US vessel registration

US Vessel Registration to Use Your Vessel How You Would Like

Do you want to use your documented vessel to transport people but aren’t sure how to make sure it’s in compliance with the powers that be? Are you filling out your initial documentation and are a bit stumped by the part that says “Endorsements for Which Application is Made?” These “endorsements” are actually critical to how you will use your vessel. By picking the right endorsement on your US vessel registration, you can use your vessel in the manner you would like. 

US Vessel Registration – Recreational Endorsement 

Perhaps the most common endorsement is “Recreational.” This is the endorsement for people who aren’t going to use their vessel to make money. They just plan on using it for, well, recreation. They want to have a good time on their vessel with friends and family. Now, remember: you can use any vessel for recreation. But, you can’t use a vessel that has a “recreational” endorsement for fishery or coastwise operations (among others). A “Recreational” endorsement is just for recreation, period. 


Do you want to use your vessel to transport people or goods on the navigable waters of the United States or in the “Exclusive Economic Zone,” i.e. two hundred or so miles off of the coast of the US? Then you want the “Coastwise” endorsement. By that same token, if you plan on using your vessel for commercial fishing (or transporting fish for commercial purposes) on those same waters, then the “Fishery” endorsement is right for you. You’ll note that there are additional “Coastwise” endorsements under the others for certain circumstances. If you have any questions about which endoresement is right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Registry and Other Reasons Folks Get Their Vessels Documented 

The “Registry” endorsement can be a bit confusing, after all, aren’t they all “registered” vessels? However, this endorsement is used primarily for foreign trade, if you’re using your vessel in foreign waters. That said, you don’t have to use your vessel for commercial purposes to get it documented. For example, plenty of vessel owners just get the “Recreational” endorsement simply so that they can secure financing. Indeed, for decades, most banks and other lenders won’t loan anyone money for a vessel unless it’s documented. 

If you Decide to Change Your US Vessel Registration Endorsement and More 

Picking the right endorsement for your vessel is a big deal. After all, it’s how you’re going to use your vessel. That said, you can change your mind. Perhaps you started with a “Fishery” endorsement, only to find that maybe the fish got scarce and you realized you could make more money transporting people on the same body of water. Should that be the case, you can absolutely change your endorsement from “Fishery” to “Coastwise” or to any of the other endorsements. If you have any questions about how this or any of our other forms work, we’ll be happy to help. You can simply message us through our site.