What is an Abstract of Title and Other Maritime Registration Questions

An abstract of title refers to the record of all documents that have been submitted to the United States Coast Guard for one particular vessel. This abstract will only list the information that has been provided to the Coast Guard during the time the boat in question was registered, which means that there are probably going to be gaps in the information if the registration was left unrenewed at some point or if it changed owners. There might also be gaps in the timeline if the vessel has been registered in different states or countries. However, the abstract of title is still a very informative record that can help a potential buyer or current owner cross-check past data about the vessel.

How Do I Apply for an Abstract of Title?

If your vessel is registered as part of the United States Coast Guard documentation, receiving an abstract of title is actually pretty easy. You simply need to request it using the abstract of title form on our website. By applying to this, you can receive the document that will contain all history regarding the vessel, including its chain of ownership, the liens placed against the vessel, any satisfactions of mortgages, and more.

What is an Abstract of Title for?

Abstracts of title are important because they allow you to have true and tried information about a specific vessel. With an abstract of title, you don’t have to question the information about the vessel or its past. If a seller is telling you that the boat in question is x years old, an abstract of title will be able to tell you whether that is true or not. If you find out that the seller lied or misinformed you about something, you can redirect your business practices and avoid doing business with them.

What is the USCG Certificate of Documentation?

The USCG documentation is a national registration of vessels enacted by congress. Obtaining a certificate of documentation is mandatory for all commercial vessels and is voluntary for large recreational boats. Going through documentation and becoming part of the registry provides evidence of the nationality of a vessel and helps boat owners like yourself that may seek to finance a vessel by providing preferred mortgage status to lenders.

What Vessels Are Exempt from a Boat Registration?

Vessel registration can be important for many vessels, but there are some that don’t have to worry about it. For example, vessels that don’t operate on the navigable waters of the US, or in the fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone don’t have to be documented. By that same token, vessels that are already coastwise-qualified, non-self-propelled vessels that are used in coastwise trade in a harbor, in the rivers or lakes, waters, or canals of any state. To be fair, that last has an exception: the Great Lakes.

How Do I Register for Coastwise Trade and Fishery?

When we talk about vessel registration, it’s important to note that there are different kinds of registration. Not all vessel registrations are the same. For example, vessels that are used for fishery can receive a specific registration for that. By that same token, vessels that are going to be used in coastwise trade can also apply for a particular kind of registration. If you’re unsure about which form of documentation is right for your vessel or at what time, we’ll be happy to assist you.

How Do I Register a Recreational Vessel?

You can specifically register vessels for recreational purposes. There is one big factor to keep in mind here, however. If you register a vessel for recreation, you have to use it for recreation. That means that you can’t use it for recreation, and then all of a sudden, decide that one day you want to start using it for coastwise trade on the oceans or something. The guidelines for recreational vessels are just as important as the ones for commercial ones.

How Do I Get My Certificate of Documentation?

Registering your vessel can be done in just a matter of minutes. If this is the first time that your boat has been registered, then you want to head over to the initial form on our home page. There, you can fill out the form that you’ll need in just a few minutes and then send it out to us. You can also do this process by way of the United States Coast Guard, but by allowing us to handle everything, you can save yourself the logistics of mailing out these forms or having to put up with potential mistakes in the process.

When Should I Renew My Registration?

Your registration is good for between one to five years after it was issued, depending on the time period you applied for. In order to confirm, check your registration for its expiration date. It’s important that you don’t risk yourself by using your boat with an expired registration, since this can result in monetary penalties and even the forced docking of your vessel. It’s always good to set up reminders in regards to the expiration and renewal of your registration to avoid the possibility of sailing with no valid documentation. It’s also important to know that you can only renew your registration for up to thirty days after expiration. Anything past that, you will have to reinstate your certificate of documentation.

How Do I Renew My Documentation?

In order to renew your registration, you usually have to do so through the United States Coast Guard. This usually entails a lot of back and forth, mailing forms, getting rejected for tiny errors, and long waiting periods. However, thanks to the Maritime Documentation Center, you no longer have to deal with all that needless bureaucracy. We can take care of the process for you if you simply fill out the renewal form on our website. If it’s been over thirty days since the expiration date of your documentation, you can also reinstate it through our website.

How Do I Reinstate My Documentation?

So, if you let your documentation expire and go by thirty days without renewing it, you will need to reinstate your documentation. Maybe you meant to renew your documentation for multiple years but didn’t. Perhaps you forgot to renew your registration period. It may seem impossible, but, as busy as we all get, this is absolutely the kind of thing that happens. Unfortunately, once it expires, you can’t just go through the renewal process anymore. Instead, you have to go through the reinstatement one. Fortunately, this is just as easy as it can be when you use our forms. On one page, we have everything you need to get your documentation back to where it should be.

What if I Lost My Maritime Documents?

There are a lot of things you use regularly with which you can rest assured that, even if something happens to the physical copy, you can always rely on the digital one. However, documents such as your passport or your driver’s license are only valid if you possess a literal, physical copy. The same thing applies to your registration, which unfortunately isn’t the kind of thing where you can just have a PDF of it on your phone. Should your copy become lost or otherwise destroyed, we can provide you with a valid, legal replacement. By that same token, we can also set you up with a certified copy as well. That way, you always have the form you need when you need it.

How Do I Get a Replacement for my Registration?

If you can’t seem to find your initial registration despite being all paid up, you might be wondering if you can just print up a new one, right? Or maybe you can mail them to request a copy? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If you lose or somehow damage your documentation, you actually need to get a replacement. A photocopy or something like that won’t actually be valid; you have to get the real thing itself. It’s also important to keep in mind that this is not the same thing as a renewal. All it is is another copy of the registration you have. So, even if you do get this form, your renewal date isn’t going to change. The only way to renew your registration is to go through that process. This is just for replacements alone.

How Do I Add a Spouse to My Documentation Vessel?

If you want to add your spouse to the vessel documentation, there is a specific form to use for that. Just find the Transfer/Exchange form. This one allows you to add a spouse, or even remove one from the documentation if necessary. Many of our customers use these forms when they’re selling their vessel or transferring it to some other owner such as a company or trust. Now one thing to keep in mind about these forms is that if there is a mortgage on the vessel, it has to be satisfied before you can implement this form. The only exception is if the lender gives their permission for you to do so.

What if My Vessel was Built Abroad?

If you have been raring to go with a commercial vessel business, you might run into the problem that your vessel wasn’t built in the United States. Don’t worry, for there is a way around this. The answer is yes. The MARAD Small Vessel Waiver might be the right form of documentation for you. This one allows certain vessels built outside of the United States to be able to conduct limited commercial passenger operations in the United States. It’s important to know that this is limited. As with everything else, if you have any questions, we recommend that you give us a call.

What is a Boat Bill of Sale?

A boat bill of sale is a record of the transaction that shows you are either the new legal owner or the one selling the ship. This will be an imperative part of the purchase and there are steps that you’ll need to follow to make sure it is correct whether you are choosing to register your vessel with the state you live in or federally document your boat with the Coast Guard. This paperwork is just one part of what you will need to submit as a record of ownership when you buy a new boat or a preowned one. Once you have your document, you can move ahead with the process and file what you need with the state or the Coast Guard.

Can I Delete a Vessel from the Coast Guard Documentation?

There is a specific form called a Certificate of Deletion, which allows you to apply for your vessel’s deletion from the United States Coast Guard documentation. Any vessel may be deleted upon the request of the vessel owner or an authorized agent that is acting on their behalf. If you wish to apply for a Certificate of Deletion from the Coast Guard documentation, you can easily do so by filling out the COD form on our website. We’ll take care of it and make sure that it’s filed correctly.