When you are taking your first steps on the boating adventure, you may have noticed that the information available is not particularly clear as water. That is, specifically, one of the reasons that inspired us on creating this blog: to help out new vessel enthusiasts quickly understand the paperwork they needed to gather before being able to set sail. Without further ado, let us show you what we are talking about whenever we say “Initial Vessel Documentation”.
Who can Be USCG-Registered
Even though “documentation” is a very general word and those boats that are registered at a state level are “documented” as well, when we talk about, or read, of a vessel being documented, licensed, or registered, people are normally referring to those doing it at a federal level, and that means with the USCG (United States Coast Guard). So, even if someone has to get his or her documentation for the first time in Florida, to name a state, that is not the “Initial Vessel Documentation”.
If a vessel has never registered with the USCG before (even if it did somewhere else in another state, or with the equivalent governmental department in a different country) the first time they decide to license their boats federally they need to get the Initial vessel documentation. Only vessels that are fully owned by US citizens and measure at least five net tons can choose to do so. If the main purpose of the boat is commercial, in fact, it is mandatory for them to register. As a general rule of thumb, vessels of more than 25 feet are likely to measure five net tons.
Perks of Having the Initial Vessel Documentation
Even if you do not have to, getting your initial vessel documentation will give your vessel some advantages that otherwise you would not have access to. One of them, for instance, is to let your boat be identified by its name and hailing port rather than by the state registration numbers. You can also display this on the boat instead.
Furthermore, if you plan to navigate abroad, having your certificate of documentation (awarded after you file the initial vessel documentation application) will make it easier for you to enter and leave foreign ports, as this type of certificate is also acknowledged as proof of sale and it is recognized worldwide. In addition to that, keep in mind that if you are thinking about asking for a loan, the lender might ask you to be USCG-documented as you will be granted a preferred ship mortgage.
Process your Documents at the Maritime Documentation Center
Whether you are looking for an initial vessel documentation form or any other type of boating paperwork, the Maritime Documentation Center can help you out. We are a third-party agency that processes any type of vessel documentation. We allow you to have access to it completely online, and we prevent delays from happening by having our experienced staff overlooking your applications so no mistakes are made. Contact us today and we will answer all of your questions!