If you’re in the market for a boat, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Do I need USCG approval for my vessel?” As you may expect, there is no easy solution to this problem. Looking through the documentation that comes with a boat, whether new or old, should be your first step. You don’t require USCG permission if the previous owner(s) provide a Bill of Sale and Waiver declaring that the vessel was bought without such approval.
If there are no such papers and you are still trying to decide whether or not your boat requires USCG permission, an expert marine attorney can assist you in figuring out what paperwork you need. You may save money on vessel owner’s insurance by being aware of the situations in which you must get USCG permission. If your boat is 26 feet or longer and its engine produces more than 15 horsepower (or 15 miles per hour), you must have a Certificate of Documentation and USCG permission.
Operating in Certain Zones
United States maritime activity is regulated by the Coast Guard, a military service. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is responsible for various tasks, including enforcing federal laws, protecting domestic events and international business, and responding to environmental disasters. When working in specific regions: You will need a license to operate your vessel in USCG-controlled waters. Georgia’s Lake Lanier is one such place. Permit to navigate applications is required for any business wanting to work there. You may be required to provide additional evidence of your identity during the application process if you live in a high-crime zone or another area, such as the California coast or Washington, DC.
Carrying Hazardous Materials
You may not consider the things you’re transporting by boat “hazardous materials.” On the other hand, the Coast Guard believes any substance that might harm humans is a hazardous material. Keep this concept in mind for your company; even something as seemingly harmless as water might be considered dangerous if transported in a manner that could pollute the water supply. Your shipment may need USCG approval if it contains hazardous items.
The best course of action is to engage with an experienced maritime consultant who can advise your business on whether or not to pursue this kind of permission. An expert can inform you whether your shipment contains dangerous materials and if it doesn’t if any other organizations can exercise authority over it nevertheless. For instance, the Coast Guard may control a load for reasons other than the risk it poses, such as when hazardous cargo is carried by unseaworthy boats or moved on the open ocean rather than in protected bays and ports.
You Need a USCG Approval When Conducting Commercial Operations
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is tasked with enforcing numerous maritime laws and regulations, the most significant of which is the certification of commercial vessels and their operations. The US Coast Guard is the only organization with the authority to determine whether or not a ship is seaworthy. Let’s pretend you want to expand your fleet by purchasing a new boat.
There are no vehicles on board since it is a passenger ferry, yet its length is more than 40 feet, and it can accommodate more than six people. You may be installing a hotel on your yacht to bring in some additional cash; after all, you should make the most of your investment. The US Coast Guard must now bless what is now a commercial business. Contrarily, USCG approval is not required if your boat carries more than six people for non-commercial activities such as a family vacation or a group of friends enjoying time together on the sea.
Sailing in International Waters
You feel a little uneasy about taking your sailboat out on the open ocean for the first time. No matter how careful you are, you can’t help but worry that the Coast Guard may suddenly appear, board your ship, and ruin your good time. No need to worry, however; the Coast Guard’s primary mission is to keep everyone safe on the sea. If a ship is more than six nautical miles from shore, the United States Coast Guard must inspect it to verify it is seaworthy. This includes checking the ships’ compasses, radars, and GPS systems, among other navigational tools. The length, breadth, and draft (how far the boat descends into the water) are all measured, and any unique characteristics that may make the ship less safe or seaworthy are also noted.
If you need USCG approval for a particular project, you can call our friendly representative from the Maritime Documentation Center through the online chat. We’ll happily answer any of your questions and provide you with any information or forms you might need to get the ball rolling.