Vessel documentation is just one way that we can help boat owners. Remember: before we got into vessel documentation, we were folks who were just really into boats. You can’t be in the business of vessel documentation without being people who just love being around boats, being in boats, and simply just being a part of the boating life. So, in this blog, we’d like to take a moment to answer some questions about vessels and boating that are related to documentation. If you have any further questions about boating, vessels or similar matters, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Establishing US Vessel Ownership
This is a question we get quite a bit: “so many of your forms mention ‘managing owner.’ How do we establish ownership?” It’s a great question. For example, should the vessel be completely brand new and never documented period, it could be done through submitting what’s called a “Builder’s Certification.” This names the applicant for documentation as the person for whom the vessel was. Or, it can do the same for the person to whom ether vessel was first transferred. By that same token, a transfer on “Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin” or foreign registration indicating the applicant owners the vessel o even a copy of the State Title or Registration could do the job.
Establishing Ownership of a Previously Owned Vessel
If that’s the case, then the applicant has to present bills of sale or some kind of evidence that shows the transfer of the vessel from whoever last registered, titled or documented it. This is a bit of a thornier issue. You may instead want to show to whom the vessel was transferred on the aforementioned Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin or Builder’s Certification. We’ve also had plenty of folks tell us that the vessel was transferred through means other than a bill of sale. If that’s the case, then you should contact one of our document processors. They can walk you through what has to be done.
We get this question all the time: “where should I put the official number on my documented vessel?” This is one of those things that seems like it might not be so important but really, it’s quite important. You have to make it at least three inches high on a part of the interior structural part of the hull that’s clearly visible. This number has to be permanent. You need to make it so that it’s very hard to get off. A good rule of thumb: you should put the number here in such a way that replacing it, removing t or even altering it would be instantly obvious. In fact, you might want to do so to the point where to perform any of those actions would scar or damage that area of the hull. That’s the level of “permanent” that we’re discussing here.
Exterior Vessel Number
If you have a recreational vessel, the name as well as the hailing port has to be marked together on some part of the exterior part of the hull that’s clearly visible. As this is the exterior of the hull, remember, clearly visible takes on a different meaning. You have to mark it so that these numbers are visible even while the boat is out on the water, in the wake. For the hailing port, you have to include a place, a state, territory or possession of the United States. Of course, to make this a little easier on you (and not to take up your entire hull space) you can abbreviate the name of the state. You don’t have to spell out “Pennsylvania” across your hull; “PA” is fine.
You can make these marks any way that you’d like. If there’s a special kind of material, or some unique means of acquiring or making them that you want to use for this name and number, go for it. It’s legal. But, they have to be durable markings. So, you want to have a material that can withstand being on a boat all the time. Additionally, these do have to be at least four inches tall. That way, they can be seen from far away. They have to be in the Latin alphabet or Arabic and Roman numerals. You take care of all of that, and you’re set with your number.
These are just a few of the many questions that our customers sometimes have about issues related to vessel documentation. We’re always glad to talk to people who enjoy being on the water just as much as us. Whether you’re new to boating, or you’ve been out on the water for decades, we’re always happy to hear from you. For more information about vessel documentation or vessels in general, give us a call at (866) 981-8783 or head to our website.