What is Coast Guard Docomentation?
When you document your boat with the U.S. Coast Guard, you are registering your vessel with a national agency. The Coast Guard issues an official number which is exclusive to your vessel.
- Think of it as a finger print. This number is secured to your vessel. Should your boat have the unthinkable happen, an accident or theft, this number makes it much easier to identify your boat.
- Because the Coast Guard is a federal agency, recovery of your vessel and the prosecution of anyone damaging your vessel in any way may become easier.
- It provides you with proof of citizenship when entering foreign waters.
Types of Documentation
If you are like many people, you are purchasing your boat for recreational purposes. A Saturday cruise, a Sunday brunch at your favorite restaurant along a waterway, or a night of fishing with your friends may be just what you need to wash away the stresses of the week. But there are also endorsements for chartering your vessel, coastwise trade or the fishing industry. Any of these endorsements allow you to use your vessel for recreational purposes but a recreation endorsement does not allow you to engage in any of the other.
What are the Requirements to Document my Boat?
You must be a U.S. Citizen. Only a U.S. Citizen can document a boat with the Coast Guard and you must provide proof of your citizenship. Boats less than 5 net tons are generally registered with the state it is going to be operated in. Most boats over 5 net tons may be documented.
Why should I Document my Boat?
Besides the reasons noted above, if you are planning on financing your vessel, most lending institutions require that the vessel be Coast Guard documented.