As a maritime lawyer, I am frequently asked by private and commercial owners whether they need to register their vessels with the U.S. Coast Guard. In short, it depends.

Vessel documentation is a national form of registration that has existed for many years dating back to the 11th Act of the First Congress. Vessel documentation is a national form of registration available for vessels that measure at least five net tons and are wholly owned by a U.S. citizen or citizens. Vessel documentation provides evidence of nationality for your vessel and is used mainly for international purposes. When you document your boat with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), you receive a Certificate of Documentation (COD) which is issued by the Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC).

International waters


Continue Reading Should I document my vessel with the U.S. Coast Guard?

Recreational boat owners in Florida are required to either register their vessels with the state of Florida or document their vessels with the U.S. Coast Guard. There are many factors to consider when choosing between state registration and U.S. documentation.

Registration

Chapter 328, Florida Statutes, designates that DHSMV is responsible for issuing vessel registrations and titles. Applications for titles and registrations must be filed at a county tax collector or license plate agent office. The certificate of registration must be carried on board the vessel whenever it is in operation and the decal must be displayed near the registration number on the port (left) side of the vessel. You can find more information on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.

Documentation


Continue Reading Maritime Law: What You Need to Know About Registration and Documentation Before Buying a Boat