Coast Guard Boat Registration

US Coast Guard Boat Registration: Is It Mandatory?

Do you have to document your vessel or not? You’ve seen folks that have documented their vessels, and maybe even seen some boat owners who you felt should document their vessels but either didn’t do it or haven’t gotten around to it yet? The truth is that, yes, there are some vessel owners for whom US Coast Guard boat registration is mandatory. No ifs, ands, or buts, they absolutely have to get their vessel documented if they want to use it in their chosen manner. However, there are still others who choose to document their vessel even if they don’t have to. 

Who Qualifies for US Coast Boat Registration 

You can document your vessel if you’re a US citizen who owns a vessel that was made in America and your vessel measures at least five net tons. Already, you may have seen the word “measures” and think that it’s synonymous with “weights.” That is not true, not in this context. “Measures” means, in terms of net tonnage, volume. So, it’s a measurement of the volume inside your ship, not how much it weighs. You can have your vessel’s net tonnage measured. However, to do things simpler, just check how long your vessel is. If it’s 25 feet or longer, it almost assuredly measures at least five net tons. 

Coast Guard Boat Registration

Those For Whom Vessel Documentation is Mandatory 

To be specific, your vessel has to be documented if it’s going to be used for fishing activities or to transport people and/or goods on the navigable waters of the United States or in the Exclusive Economic Zone. The documentation endorsements for the above vessels would be “Fishery” and “Coastwise.” If that’s what you’re going to do with your vessel, then you have to get it documented. It’s not something that you can argue your way out of or anything like that. However, should you have to document your vessel, you will still have to follow the state registration laws in your state, pay state taxes, and so forth. 

Why Those Who Don’t Need Documentation May Get it Anyway 

“Great,” you may think after having read the above, “I don’t need to get my vessel documented.” However, you still may choose to do so. Perhaps you’re going to use your vessel in international waters, as customs officials essentially the world over will see your Certificate of Documentation as authentication of your boat’s nationality as well as of your ownership. YOu may also choose to do so as only documented vessels qualify for Preferred Ship’s Mortgages. 

Everything You Need for Your Coast Guard Boat Registration 

If you’ve read the above and decided that, yes, you and your vessel would best be served by getting it documented, we can help. At our site, you can find just about every single form of documentation you might need. From the Abstract of Title when you’re first researching vessels through the initial documentation to the renewal and beyond, you can find it all right here at our site.