Before you purchase your first vessel, whether it is a commercial one for your new business or personal so that you and your family can go travel or sailing when you want, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the rules and regulations you must follow so you can keep your boat in the water legally. Registering your boat with the state you reside in is part of your responsibility, but you may also want or need to document your vessel with the Coast Guard. All commercial vessels must get certification and documentation, while recreational vessels over five tons have the option of getting documented. If documentation is going to be part of your future, you are going to want to familiarize yourself with the National Vessel Documentation Center, or the NVDC as it is commonly referred to as, so you know what role they play.
Running the Documentation Center
The National Vessel Documentation Center is a branch of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), which in turn is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. The center is responsible for maintaining the records of documentation for commercial and recreational vessels that use the U.S waters each day. They keep the database that lists all these boats, and all your paperwork and applications are filtered through and approved by their office. Whether you are getting documented for the first time, are renewing your certificate, replacing a lost certificate, looking to get an abstract of title, or need paperwork related to your mortgage, you will work with the center.
Working with the Center
The issues that you may run into with the NVDC is that, because they handle such a high volume of paperwork, that it can take a long time to get what you need or you may have difficulty contacting them. The office is in West Virginia, and while they work hard to get things done, it can be tough for you if you have a question to get a response from them via email or over the phone. This can lead you to make mistakes on your applications that can cause delays in getting what you need. Calling the offices can be tough because they are only available from 9 AM to 3 PM EST, and the office is closed on the weekends and on Thursdays.
We Can Help You with the Center
If you want an easier way to help you work with the NVDC, come to us at Maritime Documentation Center for assistance. We are a third-party, private agency that does processing for boat owners and sends paperwork to the center for you. All the applications you may need are available on our website so that you can file electronically and send everything to us. We will then double-check your applications before sending them on to the Documentation Center for you. We make the processes more uncomplicated for you so that you do not have to stress and worry about getting what you need from the Coast Guard.