Coast Guard boat registration

Using a Passenger Vessel Not On the Coast Guard Boat Registration Database

Do you have an unregistered, foreign-built vessel that you want to use for small passenger operations? Is your vessel not on the Coast Guard boat registration database and you’re unsure about what you can and can’t use it for? So many vessel owners have been or are in that same position. The truth is that there are some uses for certain vessels under what’s called the “MARAD Waiver.” This is just one of the many forms that you can find at our site. 

Coast Guard Boat Registration & How the MARAD Waiver Works 

In some certain, select cases, vessels that are foreign-built or have no vessel documentation of any kind can be used to conduct limited commercial passenger operations in the United States legally. To do so, it requires the “MARAD Waiver.” This waiver isn’t something that goes away. Rather, it becomes part of the vessel’s documentation. It stays with the vessel once it’s sold or transferred to a new owner. Many of our clients, after they get this waiver, they then apply for vessel documentation with a Coastwise endorsement.

The Minimum Qualifications 

The keyword here is “limited,” at least in terms of those “commercial passenger operations.” When in service, to be in compliance, the vessel cannot have more than twelve passengers on it. Plus, the vessel has to be at least three years old, too. So, the vessel can’t have just been manufactured. Moreover, while the vessel can be foreign-built, the owner cannot, so to speak. To obtain a MARAD Waiver, the vessel must be owned entirely by a citizen of the United States of America. 

What You Can and Can’t Use it For 

Simply put, you can use it to carry up to twelve passengers. You can also use it for sport fishing (i.e. “fishing to have a good time”) provided that you aren’t selling the fish you catch commercially. Really, though, that’s just about it. You can’t use this vessel for salvage, you can’t use it to dredge, you can’t use it for commercial towing, commercial fishing, or to carry cargo. Your options are limited to carrying up to twelve passengers at a given time or sport fishing. We understand that some of this form can be complex (there are a lot of large, blank boxes toward the bottom of it that require you to “attach pages as needed.”) Should you have any questions, we’re glad to answer them. 

Getting on the Coast Guard Boat Registration Database and Staying There 

As mentioned, many of the vessel owners who use this waiver, apply for Coast Guard registration. That’s one of the primary reasons that people use our site. Once you’ve gotten that registration, we can help you to hang onto that registration, too. You can renew your documentation through our site, even doing it for up to five years in advance. The truth is that the MARAD Waiver can be a great way to get a lot of use out of your vessel. For help with that and anything else, just reach out to us.