USCG Vessel Documentation: Everything You Need to Know

USCG documentation

If you’re a boat owner, then you’ve no doubt heard of the USCG vessel documentation process. This is a mandatory process that all vessels must go through in order to legally sail in US waters. Understanding the requirements and processes of USCG vessel documentation can be confusing, so we’re here to help you out! In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about USCG vessel documentation.

What is USCG vessel documentation?

USCG vessel documentation is a process of registering and titling vessels in the United States. It is a requirement for all vessels that are used in US waters and involves submitting an application to the Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC). This process also includes keeping records of vessel ownership and activity, as well as providing proof of compliance with federal laws and regulations. Documentation is necessary for any vessel over 5 net tons and must be renewed every five years.

Why do I need it?

USCG vessel documentation is a requirement for all vessels engaging in commercial activities on U.S. waters. This documentation acts as proof of ownership, registration, and nationality for the vessel and its owner. It also establishes legal obligations for the vessel, such as ensuring proper safety measures are in place and that the vessel is equipped with all the necessary documents. Additionally, it enables the vessel to be identified as an American-flagged vessel, allowing it to enter certain foreign ports and receive other benefits.

How do I get it?

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is responsible for issuing vessel documentation. To obtain documentation, you must fill out a CG-1258 form, submit it to the National Vessel Documentation Center along with other supporting documents, and pay the associated fee. It is important to remember that vessels must be documented in order to engage in commercial activities. After submitting your documents, you will receive a Certificate of Documentation which you should keep on your vessel at all times. Additionally, you must renew your documentation every year and notify the NVDC of any changes to your vessel or contact information.


How much does it cost?

The cost of USCG vessel documentation varies depending on the length of the vessel and the type of document. Generally, the fees range from $26 to $400, depending on the size and type of vessel. To get an exact cost estimate, you can contact the National Vessel Documentation Center or your local Coast Guard Auxiliary office. Additionally, additional fees may be charged for late filings and changes to documents.

What if I sell my vessel?

If you sell your vessel, it is important to update the USCG vessel documentation. You must report the sale to the National Vessel Documentation Center within 30 days of the sale. You will need to provide the name and address of the new owner, as well as any other pertinent information such as vessel name, hull ID number, and tonnage. Once this information is received, the NVDC will update the records and transfer the certificate of documentation to the new owner. The seller should also ensure that all outstanding fees have been paid before completing the sale.

What if I change my address?

If you change your address, you need to report it to the National Vessel Documentation Center within 30 days. To update your address, you will need to fill out Form CG-1258 and submit it via mail or fax. If you do not report your new address, your vessel documentation may be revoked and you may be subject to fines and penalties. Be sure to keep your contact information up to date to ensure your vessel documentation remains in good standing.