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post #1 of 27 Old 12-01-2008 Thread Starter
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Coast Guard Documentation?

Is there any benefit to having a Coast Guard documented vessel?

I just bought a 36 foot sailboat and I am planning to head down to South America in one year.

The boat is registered in NY and was documented, but I don't know why I should pay extra for the Coast Guard documentation. Is there any benefit to keeping up the CG documentation over a simple NY state registration?
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post #2 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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Insurance companies like it. There may be some advantage should the boat ever be stolen.

You don't have to buy two sets of Vinyl letters/numbers for the bow.

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post #3 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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When processing in and out of other countries USCG documentation is expected. The Bahamas deals well with state registered boats, but most other countries do not. Transfer the documentation to you and dump the NY registration.
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post #4 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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Yes, especially if travelling to foreign countries, as states are not sovereign nations and as such the state registration of a boat isn't recognized by some many foreign countries, especially as you get further from the USA.

Also, in the long run, USCG documentation is usually cheaper... it is a one-time cost, with free renewals, where state registration is payable annually.

It also has some legal rights and protections when sailing in foreign waters that a state-registered boat won't have.
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Is there any benefit to having a Coast Guard documented vessel?

I just bought a 36 foot sailboat and I am planning to head down to South America in one year.

The boat is registered in NY and was documented, but I don't know why I should pay extra for the Coast Guard documentation. Is there any benefit to keeping up the CG documentation over a simple NY state registration?

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post #5 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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Even if you only planned to sail in the states, CG documentation would be arguably worthwhile. With your planned itinerary, you definitely want CG documentation. Think of it as akin to a passport, vice a driver's license.


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post #6 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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It's fairly simple to get CG Documentation; since the boat was previously documented. Just file a change of ownership with USCG; pay the $100 processing fee and pick a new name. You must be a US Citizen to own a USCG documented vessel. There is no annual fee for documentation; but you probably will get a Property Tax bill from your county instead of the similar DMV fee on your Registration.

Forms are here:

USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Forms Page
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post #7 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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Actually, boat ownership must be majority owned by a US citizen, but a co-owner can be a non-US citizen provided they own only 49% or less of the boat. So, if a married couple buys a boat and one is not a US citizen, they can jointly own the boat, but the US citizen would need to own 51% or more of it.

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It's fairly simple to get CG Documentation; since the boat was previously documented. Just file a change of ownership with USCG; pay the $100 processing fee and pick a new name. You must be a US Citizen to own a USCG documented vessel. There is no annual fee for documentation; but you probably will get a Property Tax bill from your county instead of the similar DMV fee on your Registration.

Forms are here:

USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Forms Page

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post #8 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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Quote:
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Also, in the long run, USCG documentation is usually cheaper... it is a one-time cost, with free renewals, where state registration is payable annually.

I believe in New Jersey, you still must pay the annual registraton fee and display the sticker...even though the vessel is documented. I am not familiar with a one time documentation fee and NEVER any annual state regiatration fees...
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post #9 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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You don't have to buy two sets of Vinyl letters/numbers for the bow.
That's a biggie. Not the cost, but having to wear them on the bow. Those things are UGLY! Hate em. Makes me feel like I have a damn license plate on my boat.
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post #10 of 27 Old 12-01-2008
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This depends on the individual state laws. IIRC, in Massachusetts, a USCG documented boat does not have to pay state registration fees or get the state sticker or numbers.
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I believe in New Jersey, you still must pay the annual registraton fee and display the sticker...even though the vessel is documented. I am not familiar with a one time documentation fee and NEVER any annual state regiatration fees...

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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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