If you are just taking your first steps in the boating industry, you will probably not be familiar yet with the different boat denominations, or even with the pertinent boat documentation. When people reach us, we are often asked questions like “Does my vessel have to be documented with the United States Coast Guard (USCG)?” or “Does the US Coast Guard registration work at a state level?”
Actually, many of these inquiries can be found answered in the frequently asked questions from our site. What is not answered, as it needs to be properly explained, is what an Abstract of Title is. This article will cover how this document can be obtained and some of the most common questions about it.
What Information Will be Included in the Abstract of Title?
An Abstract of title is a formal document that contains a complete summary of the vessel’s history while it was registered with the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Having access to a record of the boat will help you clear any doubts you may have about its precedence, as it is especially thorough when it comes to its own history and financial details.
Every vessel registered with the US Coast Guard is assigned a unique identification number that will stay with the boat regardless of its owner. This number is referred to as the HIN (Hull identification number) and will of course appear in the abstract document.
Furthermore, you will also be briefed on the owner’s history of the vessel. This information is much more detailed than the one you can obtain from a certificate of documentation, as the ownership of the boat can be shared by multiple individuals or even businesses, and you will be able to find each of them on the document.
Additionally, the document will show you the financial details of the boat, like mortgages and liens information or some of the financial encumbrances, as well as how the debts have been resolved.
Finally, but not less important, the filler might decide whether or not to add some more details such as when and where the boat was built. The USCG might also decide to include any other information they consider relevant.
The Reason Behind Getting the Document
What you have just read is a thorough transcription of the information you will generally find on an Abstract of Title. You may be wondering now, what would you do with all the information. The answer is simple: You will be able to double-check the data that the owner has told you. On some occasions (the least) the seller might try to deceive you, selling you something that is not the way he is claiming it is. On some others, he may not even know who the previous owners were, so if you, for instance, notice that the HIN number inscribed on the boat is not the same as the one that comes up in the document, you can tell something dodgy is happening.
Fast Processing of the Abstract of Title
Anyhow, the document can be either requested through our site, Vessel Documentation Online, or with the US Coast Guard. Depending on when the vessel was documented for the first time, the abstract of title might include digitized documents or hard copies, and some references and abbreviations can be hard to understand: do not worry, we can help you with that. Contact us today and get your documentation in no time!