Washington Ship Documentation

Have you been searching for the best way to take care of all of the ship documentation your Washington vessel may need? If so, we may be able to help. Below, you’ll find vessel documentation that’s appropriate for vessels throughout not just the state of Washington but across the United States. 

Vessels that measure five net tons and are completely owned by a citizen of the United States are eligible for documentation. A vessel that is 25 feet in length or more will, almost invariably, measure five net tons in volume. Some exceptions do apply. For more information, contact info@maritimedocumentation.com 


Vessel documentation is valid for one year. Then, to maintain registration, the vessel owner must apply for boat registration renewal. This form can be used for that purpose. It cannot be used for reinstatement, to obtain a copy of the Certificate of Documentation, or for other purposes. 

Vessel owners can renew their documentation for up to five years in advance. 

Change of Address

A vessel owner whose address changes from what is on their Certificate of Documentation must update the vessel address with the USCG. This form can be used for that purpose. 


A document often used for research, an Abstract of Title contains information about a vessel’s chain of ownership, mortgages/liens against a vessel, their status, the vessel’s build, and more. This form can be used for any documented vessel. 


Initial vessel documentation is valid for vessels that have never been documented in Washington or another state. 

Vessels can be documented that measure five net tons and are wholly owned by an American citizen. 

Vessels that must be documented include those that meet the above standard and will be used in fishery or coastwise activities. “Coastwise,” in this context, means essentially to transport merchandise and/or passengers on the navigable waters of the United States or the EEZ/Exclusive Economic Zone. 

This form cannot be used for anything other than applying for first-time vessel documentation. It cannot be used to renew documentation, reinstate it, to obtain a replacement certificate, copy of a certificate, or any other purpose. 


To change a vessel’s ownership, utilize this Coast Guard vessel documentation transfer form. This makes it possible to transfer the vessel’s ownership to a new individual (or even a trust, company, etc.) Additionally, this can be used to remove/add a spouse, change who the managing owner is, or sell the vessel. 


You cannot renew ship documentation if it expired thirty or more days ago. Should that occur and you still want your vessel to be registered, you must go through the reinstatement process. Apply for reinstatement with this form. 

Certified Copy (COD)

Obtain a Certified Copy of your Certificate of Documentation (COD). Rush processing/priority request options are available for this boat documentation form. 

Replacement (COD) 

A Certificate of Documentation that is mutilated or lost is invalid. For a replacement national vessel documentation certificate, complete this form. 

Deletion (COD)

When vessels are lost, no longer serviceable, or have been sold to a foreign citizen, they can be deleted from the Coast Guard registry with a Certificate of Deletion vessel. Complete this form for deletion. 

Change of Vessel Name or Hailing Port 

To change the name of your vessel or its hailing port, complete this form. The port can be any in the United States. 

A vessel’s name cannot exceed 33 characters, nor can it be the same as any obscene words, racial epithets, or words used to solicit assistance at sea, literally or phonetically. Additionally, the name can only consist of Latin letters and Arabic/Roman numerals. 

Change of Endorsement/Trade Indicator 

Change your vessel’s endorsement/trade indicator on your boat documentation through completing this form. The most common endorsements include “Recreation,” “Coastwise,” “Fishery,” and “Registry.” 

Satisfaction/Release of Mortgage/Lien 

After paying off a mortgage/lien, complete this USCG satisfaction of mortgage/lien form. Do not use this form for any other purpose. 

Preferred Ship Mortgage 

Apply for a Preferred Ship Mortgage by completing this form. Note: you can only apply for this mortgage if you already have a Certificate of Documentation or an application on COD at the NVDC. 

Notice of Claim of Lien (NCL) 

Record a claim of lien against a documented vessel with this NCL/Notice of Claim of Lien form. Before applying, it is recommended that you contact private legal counsel, as completing this form does not make any claim whatsoever as to the validity and/or enforceability of an NCL. 

MARAD Small Vessel Waiver

Apply to conduct limited commercial passenger operations in America with a foreign-built vessel by completing this form. If accepted, this form will waive the American-built requirement for commercial passenger vessels. 

Eligibility requirements: the vessel must be wholly owned by a US citizen, it has to be at least three years old, it can only be used for transporting passengers and there can’t be more than 12 passengers on it while the vessel is in operation. 

Foreign Vessel Title Search Request/Transcript of Registry 

Complete this boat form to acquire information about vessels that are in the Bahamas, Canada, the United Kingdom, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Caymans. 

Document Upload

To apply for certain forms of vessel documentation, you must upload documents. You can upload a prior Certificate of Documentation, a boat bill of sale, and other required documents here. 

Documented Vessel Search 

Complete a US Coast Guard vessel documentation search here through names and numbers. 

Washington Ship Documentation in the United States 

Everything listed above is valid for not just the state of Washington but every other state in America. To obtain these forms even faster, rush processing is available for many of them. May you have fair winds and following seas.