Coast Guard Boat Registration

Requirements for Coast Guard Boat Registration: The Truth

Do you not know whether or not it’s a good idea for you to get your vessel registered with the Coast Guard? When you go online to do some research, does it feel like everyone is trying to sell you on the idea that you should register your vessel? The truth is that not every vessel has to be registered. Yes, there are some vessels that need to be registered. However, there are other vessels that can be registered yet, for a variety of reasons, their owners may not choose to. Additionally, some vessels don’t require Coast Guard boat registration but could benefit from it. 

Vessels that Can Be Registered 

If your vessel measures at least five net tons in volume and it’s owned entirely by an American citizen, your vessel can be registered. The keyword in the last sentence was: “volume.” That’s because “net tonnage” isn’t a measurement of weight, but rather the volume of the vessel itself. So, a vessel that weighs five net tons may not qualify. However, there is a simple rule you can apply: length. If your vessel is longer than 25 feet or so, then it almost assuredly measures five net tons in volume. 

Coast Guard Boat Registration

The Vessels That Require Coast Guard Boat Registration 

Here’s where it starts to get a little trickier. There are vessels that have to be registered if they meet the requirements in the last section and you use them in certain activities. Those activities include transporting people and/or goods on the navigable waters of the United States or in the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). That’s what’s referred to as “coastwise trade.” Additionally, you have to register your vessel if you’re using your vessel for fishing activities on those same waters. Those are the clearest signs that you have to register your vessel, there are others as well. 

Why You May Want to Register Your Vessel Even if You Don’t Have to 

Now, you may have read the above and thought: “OK, well, my vessel measures five net tons, sure, but I don’t plan on using it for any of those activities. Do I really need to get it registered?” You don’t need to. But, you may choose to. A major reason folks that are only going to use their vessel for recreation decide to register: a Preferred Ship’s Mortgage. That can make it a lot easier to finance your vessel. You can only qualify for one of those if your vessel has been registered. 

In Addition to Registration 

Registration is one of the most common reasons that folks use our site. However, it’s far from the only one. Indeed, there are plenty of other forms of documentation that our site can assist with. If you need to renew your documentation, for one, we can make it so much easier to do that as well. Should you document your vessel for the Preferred Ship’s Mortgage, we can assist you with those files, too. For more, you can reach us through our site.