” That’s actually our most popular endorsement for a good reason: it can make it much easier to get a Preferred Ship’s Mortgage. Without documenting your vessel, it is essentially impossible to get that mortgage. So, the “Recreation” endorsement actually can make it easier to finance the vessel of your dreams. Of course, here at the Vessel Registrar Center, we want to make the entire documentation process easier. Once you pay off your mortgage, you can file for a “Satisfaction/Release of Mortgage/Lien” here at our site, too. 

USCG Documentation

Changing Endorsements of USCG Documentation When You Want 

Choosing the right endorsement is important for your vessel documentation, yes. But, it’s not set in stone. You can change your vessel’s endorsement when you would like. Many vessel owners, over the years, have come across a new business opportunity and, to pursue it how they want, choose a different endorsement for their vessel. You can do so through the “Change of Endorsement/Trade Indicator” form at our site. Additionally, you can find essentially all of the vessel documentation forms you may need through the course of owning your vessel here at our site as well.