Vessel Documentation

Steps to Guarantee Your Vessel Documentation is Fully Compliant

Are you a USCG boat owner looking to ensure your vessel documentation is fully compliant? If this is the case, you are in luck! In this article, we will take you step-by-step through ensuring that your boat complies with the regulations set out by the relevant authorities. After all, ensuring that your vessel is in full compliance with the standards set out by the federal government is crucial to maintaining the safety of both you and your passengers while you are out on the water. 

However, even if you are very cautious about compliance, there is a possibility that there are certain stages that you are missing, which may result in issues in the future. Following these simple procedures should ensure that all of your USCG boat paperwork is in proper order. You may take the following measures to ensure that your paperwork complies with all applicable standards.

Make Sure Your Information Is Up-To-Date

Make sure all of your contact information is correct and easily accessible. Give your contact information as well as that of anybody else who has a stake in the boat’s ownership (such as a business partner or spouse). Two more forms, an affidavit of actual presence and an affidavit of ownership, are necessary for all instances. When filling out the physical presence form, you’ll need to attest that you haven’t spent more than six months outside the country without coming back at least once a year. 

If you’ve been living overseas, you’ll also need to provide a full itinerary of your travels throughout that period. Information on the boat’s owner, including whether it is a corporation or an LLC, the state in which it is registered, and its federal tax I.D., must be included on the ownership form. Your boat’s paperwork is essential, and it’s not just something you need to be aware of; it’s something that every port authority will verify when you arrive.

Check the Expiration Date on Your Vessel Documentation

What is the most crucial thing you can do to ensure your paperwork is legal? A simple way to accomplish this is to look at when your vessel documentation expires. If it is due to expire, you should contact the issuing authorities as soon as possible to request a renewal. Please don’t put it off any longer; being found with an outdated passport in some ports might result in harsh consequences. 

If you are already registered with the USCG and want to add or update a contact person, or if you would like to add a new vessel to your certificate of documentation, you may do so online. The processing period for such matters might be several weeks, so it’s best to take care of them as soon as possible but not at the last minute. Your boat will return to its undocumented state if you don’t renew its paperwork every five years, as the U.S. Coast Guard requires.

Carry Copies of Your Documentation with You While Boating

Legally, you must have with you at all times your boat registration and evidence of insurance. Keeping these records in a watertight container ensures that they will remain undamaged and accessible if your ship encounters trouble. Thus, it is not sufficient to keep important papers in the glove box or an envelope beneath the seat since these locations are not easily accessible in the event of an emergency and may not even remain intact in the event of an accident or a sinking. 

Put extra copies in a watertight container and keep them on board at all times. Paperwork for a pleasure boat less than 16 feet must be renewed within a year of its expiration. If this seems like something that may apply to you, know there is no grace period when the paperwork expires; once it does, you cannot operate the boat until it is reissued.

Vessel Documentation

Make Sure To Renew Your Vessel Documentation on Time

If you keep one thing in mind—renewing your subscription on time—you may save many difficulties. The documentation office of the United States Coast Guard has a predetermined schedule for when they send out renewal notices. If you do not receive that notice, you will not be able to submit your renewal paperwork until the next round, which could take several months to complete. If you do not receive that notice, you will have to wait. 

Suppose you do get caught in this situation. In that case, it will take even longer because they will have to manually enter all of your information into their system rather than be able to use the information from your previous application as a starting point. This will make the process even more inconvenient for you. Get an early start on your renewal process to guarantee that everything runs smoothly and as swiftly as feasible.

If you plan to bring your boat to the U.S., it’s essential to ensure that your vessel documentation complies with the laws of the United States. If you are unfamiliar with these laws, do not worry; some professionals can help. The U.S. Coast Guard provides information and services to help you understand these laws. Still, if you want specific advice, contact the U.S. Vessel Documentation Center at (800) 340-7580 for more information.