Documentation of a vessel is a national form of registration. It dates back to the 11th Act of the First Congress and is one of the oldest functions of the U.S. Government. There are many reasons to document a pleasure boat or commercial vessel. Federal documentation is often preferred because the ownership of documented vessels is easier to trace through the United States Coast Guard Abstract of Title. This federal system provides a greater assurance of title over state registrations because of the USCG rigid standards in chain-of-title and paperwork procedures. Once initial documentation is complete, a six or seven digit Official Number is issued to the vessel which must be permanently affixed to the structure of the hull and a Certificate of Documentation is issued to the owner(s).
The additional and perhaps most important reason to document a vessel is because most lending institutions will require USCG Documentation to allow them to record a Preferred Ship’s Mortgage. This instrument provides the greatest protection for the lender because it is enforceable throughout the United States and some foreign countries.
Recreational Vessels: If the vessel travels to foreign waters, the Certificate of Documentation facilitates clearance with foreign governments and provides certain protection by the U.S. flag. Also documentation eliminates the need for state registration numbers on the bow.
Commercial Vessels: Most are required to be documented by the USCG to be engaged in trade. Various endorsements relating to the primary trade are made to the Certificate of Documentation such as coastwise, fishery or registry. Commercial vessels also are available for filing of a Preferred Ship’s Mortgage. We offer experience with all classes of documentation.
Any vessel of at least five (5) net tons which engages in the fisheries, Great Lakes trade, or coastwise trade must be documented, except:
Perry Neblett P.A. has considerable experience in vessel documentation. We navigate the very stringent requirements and complex issues of processing to facilitate a successful documentation. After the necessary information is collected and title research is obtained we’ll prepare and process your documents ready for signing and submission to the Coast Guard in no more than a few hours when necessary. Regardless of whether you are around the corner or across the country, our office is staffed and equipped with the latest technology to phone, fax or electronically communicate.
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