Coast Guard Documentation is a national form of owner registration and lien perfection. Qualification of a vessel depends on the net tons of its useful capacity – it must measure at least 5 net tons. Generally, boats over 27’ qualify and Coast Guard Documentation is often a requirement in a loan approval. Benefits of Coast Guard documentation include:
- Ease of travel: the ability to cruise international waters with ease due to foreign ports recognizing a Coast Guard document as proof of ownership and verification of the boat’s origin. Presenting a USCG document vs. state title is comparable to presenting a passport vs. driver’s license.
- Clear title assurance: strict requirements are in place by the US Coast Guard to ensure every vessel registered with them has a clear history of ownership and prior filed liens. All bills of sale, mortgages, filed claims of lien, and satisfactions related to a vessel are kept by the National Vessel Documentation Center and can be viewed via an abstract of title.
- Simple vessel marking: every boat documented with the Coast Guard is given an “official number” which is an identifying number that remains the same throughout the life of the boat. The vessel’s owner is required to place the number on the interior of the hull, which is typically preferred compared to marking the exterior of the boat with blocky state registration numbers. On a documented boat you will need to mark the vessel’s name and hailing port on the outside.