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Hey friends - question I'm hoping someone out there might be able to give me some insight on......I'm wanting to get get my boat USCG documented, but after looking over the instructions and forms on the National Vessel Documentation Center Website I have a few questions that I thought maybe someone here that has gone through this process before could answer.....and possibly save me a few hours on hold on the phone on Monday :) For background, my boat's never been documented, and I've owned her for a little over 2 years now. Paid cash when I bought her, so no liens.

Looking at the instructions on the website, for an initial documentation, it looks like you're supposed to submit forms CG-1258 Application, CG-1261 Builder's Certificate, CG-5397 Application for Simplified Measurement, and CG-1340 Bill of Sale. Alternatively, there's a Simplified Method for establishing ownership that may alleviate the need for the 1261 and 1340.

I'd like to go with the Simplified Method, but my question is whether or not I need to provide a copy of the bill of sale that I have from 12 years ago that isn't an official CG-1340 Bill of Sale document. Reading the instructions it says to provide a copy of the title or registration along with the bill of sale from the registered owner to the applicant. Since in this case I am both of those parties it sounds like this was intended for a circumstance where the vessel was being documented as part of a sale to a new owner, and not in a case like mine, where I've just procrastinated getting the documentation process going.

So - has anyone else run into this, or have any thoughts? Should I just wait and make the call Monday and report back :)
 

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I’d ask the NVDC. It takes long enough to get it through, when correct, you’d be very frustrated to get your rejected paperwork back. I think they’re asking for the original bill of sale, to prove transfer of ownership. On the other hand, do you currently have a State title? I thought some sort of proof of surrender was necessary there too. Think of it this way, the USCG Doc is proof of ownership, so they’re aren’t going to issue it, until they’re satisfied you own it and have identified any liens (which must be listed).

Another option is to use a title company. They have it down cold. Not terribly expensive, if you don’t need escrow services. Do not use these companies for renewals. That’s too easy to do online, once you get your docs.
 

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My boat was documented right after purchase new. I had some service do it. Don't recall the cost, but it would likely be a lot more these days. If the cost is not more than a few hundred bucks use a service as Minnie suggested.

try this:

 

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Bought a one off that was used for a OSTAR from a Brit. It was in Connecticut on the hard for years. At time of purchase didn’t have a legal sanitation device nor much of an interior. Put that in myself and wanted to document it to use as a cruiser. Collected bill of sale, pictures of improvements, copy of state registration, copy of certification of msd from town, from race records principle dimensions and purchase survey. Went to regional CG office (Boston) in person and asked how to proceed. They reviewed same and things were forwarded to national documentation center. This was pre internet so stuff faxed. Went back and forth with them for awhile over the phone but did eventually get documented.
subsequently I’ve used a local documentation service here in Plymouth. They hit you up for 100 bucks or so but worth every penny for something out of ordinary or an international purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, guys. I’ll give the NVDC folks a call tomorrow and see what they say. Hopefully if they do want to see a bill of sale the informal and non-notarized one I have will suffice. I remember speaking to a BoatUS guy at the Miami boat show a few years ago about the assistance they can give, and if I recall correctly they were charging $150 to babysit the process through at the time.
 

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My understanding is that you must have a bill of sale from every past owner or at least an indication that there are no outstanding leins against the boat, if you are trying to document a boat that has never been documented.
 
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