Have you been wondering whether or not you have to get your vessel documented? Does it seem confusing to you as to if this is necessary or if it isn’t? Vessel documentation has been around for a long time, to say the least. Indeed, it goes back to one of the first acts of the very first United States Congress. There are vessels that need to be documented, that require a USCG official number, and then there are those that are ineligible. Beyond that, there are vessels that don’t have to be documented, yet, a vessel owner could choose to do it. We explain below.
Who Can Get Documented
A vessel can be documented if it’s owned entirely by a citizen of the United States and that measures five net tons can be documented. To be specific about the language, we said “measures” not “weighs.” That’s because net tonnage is a measurement of volume and not of weight. So, it’s not about being on a “scale,” exactly. If you have some doubt as to whether or not your boat qualifies, there’s an easy “eye” test.” See if your vessel is longer than 25 feet. If so, then it almost assuredly can be documented.
Who Needs to Get Documented
That said, there are some vessels that must be documented. Those are vessels that are engaged in fishing activities on the navigable waters of the United States or the “Exclusive Economic Zone” (more or less two hundred miles off of the coasts of America). The same goes for vessels that are carrying passengers or cargo in those same bodies of water. Now, there are some exceptions to all of the rules mentioned here. If you believe that you “fall into the cracks,” so to speak, you can reach out to our staff and we’ll be happy to help.
Why You Might Get Your Vessel Documented Even if You Aren’t Using it Commercially
Simply put, financing. Most banks and lenders won’t give you the money for a boat mortgage unless your vessel is documented. Perhaps you can find someone who will, but that would probably be a long, time-intensive process in its own right. Even if you are just planning on using your vessel having fun with friends and family, documentation can be the right path as it can make it easier to fit your vessel into your life.
Hang Onto Your USCG Official Number With Us
Getting documentation, of course, for many vessel owners, isn’t the end. Rather, it’s the beginning. Vessel documentation only lasts for one year. Then, you have to get it renewed. Moreover, there are so many other forms that you might need throughout the course of your vessel ownership. You can find all of these forms right at our site. Moreover, we have a staff of trained professionals who can answer your every question, or even just walk you through an entire form, step by step. For more, call us at (800) 535-8570 or fill out our contact form.