The United States Coast Guard (USCG) provides certifications for all boats, from the smallest recreational craft to the largest cargo ships. It is imperative for any boat owner to obtain a USCG certificate. What you may and cannot do aboard a vessel depends on its purpose and the ship you are piloting. A certificate of inspection is required for any boat above 26 feet in length that will be used for commercial purposes.
Renting a boat to go out on the lake with a bunch of pals is an example of a for-profit venture. You may only need a boat if you only intend to use it for recreational activities like fishing or water sports with pals. The cases above are the most typical ones in which a USCG certificate would be required, but you should always verify before setting sail. There are, however, limited circumstances in which having this paper on hand is a huge advantage.
When Renting a Boat
While a Certificate of Documentation from the U.S. Coast Guard may not be the first thing you think to bring along while taking your boat out for the day or cruising about town, there are times when possessing one might come in handy. There are private docks that will only let you dock with a U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation. This is so because using public waterways is subject to state restrictions, and a USCG Certificate of Documentation proves that you’ve followed all the requirements.
As a bonus, this implies that the U.S. Coast Guard has examined your boat and found that it is up to par. It would be unpleasant and annoying if someone on the pier refused you and your guest’s entry because they needed to know whether or not your sailboat had the necessary documents. A USCG Certificate of Documentation may also be helpful if you intend to take your watercraft out on someone else’s vessel; this document verifies that the owner of the boat you’re using has the necessary permits from the relevant authorities in their home state.
You need a USCG Certificate When Crossing State Lines
To cross state boundaries on a boat, you need a Certificate of Documentation issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). While this may seem like a disadvantage, mainly if you live in a coastal state and are hoping to take your new boat out for sea trials in another, there are certain benefits to having this paperwork in place. No reliance on any governmental body for boat registration is the most evident advantage. Since the U.S. Coast Guard is a non-departmental government agency, its approvals are valid nationwide.
Even if you move within the same state, transferring a driver’s license or registering a vehicle may need additional paperwork or expenses if the watercraft is titled differently. When you have a USCG Certificate of Documentation, you may avoid these problems. Importantly, this paper allows you additional leeway in handling the ownership and registration of your yacht. Suppose you solely intend to use your boat in interior waterways and have no intentions to take it on any coastal voyages. In that case, you may not be required to register it (boaters should check with their local agencies for specific rules).
When Picking Up Guests
The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for issuing Certificates of Documentation (USCG). This certificate is given to American ship owners using boats for commercial purposes. The Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) is a credential issued to applicants for a Certificate of Documentation that demonstrates the competence of their operators and identifies commercial boats. Making sure there are adequate life jackets, and life rafts on board is an absolute must before picking up more passengers for personal use.
If there are six people or more on board, the U.S. Coast Guard advises that every passenger wear a life vest. If you need to pick up extra passengers at sea—for example, to rescue someone in danger on the water—you must ensure that your emergency radio beacon is in good working order and is appropriately registered with the USCG.
The Coast Guard requires it if you operate a vessel under their jurisdiction. Therefore you can’t go about your business without it. While a USCG certificate isn’t always needed, there are times when possessing one is quite helpful. If you work at a marina and want to rent out your boat to friends or family, you may want to have one on hand simply, so they feel more comfortable using it and have more faith in you as a safe and responsible person. Even if they don’t specifically need certification documentation, showing them that your boat has been inspected and cleared by a third party might put their minds at ease, mainly if they’ve never been on your boat before.
As summer approaches and you start planning your next trip to the beach, you might have questions about what documentation is required when operating a motor vessel. Contact the Maritime Documentation Center through the online chat for more information about maritime documentation requirements and other related topics.