What Type of Vessels Can Be Documented with the USCG?

Being near water can help you calm down. This is especially beneficial if your daily life is stressful. Owning a boat can help you break the stressors. You can use your boat for recreational purposes. You may also consider it as your business. If you do use it commercially, make sure that you comply with the law. You may check out USCG vessel documentation requirements to see if you are mandated to document your boat. 

USCG Vessel — What Can Be Documented? 

Vessel documentation is a federal registration system. It is designed to regulate and oversee vessels involved in specific maritime activities. The goal is to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations while enhancing safety and security in the maritime industry. It also facilitates international commerce and provides a standardized means of identifying vessels. 

Now, let’s find out what type of vessels are eligible for documentation. 

Commercial Vessels 

If your vessel is engaged in activities such as fishing, cargo transportation, passenger transport, and towing, then it is eligible for documentation. 

Recreational Vessels 

Yes, even if you use your boat for recreational purposes, you may still need to document it. But you can only do so if it meets specific size criteria. Keep in mind that boats that are at least 5 net tons are required to be documented federally. Thus, if yours meets the size criterion, then you should definitely document it. Otherwise, you will be sailing your boat illegally. 

Certain Government Vessels 

Some government-owned vessels, like vessels used for government functions, may be eligible for documentation. 

Vessels Engaged in Foreign Trade

If your boat is involved in foreign trade, even if it is owned privately, then it is eligible for documentation. This is especially true if your boat is used to transport goods or passengers internationally. 

Criteria for Documentation Eligibility 

To be eligible for documentation, vessels must meet the following criteria: 

  • US Citizenship: The boat must be at least 5 net tons. It must also be owned by U.S. citizens. If you are not a U.S. citizen yet, then this can be an issue. For corporations, partnerships, or other entities, specific citizenship criteria apply. 
  • Use in Foreign Trade or Coastwise Trade: The vessel should be used in foreign trade, coastwise trade, or fishing outside the US. This means the vessel must be involved in international commerce or operate in US waters.
  • Size requirements. There are exceptions. But most recreational vessels must be at least 5 net tons in size to be eligible for documentation. 
  • Clear title: The vessel must have a clear title with no outstanding liens or encumbrances that would prevent documentation. 

What are the Benefits of Boat Documentation? 

It offers several advantages including enhanced safety and security. This is especially true if your boat is engaged in international trade. You can also access certain benefits, like preferred mortgage status for financing. Having a documented boat will also streamline entry into foreign ports. 

USCG vessel

Critical Step 

USCG vessels are federally documented to sail in open waters. If your boat meets the criteria, then make sure to process its documentation. Use our services if you wish to initiate or renew documentation.