There is a lot more to owning a boat than just having it at the marina and taking it out when you want to sail or fish. Yes, regular maintenance is required to help keep your ship safe and seaworthy, but there are also laws and regulations you need to be aware of so you can follow them. Each state in the U.S. may have its own laws regarding what you can and cannot do, but there are also federal statutes and requirements you must heed to. Whether you own a commercial vessel for your business or a private one that you use for recreation and fun, following the U.S. Coast Guard boat requirements that exist can help you avoid potentially hefty fines or even the loss of your vessel.
Commercial Boat Requirements
The Coast Guard has specific legislation that all commercial vessel owners must follow. All commercial boats in the United States must be registered with the Coast Guard. If you are using your boat in any way to make money for yourself or your business, the law dictates that the Coast Guard document your vessel so they can keep track of it. This means you are required to fill out a documentation application and submit it, along with supporting paperwork to the Coast Guard. Upon approval, the Coast Guard will issue a Certificate of Documentation (COD) to you that you must keep on the vessel and a COD number that must be permanently affixed to the boat.
Recreational Boat Requirements
The U.S. Coast Guard boat requirements differ when it comes to recreational vessels. Recreational vessels do not have the documentation required by law; it is generally left up to the boat owner to decide if they want to be part of the federal registry or just register with their state. However, many financial lenders today make federal registration a condition of providing a mortgage for the purchase of a recreational vessel. If this is the case for you, you will need to apply for registration so that you can receive a COD for your boat.
Meeting Your Boat Requirements
If you have a commercial or recreational ship and you need to satisfy the current U.S. Coast Guard boat requirements, you can come to us at the Maritime Documentation Center for assistance. Our company, while unaffiliated with the Coast Guard, works with boat owners to help them transmit documents and facilitate processing with the Coast Guard. We provide the necessary registration forms on our website so you can fill them out online instead of by hand. You can send your application, supporting documents, and payment information to us over our secure servers. We then look the paperwork over for you to detect any omissions or errors before we pass it along to the Coast Guard for you. Our system makes meeting Coast Guard requirements easier for you so that you have fewer things to worry about when it comes to using your boat.