certificate of documentation

What Is A Vessel Certificate Of Documentation?

For many small boat owners, their first query is “What is a vessel certificate of documentation?” This is a typical question since the documentation process is tricky and daunting.

Documentation is a kind of registration that registers your vessel with the USCG. It demonstrates that you’re permitted to utilize your boat in U.S. commerce.

However, you may be wondering what this all implies. Documentation offers you a title for your boat inside the national (federal) system vs. the state system.

This implies, for example, that when you purchase a boat that does not have paperwork and go to register it in New York State, they will inform you that it already has a certificate of documentation.

If it doesn’t, NYS will demand a set amount of safety equipment aboard the boat before restoring it to service.

Vessels in the GT/GL trade must adhere to Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 67. They must be documented via the National Vessel Documentation Center in an application process that may take up to 6 months from when a vessel submits its application.

certificate of documentation

When Is Documentation Required For A Vessel? 

One of the most frequent questions posed by owners acquiring yachts is, “will I need to have my vessel USCG documented?” One of the first things addressed in the application process for a boat purchase is whether they will be acquiring their boat title or not and if they need their boat documented.

According to federalregister.gov, The first stage in that procedure is to assess whether the vessel fits the qualifying standards for paperwork.

A vessel may be documented, coastwise or limited; nevertheless, while considering if you want to perform a documented transaction, it’s crucial to understand the procedure and what it will imply for you and your firm as a whole.

Vessels are classed under the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) by admeasurement. The USCG carries out the inspection, certification, and associated activities essential to verify that boats satisfy design, construction, and equipment criteria.

The vessel’s owner ensures that any boats being modified comply with safety and environmental protection requirements.

What Boats Are Eligible To Be Documented? 

Suppose you possess a recreational or fishing vessel smaller than five net tons, and you are a U.S. Citizen. In that case, the boat may be eligible for vessel Documentation via the National Defense Reserve Fleet.

Boat owners who are citizens of the United States may apply for official documentation via the U.S. Coast Guard to lawfully operate their boats. To be qualified for this, the vessel must measure at least five net tons and have a certificate of inspection.

The boat owner is also needed to be a citizen of the United States. Measuring a vessel’s tonnage is different from measuring its length.

The limits for tonnage are defined according to USCG rules, and boats must fulfill the minimum tonnage to be eligible for a vessel certificate of documentation.

When determining the tonnage of a vessel, you must use the most accurate measurement of all three factors: gross tonnage (gross tons = actual cubic volume of space that the boat displaces), net tonnage (an estimation of hull volume), and deadweight (actual weight of cargo, consumables, fuel and ballast water that displace).

When Can A Vessel Apply For Documentation? 

Documentation of a vessel is the process that succeeds the state titling. The United States Coast Guard will not allow someone to install more than one title to a ship, which means that once you Document the vessel, it will invalidate and supersede any former titling.

Documentation generally takes two to four months for completion; however, due to the workload of Vessel Documentation Offices (VDOs), the wait time for a boat’s submission varies.

Having your boat documented can be beneficial because vessel changes must be registered with the Coast Guard, and documented vessels are not required to have state registration renewed annually or even every three years; instead, owners register an out-of-water status with their coast guard documentation.

Anyone can apply for Coast Guard Documentation at any time during their ownership. When you use Coast Guard Documentation, your state title is invalidated, and you’re able to travel freely between states without a problem.

Can My Boat Be Titled And Documented? 

Once your boat is documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, any federal registration or state titling that may have previously applied to the vessel is invalidated and superseded by Coast Guard Documentation.

The documentation process will vary depending on whether your boat is a recreational vessel or a commercial one.

The state registration depends on the state’s requirements, where the owner primarily keeps the vessel and pays taxes.