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Old 03-15-2013
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Re: USCG Certificate of Documentation

If you're planning on leaving the country on your boat you will need documentation. Most other countries don't recognize or care about state registration, they will want to see federal documentation of the boat. Think of it as kind of like a real estate deed, it's more of a verification of ownership.

If the boat is documented, then you don't have to put state registration numbers on the hull (actually you are not supposed to put state reg. numbers on the hull of a documented vessel). You still have to register the boat and display the sticker (in most states, Florida included), but you don't have to worry about displaying numbers.

Also, most banks require federal documentation before they will write a mortgage on the boat. You would have already dealt with this if you were getting a loan for the boat though.

If you are not planning on leaving the country then it's not really necessary, but many people still document their boats, especially if they've been documented before. It also helps trace ownership, as long as every owner documents.
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