Friday, May 10, 2024

How To Register Your Boat With The Coast Guard

Look It Up A Us Coast Guard Boat Registration Search Can Help You

How to Document Your Boat with the United States Coast Guard

That one unique boat that you saw listed on your Internet has caught your eye. While you keep looking at other listings from brokers and private owners, you find yourself going back to this one vessel time and again. It has all the features you are looking for, is the right size, and from the pictures posted it seems to be in pretty good shape. The boat is even docked nearby to your location so you can drive out and see it for yourself! With all these positive aspects, it is hard for you to avoid wanting to purchase it. Before you take that next big step and look for financing for your purchase or agree to buy the boat, you may want to get some background information first. Take the time to look the vessel up and perform a U.S. Coast Guard boat registration searchso you can learn even more.

Where Do I Register My Boat

A good place to start is right here on Discover Boatingjust visit our Boat Registration page, which allows you to start the registration process online.;In most states, you can also register a boat with the Department of Motor Vehicles. In some cases it may be with the Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Licensing, or the Department of Natural Resources . A boat can be officially registered in only one state.

Boat Registration Numbers And Stickers

A boat registration number is its license plate and is comprised of letters and numbers that must be displayed on the hull, near the bow, on the front third of the boat on both sides. The letters and numbers must be read from left to right and may have a minimum size . The numbers can also be painted on. A registration sticker or decal proves that your boat registration is valid for that year. The length of validity varies by state but can be from one to three years.

Using Durable Metalphoto For Placards

Boats are exposed to a number of harsh conditions on the water and this is especially true in marine environments. Ensuring that your labels and placards are durable is essential. Many boat owners and manufacturers today are taking advantage of Metalphoto® to add corrosion-resistant and compliant placards to their vessels. The labels can be fully customized and are an extremely durable solution that is well suited to . In fact, this material is designed to withstand a host of unwelcoming environments, including extreme heat and sun exposure, icy conditions, and even environments where chemical exposure is abundant. Take a look at our full line of marine-suitable durable nameplates and and data plates.

How To Remove A Vessel From Documentation

  • Ask the Coast Guard for a “Letter of Deletion.”
  • Visit a vehicle/boat licensing office and bring all of the following:
  • A copy of the Letter of Deletion.
  • If ownership changed, a signed, notarized from all the registered owners reflected in the Coast Guard records.
  • Payment for the $38.75 fee.
  • You may pay with cash, check, or money order. Some debit/credit cards are accepted at most offices.
  • What Boats Are Eligible To Be Documented

    Vessels must measure at least five net tons and be owned by US Citizens in order to apply for Documentation. This generally equates to vessels that are about 35 feet or longer, but it truly depends on the tonnage of the vessel. It is also important to note that Documentation is only offered to owners who are US Citizens.

    How To Register A Boat

    So you’ve finally purchased the boat of your dreams. Now, what’s the next step? A good place to start is with boat registration. Registering a boat is required by lawmuch like with a carand the rules and guidelines for how this process is done and what kind of watercraft must be registered are dictated by the state in which the vessel will regularly operate .;

    Here’s the basic steps to follow when registering a boat:

  • Research the boat registration requirements in your state.
  • Complete a registration formeither online, through the mail, or in person.
  • Provide proof of ownershipincluding a title and/or bill of sale.
  • Pay the registration fee, which varies by state and the size of the vessel.
  • Be conscious;of the expiration date and apply for renewal.
  • You Plan To Use Your Boat In International Waters

    If a boat will be used in international waters, the owner should absolutely obtain USCG Documentation for their vessel. Documentation offers a further protection from the United States to vessels as they move through international waters. State titling verses USCG Documentation for a vessel is like comparing a drivers license to the passport.

    Overview Of All Uscg Documentation Standards And Requirements For Boats

    Coast Guard Documentation Board

    The requirements for USCG documentation clearly outline what is necessary to keep a vessel current and in compliance. The National Vessel Documentation Center coordinates these applications and activities. These are the major requirements with respect to the vessel and owner:

    • Size: At least 5 tons in volume .
    • Build: Recreational vehicles have no restrictions on the place of construction. Coastwise or fishery endorsements require proof of construction in the U.S.
    • Ownership: All owners must be a U.S. citizen . This includes citizens of U.S. territories. In cases where a corporation, partnership, or entity owns the vessel for documentation purposes there are unique citizenship requirements that should be consulted in detail.
    • Mortgage: There are requirements for documentation of a preferred vessel mortgage .
    • Residency: Documentation can be acquired by U.S. citizens abroad as long as other requirements are met in full. The vessel can also be located offshore.
    • Operational Endorsements: These endorsements describe the types of activities the vessel is permitted to undertake and are typically assigned as: recreation, coastwise, fishery, and registry .

    These are the important requirements with respect to the documentation itself. It is the responsibility of the vessel owner to ensure that the proper paperwork is kept up to date and maintained on the boat at all times.

    Uscg Documentation Vs State Titling Your Boat


    The difference between the two options

    Confused about documenting or tilting your new boat? We are here to help clear up the confusion! So you have just purchased the boat of your dreams but dont know what comes next. You ask yourself, How the heck do I know if I need to state title or USCG document my boat? There are certain criteria you can use to decipher if your boat needs to be documented by the United States Coast Guard or state titled. We are referring to recreational use vessels only.

    What USCG Documenting Your Boat Means

    Documenting your boat with the USCG means it is being titled on a national level. The vessel you are trying to document must abide by the following criteria: the vessel is of at least five net tons, it has a hull number, the owners are US citizens, and the owners have filled out an application for documentation with the USCG. You can find the Initial Vessel Documentation instructions to document your boat here at the Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center site. Generally, boats that are 25 feet in length and bigger qualify to be documented, regardless of their weight. If you took out a loan for your vessel, the bank might require you to document your boat. ;If you have purchased a smaller boat like a tender or dinghy these generally do not qualify to be documented and will only have to be state titled.

    Do I still have to pay taxes if my boat is USCG documented?
    What State-titling Your Boat Means

    A Search Gives You Valuable Data

    Performing a registration search can provide you with valuable information about the boat you like so much. You can search the Coast Guards database so you can find out if the boat has ever been documented with the Coast Guard and if that documentation is current. You can also learn information such as when the boat was built, the size and tonnage of the ship, where the owner is located, and more essential information. All the data that you discover can be useful to you in deciding if this is the recreational vessel that you really want to buy or not. You may find out that the boat is not as big as you thought or is older than you would like or is made from materials that you do not want.

    What Are The Benefits Of Coast Guard Vessel Documentation

    There are three scenarios where you might want to document your recreational boat.

    1. You plan to use your boat in international waters. A Certificate of Documentation is internationally recognized and makes it much easier for an American vessel to enter and leave foreign ports.

    2. You dont want to display state registration numbers for aesthetic reasons. A documented vessel does not display state registration numbers. Instead, they visibly display their name, hailing port, and are subject to Coast Guard lettering requirements.

    3. You opted to finance your boat and the bank requires vessel documentation. Lenders will frequently require eligible vessels to have documentation because documented vessels qualify for preferred mortgages, and the Coast Guard cannot make changes in documentation without consent from the lender.

    Understanding Coast Guard Registration Versus Documentation


    Do you want to make sure that your vessel is fully protected in the water? You may be uncertain whether registration or documentation is the best way to go forward, and depending upon the type of ship that you have, you may not know which the right option to take is. You could choose to document your boat with the federal agency using a Coast guard registration and documentation form, or you could simply choose to register your vessel in the state where you intend to keep it. Knowing the difference and working out which is the right option for you can be important if you wish to keep your vessel safe.

    Certificate Of Documentation Guidance During Application Processing Delays

    U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 07/15/2019 03:34 PM EDT

    The National Vessel Documentation Center is experiencing delays in the time necessary to issue a Certificate of Documentation ;due to performance issues associated with its Information Technology System.;The Coast Guard recognizes the need to minimize the effect on the maritime community. The following guidance is provided:

    Vessels Engaged on Domestic Voyages Only : Vessel with an expired COD may continue to operate domestically on the previously issued trade endorsements provided a renewal application has been submitted to the NVDC. Vessel owners should be prepared to present evidence, upon request, to the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection or the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance , that a renewal application was submitted.

    New Construction/Initial Certification : In accordance with the Marine Safety Manual, Vol. II, an initial COI may be completed before the COD is issued provided the NVDC has received the application for documentation. Vessel representatives should be prepared to present evidence that the application was submitted to the NVDC to the OCMI.

    Recreational Vessels : Vessel with an expired COD that actively engage in recreational use shall not be subject to COD related enforcement action, provided the vessel owner can present evidence that the renewal application was submitted to the NVDC.

    Q: What Do I Do With The Registration Certificate Number And Decal

    A: The registration certificate is proof that the boat is registered. It also serves as proof of ownership if the boat is not titled or documented. The registration certificate should be available for inspection on board the motorboat whenever it is in operation.

    The registration number is assigned when you register your boat for the first time. It should be painted or attached to each side of the forward half of the boat. It should read from left to right, be in block letters not less than three inches high, and contrast with the color of the boat’s hull. The number consists of the letters MS followed by no more than four numbers and two capital letters. A two-inch space or hyphen must separate the letters and the numbers. The registration number is issued to the boat owner and not the vessel. Therefore, it can be transferred to different boats for a given owner, but it cannot be transferred to a new owner.

    The registration decal should be placed in line with and three inches to the stern of the registration number on the port side of the boat. The decal is issued with the initial registration and each registration renewal; it indicates the month and year that the registration expires.

    Can My Boat Be Titled And Documented

    Once a boat is Documented with the US Coast Guard, any state titling that may have previously applied to the vessel is invalidated and superseded by Coast Guard Documentation. The registration depends on the requirements of the state where the owner primarily keeps the vessel, and where the taxes have been paid. Some states require vessels to maintain registration along with the Documentation; others do not issue a registration at all if a vessel will be Documented. The most important thing to remember is that Documentation with the US Coast Guard DOES NOT exempt an owner from paying taxes to their respective state.

    Q: What If My Registration Has Expired

    Boating Safety – Coast Guard Requirements and More #boatingsafety

    A: You can renew online at, by mail or visit one of our registration offices.

    When registering in person, bring a copy of your old registration . ;You will be required to complete an application. ;Please bring with you a check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please include on your check the applicable registration number for our reference. Your registration will be brought up to date to reflect a two year boat, snowmobile or Off-Highway Vehicle registration. OHV/Snowmobile registrations for non-residents will reflect a one year registration. ;Please note: ;If your registration has been expired for 48 months or longer, you will not be able to renew it online. Please visit one of our registration offices to process your renewal.

    Acting On A Registration Search

    Performing a U.S. Coast Guard boat registration search is something that you can do online. You can locate a website that offers access to the Coast Guard database and has the search functions available. Once you are at the site, all you need to do is enter the vessels documentation number, if you have it, or the name of the vessel. The name search may bring back several results to you that you need to examine so you can see just which refers to the boat you are considering. If you have the documentation number, your boat will be matched exactly to that number, and you will have just what you need.

    Go Do Your Registration Search!

    You can come to us at the Maritime Documentation Center if you want to do a U.S. Coast Guard boat registration search. We offer the vessel search function on the left side of our web page so you can just click on it, enter a documentation number or ship name, and you will get results instantly. You can also use our website after you make your vessel purchase if you want to document your new boat yourself or perform any number of other services that you would have to send to the Coast Guard. With our help, you can find out all about the boat you want most so you can make it yours.

    Required Carbon Monoxide Sticker

    By law, any new or used motor vessel, other than a Jet Ski type personal watercraft, must display a sticker that warns passengers of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Use the Washington State CO warning sticker or a Department of Licensing approved sticker previously installed in another state or by the manufacturer. If you don’t receive a sticker when you renew or register, contact your local vehicle licensing office or call 902-3812 or 833-6388 .

    For more information or questions related to the warning sticker, call 902-3770, option 5. Download the carbon monoxide informational brochure, Boating and the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide.

    In Summary: Uscgs Required Boat Safety Kit

    The U.S Coast Guards minimum requirements are just that: the minimum requirement. We recommend that you exceed these requirements where possible. Theres nothing wrong with carrying more PFDs than you need, or equipping more visual distress signals than the rule book says.

    Dont forget, these Coast Guard boat requirements are in place to keep you safe. Besides, if you dont follow the rules and end up having an accident, your insurance company wont pay you a dime if you didnt take the necessary precautions.

    For peace-of-mind, we recommend that you contact your neared branch of the U.S. Coast Guard or U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for a voluntary Vessel Safety Check.

    The Requirements To Get Coast Guard Boat Registration

    U.S. Coast Guard releases 2013 Recreational Boating ...

    Documentation from the Coast Guard is a legal requirement for all commercial vessels, but not for recreational vessels. You do get the choice of registering with the Coast Guard or, instead, registering with your state. However, there are some circumstances where documentation from the Coast Guard may be a necessity for you. Depending on how you are paying for or financing your vessel, your financial institution may insist that you get Coast Guard documentation as a form of protection for them for financial safeguards.

    Benefits Of Following Uscg Documentation Standards

    There are a couple of potential financial benefits to federally documenting your boat, the first being tax savings. Some states designate a preferred tax status for documented vessels; check with your local regulations to see if your state allows this. Another important consideration involves bank loans. If you will be financing a documented vessel, it will allow the bank to record a First Preferred Ships Mortgage and they will supply the National Vessel Documentation Center with proof showing a Satisfaction of Mortgage. This may make it easier to secure the loan and provide important documentation on the matter.

    One other practical benefit of USCG documentation is the facilitation of ocean travel to foreign territories. If you plan to visit other locations outside the U.S. states and territories with your vessel, having the federal documentation can assist your clearance with foreign governments. Having federal paperwork with you can go a long way in proving the status of your boat and compliance with U.S. regulations. In many cases, individual states allow boats from other states to visit their waters for a certain period without any additional registration. It is important to consult the local regulations for any planned location of travel to ensure that you are in compliance, both international and domestic.

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