What is a Documented Vessel to Discover the World?

Being on the water offers a different kind of experience unimaginable to land travelers. The idea of eating dinner over the side of the boat or discovering hidden beaches inaccessible from land. These are just some of the benefits of owning a boat. Whether or not you will use your boat for recreational or commercial purposes, it is important to determine how to use it legally. You may ask NVDC to know if your vessel needs to be documented or read this post. 

NVDC on Vessel Documentation 

When it comes to boat terminology, you may have come across the term “documented vessel.” But what exactly does it mean? In simple terms, a documented vessel is a boat that is registered with a national authority, like the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Documented vessels undergo a different registration process than those that are state-registered. They also hold a unique status in the maritime world. 

Registered with a National Authority

Your boat is documented if it is registered with a national authority, instead of a state or local government. The USCG is responsible for documenting vessels in the US. Documented vessels receive a Certificate of Documentation which serves as official proof of ownership and registration. This certification includes important information about the vessel, like name, hull identification number (HIN), dimensions, and the name of the boat’s owner. 

Why Consider Documenting Your Boat? 

Maritime Documentation 

Documenting a vessel provides a recognized and standardized form of registration within the maritime industry. It establishes the boat’s legal status and ensures compliance with national and international regulations. This can be particularly important if your boat is engaged in commercial activities, such as towing, chartering, or fishing. 

National and International Recognition 

Documented vessels are recognized nationally and often internationally. This recognition can be beneficial when operating in foreign waters or engaging in international trade. Documented vessels may receive certain privileges and benefits in foreign ports or when interacting with other vessels registered with national authorities. 

Enhanced Resale Value 

Another benefit of documenting your boat is the higher resale value compared to vessels that are only state-registered. The official documentation provides potential buyers with an additional layer of assurance regarding the boat’s history, ownership, and compliance with regulations. This can make a documented vessel more appealing and valuable in the market. 

Credibility and Professionalism 

It also enhances your credibility and professionalism as a boat owner. This is especially true if you operate in the commercial maritime sector. Your documented boat indicates a commitment to legal compliance, safety standards, and professionalism. These are all advantageous when dealing with clients, insurers, or other industry stakeholders. 


Not a Requirement 

It is important to note that not all boats are required to be documented. Typically, if you have a larger boat, you may need to document. However, smaller pleasure crafts and recreational boats are often state-registered instead. State registration requirements vary. They involve registering the boat with the appropriate state or local authority. You also need to obtain a registration certificate or decal. 

If you need further information about NVDC requirements for boat documentation, make sure to browse our forms or just contact us and talk to our experts.