You’ve got a boat that you’ve enjoyed quite a bit, but it’s time to move on from it. Maybe you’re giving this vessel to someone in your family. Perhaps you’ve decided to sell it, get as much as you can for it, and then see what the future brings. No matter why you’re selling the boat or transferring ownership, you’re going to need a form for the documentation. That’s where the “Transfer Exchange of USCG Documentation” comes in. In this blog, we’ll discuss this form, why you need it, and how we can help with it.
Transfer/Exchange of USCG Documentation from Us
There are all different kinds of reasons that people may need to use this form. The examples given above are just a few. Another reason that you may need one of these is if you want to add your spouse after you’ve gotten married. Consequently, these forms are also used after a spouse has passed away or if a couple has separated. These forms definitively show that one party has transferred their vessel to another party in the eyes of the Coast Guard.
All of our forms are listed on the left side of our site. If you hover your cursor over there, you’ll notice that text appears explaining a bit more information about the forms. If you hover over “Transfer/Exchange,” you’ll see one of our larger blocks of text in this regard. In the middle, you’ll find “if there is an outstanding mortgage on the vessel, the mortgage will need to be satisfied or permission from the mortgagee (lender) will need to be obtained in order to complete the vessel’s Certificate of Documentation.” Let’s break that down: if you decide to transfer ownership to someone else and you haven’t paid off the mortgage, you’ll need the lender’s permission to do so. Of course, the other option in this circumstance is to pay off the mortgage itself.
The Size of the Vessel
As with so many other forms of vessel documentation, that’s critical to take into account here. Your vessel must measure at least five net tons to qualify for this. Of course, there are exceptions to this. Certain oil spill responses vessels, for example, don’t have to meet this requirement. The vessel also has to be wholly owned by a US citizen. As many of us don’t have the means to weigh our vessels on a constant basis, a good rule of thumb: if a vessel is longer than 25 feet, more than likely, it weighs more than five net tons. This is the kind of thing that can often pass “the eyeball test,” but if you really want to check, a tape measure, from bow to stern, should do just fine.
Entitled and Not
We’re always trying to look out for our customers. We know that vessel documentation can get quite complicated. So, we often put a disclaimer at the top of each document format so that you don’t run into trouble later on. On these Transfer/Exchange forms, we mention “filing this application does not entitle a vessel to documentation or to any changes desired on a Certificate of Documentation… Only a current Certificate of Documentation is valid for vessel operation.” That means that just because you filled out this form, your vessel is not officially documented. On top of that, any changes you may have made on this form doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be changed on your Certificate of Documentation.
The last sentence says, pretty clearly, that just because you filled out a Transfer/Exchange form, you can’t necessarily validly operate the vessel. Only the actual Certificate of Documentation can do that. When you go through the form, you’ll notice that we’ve tried to make this as easy on you as possible. You either already own the boat, you bought it from someone else, or it’s just been built and you’re the first owner. There’s not really a third option. That being said, further down the form, you can apply for an official number and the first, initial Certificate of Documentation for this vessel. If that’s the case though, you have to give the vessel’s place and year of build, the approximate length, hull material, as well as previous names and numbers if they exist. If you do that, then you can apply.
These are only some of the many forms that we offer. Perhaps this particular form of vessel documentation doesn’t necessarily apply to you. However, the longer you own your boat, the more useful you may find other forms of documentation that we offer. If you have any questions about vessels documentation, we’re always glad to answer them to make your boating experience easier and more carefree. All you have to do is send us a message through our site or give us a call at (800) 535-8570.