Important Vessel Documentation Requirements to Know
Here are important vessel documentation requirements to know. If you are looking into buying a large boat, yacht or commercial vessel for yourself, whether you are buying the boat new or used, you still want to make sure that you know what all of your requirements are when it comes to documenting the boat properly. There are different state and federal regulations that you need to follow based on the type of boat and the purpose of your boat that you want to know about. You also want to know how to take the proper steps to get all of the documentation that you may need for your boat so you can have it on the water legally and without issues.
State Registration versus Federal Documentation
There is a difference between registering your boat with the state that you reside in and documenting your boat federally with the U.S. Coast Guard. Under the laws currently, your vessel can only display numbers that identify your boat as registered by the state or documented with the federal government; you are not permitted to be both. If you choose to document your boat with the government, there is a separate process you must go through with the Coast Guard Documentation Center so you can get a certificate of documentation. Once you do this, you would need to remove your state registration numbers from your vessel. Depending on the size of your boat and the purpose of your boat, you may be required by law to get federal documentation.
Displaying the Documentation Numbers
Once you have gone through the process of documenting your vessel by using an outside service such as U.S. Vessel Documentation or going through the Documentation Center yourself, you will receive your vessel documentation and the number associated with your vessel. You need to display the number not on the outside hull of the boat as is done with state registration, but inside a clearly visible part of the inside structure of the hull. This is so that the number can be seen if you are inspected or so that others know the documentation of the vessel. Your vessel name and hailing port need to be marked together on the outside of the hull, and there are particular regulations regarding the location based on whether your boat is a recreational vessel or commercial vessel.
Learning the Rules
It is a good idea for you to familiarize yourself with all of the rules regarding documentation so that you know what to expect once you become the owner of your boat. You can find out more about particulars involving the Coast Guard requirements and documentation by visiting the Coast Guard Documentation Center website.