Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | November 7, 2013

To document or not to document, that is the question…

According to the USCG, documenting your boat is a form of national registration. there are a few types of documentation that can be done, such as fishery, coastwise, recreation, and registry. A boat must also weigh more than 5 tons to be documented. The basic requirements for documentation are to demonstrate ownership of the vessel, U.S. citizenship, and eligibility for the endorsement sought.
The question is, do I need to do it? It depends on where you plan to sail. If you are planning to stay within the US boundaries, then it probably isn’t necessary. But, if you plan to sail outside the US it is a good idea. In many countries it helps streamline the clearing in process. Or if you plan to use your boat as a charter, ferry, or fishing service you must have it documented.
The process is not difficult and all the paperwork is found on the USCG website. It can be printed, filled out, and either faxed or mailed back. The fee schedule can be found here.
Hubby and I decided to do it, and of course when we sent our paperwork in it was during the government shutdown, so it took some extra time. When you do file it they will also ask you for a copy of the title and you fill out an extra paper regarding the build specs of the boat. We sent in all of the required information and they gave us our number over the phone and are mailing the paperwork to us.
Once you have the number it must be placed in a visible area on the interior of the boat and be permanently affixed. This means you cannot be able to easily removed the numbers. We have an area in the head that is visible as long as the door to the head is open that we are going to place our number. You must also have your boat name and correct hailing port on the boat and there are certain specifications and they can be found here.
We have to change our hailing port lettering and are in the process of looking at different websites to do that. Hubby also has to figure out the “permanently affixed” aspect and get it mounted. The time is getting short for our departure and there are so many things left to do…

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