What is USCG Documentation and Why Does it Matter?

Do you ever find yourself thinking: “just what is USCG documentation anyway? Where did this come from and why would I need it?” These are natural questions to ask. USCG documentation isn’t something new, it actually comes from the very First Congress of the United States. As the national form of vessel documentation, it has plenty of benefits for those that qualify (as well as those who need it). There are plenty of reasons that folks have taken advantage of getting documentation through our site. 

Qualifying for Documentation

Any vessel can be documented if it’s owned wholly by a United States citizen and measures at least five net tons. Now, “measures five net tons” is about volume and not weight. So, you can either have your vessel’s volume measured or check to see if it’s at least 25 feet long. Should that be the case, then it’s definitely at least five net tons in volume. You do have to get your vessel documented if you’re going to use it for certain purposes. To be in compliance, you’ll need the right endorsement. 

Different Documentation for Different Purposes: The Endorsements

In this context, “endorsement” more or less means “how you plan on using the vessel.” So, if you plan on using the vessel for fishing activities on the navigable waters of the United States or the Exclusive Economic Zone, then you’re going to need “Fishery.” Should you be transporting people or goods on those same waters, then you’re going to want “Coastwise.” Getting into foreign trade? That’s the “Registry” endorsement. Finally, “Recreational” is what it sounds like – you’re using your vessel just to have fun with friends and family. 

“What is USCG Documentation for Changing Endorsements?”

Say that you get a Coastwise endorsement. Then, as you transport people and/or goods, you realize that there sure are a lot of fish in the water. So, you decide to get some fishing gear and give that a shot. Should that be the case, you can change from one endorsement to another with the “Change of Endorsement/Trade Indicator” form at our site. Remember: no matter what kind of vessel you have, you can use it for recreation, to have a good time. But, if you have a vessel with a “Recreational” endorsement, you can only use that vessel for recreation. 

USCG Documentation

A Better Way to Deal with Documentation for Good

A Certificate of Registration is where many vessel owners start with vessel documentation. But, usually, it’s far from the only kind that they get. At our site, you’ll be able to find any kind of vessel documentation you might need. That includes renewing your initial documentation, of course, as well as all the forms you need to be able to get a Preferred Ship’s Mortgage (as well as pay it off). We even have forms that help you to research these vessels. To see all that we have, check out our site or call (800) 535-8570.