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Benefits of Documenting a Vessel with the Coast Guard?

Documenting your vessel with the Coast Guard offers several advantages, especially for larger boats and those intended for specific purposes. Here are some key benefits:

Clear Ownership & Title:

  • Strong Proof of Ownership: Creates a definitive chain of ownership, providing legal protection in case of disputes or theft.
  • Lien Perfection: Enables recording of liens and mortgages for transparency and easier financing.
  • National Record: The National Vessel Documentation Center maintains a central record for easy verification.

International Recognition & Travel:

  • Smoother Foreign Port Clearances: Recognized proof of ownership and vessel origin in foreign countries, simplifying paperwork and entry procedures.
  • Flying the US flag: Demonstrates US nationality, potentially offering protection and assistance from US authorities abroad.

Other Advantages:

  • Easier Financing: Documentation is often required for larger loans and preferred mortgages.
  • Enhanced Resale Value: This can be seen as more attractive to potential buyers due to clear title and national recognition.
  • Potential Tax Benefits: Documentation may offer tax advantages depending on usage and location.

However, it’s important to remember that:

  • Not all Vessels Qualify: Only vessels exceeding five net tons can be documented.
  • Higher Initial Costs: Documentation involves application fees and ongoing renewals compared to state registration.
  • Additional Regulations: May require adhering to stricter safety and documentation standards.

Weighing the Pros & Cons:

Consider your vessel size, intended usage (international travel, commercial activity), and financing needs before deciding. If these benefits align with your plans, Coast Guard documentation might be a valuable investment.

What does it cost?

As of June 2023, an initial COD costs $133. A full schedule of fees and services is listed on the NATIONAL VESSEL
(NVDC) website and click “Fee Schedule”.

Additional Resources:

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