Got this today;
April 19, 2013
Dear BoatU.S. Member,
Do you own a federally documented vessel? The U.S. Coast Guard is proposing to charge an annual fee of $26.00 for the renewal of certificates of documentation for recreational boats. While the Coast Guard charges to issue new certificates of documentation for boats, currently there is no charge for annual renewal.
This fee will only apply if your boat is federally documented and would be in addition to any state registration fees. For current information on federal vessel documentation, visit the United States Coast Guard Documentation Center.
We encourage you to share your thoughts with the Coast Guard on this proposal before May 3rd, 2013, by going to Regulations.gov
Please forward this email to fellow boaters with documented vessels. If you have any additional questions, please contact BoatU.S. Government Affairs at GovtAffairs@BoatUS.com
Thank you for being a BoatU.S. member!
For those of us actually sailing our vessels beyond the contiguous waters of the United States, the document renewal system, as it stands, is cumbersome and extremely inefficient. We spend a portion of the year without current documentation as it can take some time to receive the renewal form, send it in and then more time (perhaps months) for the document to catch up to the boat if it is island hopping in the Caribbean, for instance.
A US documented vessel does not have the advantages in the US that it did a half century ago, and the system today does not in any way aid the national security. However, it is the only internationally recognized registration from the United States, and as such, it is necessary and important to anyone venturing beyond our shores.
It would make a great deal more sense for a document to expire every five (5) years, lessening the bureaucracy and hassle for all parties involved. In that case, perhaps a modest fee would be in order, but I strongly object to any fee on the present, inefficient and outdated system. It would be so simple to do the whole thing online, ending with a renewed document which could be downloaded and printed out.
I understand that the government is in dire need of revenue, but wouldn't it be better to charge the vessel owning citizens for a document produced by a system that is efficient, simple and economical, rather than the present cumbersome and extremely inefficient one.