USCG Documentation

Documentation is a means by which a vessel becomes federally registered. This procedure occurs under the authority of the Department of Transportation through the United States Coast Guard. A vessel may be documented only in the name(s) of the legal title holder. Completed documentation primarily establishes a vessel’s chain of ownership. This information must be presented to the United States Coast Guard in a particular manner prescribed by law.

A documented vessel is awarded an official number which is permanently marked into the interior of the vessel. Name and proper hailing port must also be marked on the exterior.

Two Basic Qualifications

Documentation is available only to those owners who are citizens of the United States. The vessel in question must be at least 5 net tons as determined by the Coast Guard formula based on length, breadth and depth. This tonnage requirement does not refer to displacement but rather to volume capacity. Vessels of 25 feet or more in length generally qualify for documentation.

Why Document?

Facilities Financing

If you finance the purchase of your boat, the financial institution may require that the boat be federally documented. Documentation is generally a requirement of financing a boat because it is only on a U.S. documented vessel that a lender can adequately protect its security interest in a vessel. A mortgage is recorded against the vessel, once it is documented. Federal documentation makes a lender more secure in financing your boat.

Resale of Your Boat

Your small investment will be rewarded at the time you put your boat on the market. Since the Coast Guard keeps a vessel’s history on record, including mortgage information, you can offer the prospective purchaser the assurance of being able to confirm your ownership.

Better Than State Regulation

Although a documented vessel may still have to comply with state boating safety and tax laws, the vessel is exempt from the state titling process once it is documented in your name with the U.S. Coast Guard. Until the vessel is documented in your name, state registration may still be required.                                                                                                                                                                               

Internationally Recognized Ship’s Papers

You can cruise into foreign waters with the security of being a U.S. documented vessel. The vessel’s document will assist with Customs clearance upon entrance into foreign parts.                                                                                       

New England Marine Documentation

Our fee schedule is cost-effective and well worth the investment. All paperwork including forms, Coast Guard user and recording fees are included in our rates. Our relationship with the major lending institutions in the boating industry means that we can record a preferred ship’s mortgage if your loan agreement requires it. Please call for a more detailed discussion since every vessel is unique.