Maritime Search FAQs

Click here to complete a documented vessel search by number here. Specifically, you can conduct a documented vessel search by HIN (“Hull Identification Number”) or Official Number.

This is a search of the United States Coast Guard database. They update it on their own schedule. We do not own the database nor do we control it but we offer access to it.

Note: this is only a search for vessels that have been documented. Undocumented vessels will not appear in this search.

Data retrieved from this search may include the vessel’s HIN, its Official Number, its name, flag, dimensions, service information, tonnage information, service type, and status.

We offer multiple ways to find the owner of a documented vessel. You can conduct a documented vessel search through our site. Your results may include the name of the current owner of the vessel, as well as its HIN (“Hull Identification Number,”) official number, tonnage measurements, service information, service type, status, and other information.

To find the owner of a documented vessel, you may also apply for an Abstract of Title. This form will include not just the owner of the documented vessel but it may also include the vessel’s entire chain of ownership. Additionally, the Abstract of Title will include information about any encumbrances, mortgages, and/or liens against the vessel, as well as their status.

Whether you conduct a search or apply for an Abstract of Title, all of the information for both comes from the USCG itself.

To find a particular documented vessel, you can conduct a search through our site. You can perform a documented vessel search by number here. The search can be done by the Official Number or the HIN (“Hull Identification Number.”)

This search will allow you to find out more information about a documented vessel, such as its current owner, status, service type, service information, tonnage measurements, and more.

Other forms, such as an Abstract of Title or the Foreign Vessel Title Search Request/Transcript of Registry, can provide even more information about a particular documented vessel.

Once you’ve found a buyer to purchase your vessel, you must complete and notarize the back (or second page) of the Certificate of Documentation or do the same to a boat bill of sale. In regards to the latter, make sure to list all of the managing owners.

Utilize the US Coast Guard documentation Transfer/Exchange form to complete the sale.

Remember, in the event that there is an outstanding mortgage against the vessel, it is recommended that the lender (mortgage) file an application for a USCG Satisfaction of Mortgage. If there is an outstanding lien/mortgage against a vessel, then it cannot be transferred or removed from documentation.

The Transfer/Exchange form can also be used in the event that the vessel’s documentation is being transferred to an LLC, corporation, or trust, the managing owner’s name is changing, or if a spouse is being added or removed.

There are multiple ways to prove the ownership of a vessel. If the vessel measures five net tons, you can document a vessel through our site. A Certificate of Documentation can serve as proof of documentation.

Additionally, you can prove ownership of a boat with the title or a boat bill of sale.

A Certificate of Documentation is not necessary for every vessel that measures more than five net tons. It is required for vessels that measure five net tons and are to be used to transfer people and/or merchandise in the navigable waters of the United States or in the EEZ (“Exclusive Economic Zone”).

For the purposes of vessel documentation, you can find the owner of a ship through a vessel documentation search. Through a vessel documentation search by number at our site, you can find the owner of a vessel as well as the vessel’s HIN (“Hull Identification Number,”) Official Number, tonnage measurements, status, service information, and more.

For the complete chain of ownership of a documented vessel, apply for an Abstract of Title through our site. This form can reveal the entire chain of ownership when the vessel was documented as well as if there are any liens/mortgages against the vessel, their status, and more.

For vessels that are not documented with the USCG, we recommend looking into state registration.

Our site provides vessel documentation applications and information. We do not offer the ability to track Coast Guard ships. However, this site seems to offer a way to track USCG ships. For more information about how to interactively download U.S. vessel traffic data across user-defined geographies and time periods, offers “AccessAIS.”