Which Owners and Vessels Qualify for USCG Documentation

Did you consider USCG documentation for your vessel, yet don’t know if you qualify? Do some of the benefits feel like they could really help you and/or your vessel, but the qualifications for documentation seem a bit opaque? Those are exactly the kinds of questions that we started our Maritime Documentation Center to answer. We designed our site to be not just a home for documentation forms, but somewhere vessel owners could come to find the information that they need. 

Ownership Requirements 

For the most part, every documented vessel owner must be a citizen of the United States. For the purposes of documentation, partnerships, corporations, and other entities that can hold legal title may be considered as “citizens.” Even then, the corporations have to be registered in America, a minority of the number of directors necessary to constitute a quorum can be non-citizens, and the CEO, as well as chairman of the board of directors, have to be American citizens. 75% of the stock must be vested in American citizens for the vessel to be eligible for a fisheries or coastwise endorsement. All that said, the vessel owners can be traveling or even living abroad.

USCG Documentation

Vessel Requirements 

To qualify for documentation, your vessel has to measure at least five net tons in volume. The keyword in that sentence is “volume.” That’s not the same as weight, nor is it even displacement (which, as you know, can also be measured in tons). A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: if your vessel measures more than 25 feet in length, it almost invariably measures at least five net tons. Vessels can have operational endorsements which govern the activities the vessel can participate in. These could include “Fisheries,” “Coastwise” (trade), “Registry” (for foreign trade), and “Recreational.” 

Renewal Requirements 

Your Certificate of Documentation is valid for one year. You have to renew it before it expires. Otherwise, your documentation will expire. We understand how onerous it can be to have to remember to renew your documentation every single year. To that end, we offer a way to renew your documentation for up to five years in advance. For a fee, we’ll ensure that your documentation is good for the next two, three, four, or even five years. We see it as one more way to make the documentation process that much easier on vessel owners like you. 

A Hub for USCG Documentation 

You don’t need a documented vessel to be able to use our site. Indeed, many first-time customers come to us because they want to learn more about a documented vessel they have their eye on. To that end, we offer Abstracts of Title. With those, you can know everything you need to know about a vessel before you purchase it. You can access and fill out any of the forms on our site from your phone, tablet, or any other kind of device that’s connected to the internet. To see all that we offer, head to our site.