When you operate a boat that is registered with the United States Coast Guard, you are issued a unique number that identifies the vessel. That number must be visible on your boat, but you might be asking “where must a vessel’s registration number be displayed”. If that’s the case, you are in the right place. Properly displaying your boat’s number is required and must be placed where it can be seen. Use this guide to get it done correctly.
What is a Documented Vessel?
Before going any further, it pays to understand what constitutes a registered vessel, which allows you to determine which guidelines apply to you and which ones might not. For the purposes of this article, if your boat is registered with the United States Coast Guard, it will have a registration number. This is not the same as registering your boat at the state level, and in some cases, you may need to do both. Eligibility for USCG registration is the following:
At least 5 net tons
- Completed application with the National Vessel Documentation Center
- Have a hull number
- Owners must be US citizens
- At least 25 feet in length
Where Does the Registration Number Come From?
When you register your boat with the United States Coast Guard, the registration number comes from the National Vessel Documentation Center. You must apply through this entity to get a valid number from the US Coast Guard. You will receive your registration number when your application is approved.
Vessel Marking Requirements
The official number for your vessel is typically 6 or 7 digits and is unique to your boat. If you sell your boat, the number goes with it, as it is used to identify the watercraft, not the owner. The number must be displayed correctly on the boat. This must be done permanently and in a way that discourages alteration. It must be visible on the interior of the boat, whereas a state registration number is typically found on the bow of the vessel. Follow these guidelines when affixing the number inside your boat:
- Must be block type Arabic numerals
- At least three inches high
- Located on the structural part of the hull
- Must be permanent so alteration or removal is obvious
How to Mark Your Vessel
Just as there are guidelines about what your vessel number must look like (characters, size, etc.), there are also guidelines regarding how to mark it. As mentioned above, the registration number must be permanently attached to the interior of the boat. This can be done using a plaque or plate that is nailed or screwed onto the boat. Again, it must be in such a way that if it is tampered with, it’s immediately obvious.
The question “where must a vessel’s registration number be displayed,” is a good one and one that many boat owners ask. Because there are important regulations regarding how and where to place your registration number, it makes sense to become familiar with the guidelines so you can follow them properly. Contact the US Vessel Documentation Center today for more information and to find answers to your questions about displaying your registration number.