Certificate of Documentation

Is It Time to Get a Certificate of Documentation for Your Vessel

Are you in the process of deciding what you’re going to use your vessel for? Do you think you’re going to get a Certificate of Documentation but want to be 100% sure it’s the right call? That makes all the sense in the world. For many folks, they need to document their vessels. It’s the only way to be in compliance with the Coast Guard when they go out on the water. That said, there are plenty of folks who don’t need to register their vessels. There are even people who don’t have to document their vessels yet choose to do so. Here at U. S. Vessel Documentation Online, we can help you to chart the best course for you going forward. 

Vessel Owners Who Must Get a Certificate of Documentation 

Does your vessel measure five net tons or more? Before you answer, remember that “net tons” does not measure weight (as “tons” would) but rather, it measures “volume.” If you aren’t sure of the answer, another question: is your vessel 25 feet or longer? If so, then it almost assuredly measures five net tons. Should your vessel be that size or bigger and you’re using it for fishing activities or to carry people/goods on US waters, then you need to get it documented. As you might imagine, there are plenty of exceptions, but that’s a good, baseline answer. 

Vessel Owners Who Can Get Documentation 

You can choose to get your vessel documented if it measures at least five net tons and is owned by a U.S. citizen. At this point, you might say: “OK, that sounds good, but why would I do this if I wasn’t going to use my vessel for fishing or to make money somehow?” Well, the truth is that it may not be 100% up to you. For example, many banks, before they go in on a boat mortgage, require that the vessel be documented. Should that be the case, we have the documents to help with that, too. 

The Different Endorsements 

Even once a vessel has been documented, there are different endorsements. For example, if you’re going to use your vessel to fish, then you’ll want a “Fishery” endorsement. If you’re going to use it for coastwise trade, then you’ll want “Coastwise.” “Registry” is for foreign trade and “Recreation” is what it sounds like. 

Documentation for the Ownership of Your Vessel 

If you do decide to get your vessel documented, we can help. You can find the forms for your initial documentation at our site. Should you have all of the info you need nearby, you can fill out that form in a matter of minutes. That said, if you choose to do so, then it’s almost invariably not going to be the last form of documentation that you’ll need. Renewal forms, Change of Address/Hailing Port, and so many others – you can find them all right here at our U. S. Vessel Documentation Online site.