boat documentation

Boat Documentation Center to Endorse How You Want to Use Your Boat

Did you recently purchase a vessel that you’re planning on using in a commercial capacity? Have you begun filling out your vessel documentation and got to the part that mentioned “endorsement” and now you feel stuck? Vessel documentation forms aren’t really made for vessel owners, exactly – they’re made for the bureaucracy, for authorities. So, they don’t always use language that you might encounter in the course of your day-to-day vessel ownership. At our boat documentation site, we make it simpler than ever to pick the right endorsement for your vessel (as well as changing it if you have to). 

Boat Documentation and Endorsements 

If your vessel measures five net tons or more and you’re going to use it for certain activities, then you need to get it documented. Part of the documentation process is picking an endorsement that fits your vessel. Those endorsements include “Coastwise,” “Fishery,” “Registry,” and “Recreational.” Each has different benefits and picking the right one is crucial to using your vessel how you want, you can find the Change of Endorsement / Trade Indicator form on our site. 


“Coastwise” trade means that you’re carrying passengers or merchandise. However, don’t let the name fool you – you don’t have to be just using your vessel “on the coast,” exactly. Rather, it’s just that you’re using your vessel anywhere on the navigable waters of the United States or in the “Exclusive Economic Zone.” For a very loose definition of the latter, it’s basically two hundred miles off of the coasts of the United States. For the “Fishery” endorsements, that’s for if you’re fishing commercially (or engaging in fishery activities) in those same waters with that same size of the vessel (at least five net tons in measurement). 

Different Kinds of Endorsements 

“Registry” might be the endorsement that we get the most questions about. This endorsement is primarily used for foreign trade if you’re going to use your vessel overseas. “Recreation” is the endorsement for, well, everyone else. If you plan on using your vessel for fun with friends and family, this is the endorsement for you. Often, vessel owners will get this endorsement if they’re seeking a mortgage on their vessel. That’s because so many lenders, banks, and others will require a vessel owner to document their vessel before signing off on a mortgage. One thing to keep in mind about endorsements: you can change your endorsement. 

Changing When It’s Time 

Maybe you’ve spent years and years in the commercial fishing business but, you wake up one day and realize that it’s time for a change. Perhaps you’ve seen that there’s more money in transporting goods or people in your area. There’s a number of reasons that a vessel owner could decide to change their endorsement. No matter your reasons, you can use our site to do exactly that. Moreover, this is just one of the vessel documentation forms that we offer. You can see everything else that we offer here at our site. Don’t hesitate to message us with any questions you might have or fill out our contact form