What is a Documented Vessel and What is it For?

As a boat owner, you must know that there are certain rules and regulations that you must follow. Those requirements usually vary from state to state. There are certain restrictions, however, that make it mandatory for a vessel to be Documented Vessel with the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Please read on if you want to find out in what instances you need to get this type of registration and the advantages it will mean for your boat to have them.

Definition and Advantages of a Documented Vessel

We will cut right to the chase. According to Wikipedia, the US Coast Guard is the maritime security, search and rescue, and law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the country’s eight uniformed services. They are responsible for the management of maritime activity and do so, in a way, with the documented vessels. What does that mean, exactly?

We will review later the conditions that may make it mandatory for you to register your vessel within this association. In the meantime, let us tell you that the procedure through which the Coast Guard officially recognizes a vessel as one in the US jurisdiction makes your boat a documented (or registered, licensed, etc) vessel, and gets you a “certificate of documentation”. 

This type of registration works at a federal level and, as such, it is recognized internationally. This makes the process of entering and leaving foreign ports much easier. In addition to that, you can also benefit from documenting your boat by naming it, as this type of license allows you to be recognized by your name and hailing port rather than your state registration number. Finally, USCG documentation also gives your boat access to preferred ship mortgages. 

When you Don’t Have a Choice

The question is, however, why get your vessel documented if you do not have an interest in any of those benefits? The thing is, you don’t always have a choice. Vessels owned by US citizens, who used their boats for commercial purposes, that weigh over 5 net tons (around 25 feet) need to register their vessels with the US Coast Guard mandatorily. In addition to that, boats that exceed the same net tonnage but are used for recreational purposes instead can choose whether or not they want to register their watercraft at a federal level.

Documented Vessel

Easy Access to Your Forms

Now that you know the meaning of a documented vessel and the benefits you get from having a certificate of documentation it is time to learn where to obtain it. The obvious answer is on the US Coast Guard website. Over there you will be able to download the form, complete it electronically or by hand and send it to the USCG offices in Oklahoma via postal mail. The alternative, if you are in a rush, is to get it at our site, the Maritime Documentation Center.

We are a third-party agency that allows you to get any type of boating paperwork completely online. Once you have filled out the form you needed we will then submit it to the USCG on your behalf. Additionally, we will check that there are no mistakes made on your application, that could delay the processing of your documents. Contact us today for any other questions you may have.