Who Can Apply to the MARAD Small Vessel Waiver Program and How?

The MARAD waiver is a Maritime Administration mechanism meant for foreign-built vessels. After all, the Jones Act requires that the vessels operating in coastwise commerce be built domestically whenever possible. The MARAD small vessel waiver program recognizes that foreign-built vessels can also contribute to American commerce, which is why it grants waivers to certain vessels under certain conditions. Not everyone can apply, though, so it’s better to know beforehand. Let’s take a look at who is eligible for such a waiver and what they have to do in order to apply for it. 


Are you Eligible for a Waiver?

The standards for eligibility when it comes to the MARAD small vessel waiver program are determined by the Maritime Administration of the United States Department of Transportation. They have stated that in order for a vessel to be eligible for the MARAD waiver, it has to fulfill the following requirements:

  • The vessel must be owned by a United States citizen or organization.
  • The vessel must be at least three years old.
  • The vessel must only intend to carry passengers.
  • The vessel can’t carry more than twelve passengers at a time when in service.
  • The vessel must satisfy a series of separate United States Coast Guard requirements.


The Five Steps of the MARAD Small Vessel Waiver Program

As part of the MARAD small vessel waiver program, each applicant has to partake in a few specific steps. Let’s go over what these are.

  1. First of all, the owner of the vessel will have to submit an application for the small vessel waiver online or by traditional mail. We at Vessel Documentation Online make it all the easier for you to submit your application for a waiver through our website.
  2. MARAD will publish a public notice in the Federal Register for thirty days, which will note the vessel you applied with and its intended use.
  3. During this public notice period, MARAD will use all of the sources available to determine whether the issuance of a waiver will in some way negatively impact American vessel builders or the coastal trade business of those who use these vessels.
  4. If they don’t anticipate a negative impact, then the MARAD waiver issues the waiver. In fact, they approve most waiver requests.
  5. The waiver will then become a part of the vessel’s documentation and will stay with the vessel in case that it’s sold. After receiving a waiver, applicants should also file for a Coastwise Trade Endorsement for the passenger trade with the United States Coast Guard if it doesn’t already hold this endorsement.

MARAD Small Vessel Waiver Program

All Your Maritime Documentation Needs

Applying to the MARAD small vessel waiver program, like any documentation process, can quickly get somewhat frustrating. This is why our team here at the Maritime Documentation Center is here to help make it easier. All the forms you might need are ready for you to fill them out and submit them through our website for your convenience. Any questions? Give us a call at 1-866-981-8783 or email us at info@vesseldocumentation.us with your questions and we’ll do our best to help out.