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Old 10-06-2007, 03:35 AM   #1
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Buying your trawler - documentation

Buying a trawler usually involves documentation. But what is documentation and how does it work?

A word of note is that many coastal states (Florida in particular) monitor these federal documentations and compare the data with their state data. If you document a boat, are a resident of Florida and try to slip under the radar, you will be found out! They do it for tax purposes.* I'll post another piece on taxes and how to avoid them.

A title does not adequately protect you. The only way you can be fully protected is to have the boat federally documented and a First Preferred Ship's Mortgage recorded against the vessel.

A First Preferred Ship's Mortgage is a mortgage recorded against a vessel federally documented (registered) with the United States Coast Guard. The First Preferred Ship's Mortgage is provided for under the Ship's Mortgage Act of 1920, and takes precedence over all other liens.


Documentation is the federal registration of a boat with the United States Coast Guard. The vessel document is recognized internationally as a certificate of ownership and nationality. Therefore, documented vessels are protected as vessels of The United States.

To be federally documented, the owners of the vessel must be citizens of the United States.
Usually, any boat over 26 feet in length qualifies for documentation. A documented vessel is identified by an 'Official Number' which is bonded to the hull of the vessel. This permanent numbering system acts as a theft deterrent. If stolen, a documented vessel falls under federal jurisdiction for recovery and prosecution, rather than state or local.

A complete vessel file, including the chain of ownership and all recorded liens and mortgages, is maintained at the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC). When you document your new trawler, the complete file is reviewed for any liens or problems with the vessel.* When complete, you are assured of a free and clear title search.*

Also, an advantage for documented vessels is not having to clear Customs when returning to or leaving the United States. Instead, a Report of Departure or Arrival via telephone is made to the Customs office, and a permit is signed by the master.

Some common Q&A

How much does it cost?
Around $700.00

How is my vessel identified?
Documented vessels are identified by a combination of name, hailing port and unique official number.

Can there be more than one boat with the same name?
Yes. Documented vessels are primarily identified by the Official Number which is awarded to a vessel upon initial documentation. Therefore, documented vessels may have identical or similar names.

Who determines the Hailing Port?
The hailing port is not restricted to where the owner lives or where the vessel is moored. Under regulations, the hailing port can be any recognized place listed in the U.S. Department of Commerce Publication 55DC. This includes all listed places in the United States or its territories.

If I wish to change the vessel name or hailing port, do I have to re-document?
Yes. The Certificate of Documentation would have to be re-issued to reflect the new name and hailing port.

Do I have to re-document if I move from one state to anther?
No. Simply notify the National Vessel Documentation Center (N.V.D.C.), identifying vessel by name and official number.

Does my Certificate of Documentation have to be renewed?
The Certificate of Documentation expires one year from the month of issuance. The Coast Guard Port of Documentation will send the owner a renewal form approximately 45 days prior to expiration. Simply note any changes, sign and return the form to the Coast Guard documentation office.

Can my boat's documentation be transferred to a new owner?
The boat's documentation number can be transferred. The number remains with the vessel forever. A new owner must complete the process in it's entirety.

Are their regulations on the marking of the vessel's name and hailng port?
Yes, on recreational vessels the name and hailing port must be affixed to some conspicuous place, usually the stern, with lettering at least 4 inches high

MT

-- Edited by marinetrader at 04:37, 2007-10-06

-- Edited by marinetrader at 04:40, 2007-10-06
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Old 10-06-2007, 04:43 AM   #2
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Buying your trawler - documentation

We have documented our last three boats, however have always had that payment satisfied by the lending institution, and make sure they didn't add it in! It is just one of those things ya got to ask for, or else they just tag it on.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:49 AM   #3
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

"Also, an advantage for documented vessels is not having to clear Customs when returning to or leaving the United States. Instead, a Report of Departure or Arrival via telephone is made to the Customs office, and a permit is signed by the master."

This paragraph is a little misleading. You do still have to go to the customs dock to satisfy immigration requirements OR have the I68 forms each year OR the 5 year immigration forms. And you do have to be accepted into the phone reporting system. If you have been caught doing certain things I understand you are not allowed into the phone system.

If it was simply a matter of being documented and then bypassing customs altogether when returning from another port I think the smuggling problem might increase by an exponential number.

Ken
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:48 AM   #4
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Buying your trawler - documentation

Another advantage of USCG Documentation is it enables the CG to better locate your vessel. While trawlers are not known for being high on the list of preferrred boats for drug smugglers, there have been a few with illegal ballast. In the aftermath of major hurricanes such as Katrina, many boat owners were notified of their vessels location because of the inscripted Official Number in the engine room.
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Old 10-08-2007, 05:40 PM   #5
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Buying your trawler - documentation

USCG Documentation vs state titling is an often misunderstood debate. Here's some simple things to keep in mind:

USCG documentation does not exempt a vessel from locality taxes or registration requirements.

A state can require you to register your vessel with the state and display state registration decal, but you can not display state issue registration numbers, other than those that are displayed solely of the registration decal.

How much does it cost?
Titling companies may well charge more tha $500. The USCG fee is $133.

Can there be more than one boat with the same name?
Yes and No. Documented vessels are primarily identified by the combination of their name and hailing port. Therefore, thje combination of name and hailing port must be unique.

Does my Certificate of Documentation have to be renewed?
The Certificate of Documentation expires one year from the month of issuance. The Coast Guard Port of Documentation will send the owner a renewal form approximately 45 days prior to expiration. Simply note any changes, sign and return the form to the Coast Guard documentation office. The fee is FREE!

Gil
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:40 AM   #6
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

I am currently documented and will likely be changing my moorage within the next year or so to another city, same state, about 20 miles distant (Bellingham to Anacortes, WA).

Do I need to make any notification to the CG?
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:48 AM   #7
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Buying your trawler - documentation

No notification is needed unless you change your contact information: your mailing address, etc.

The vessel can be moored anywhere, the "hailing port" is any city or town you select at the time of initial documentation, and does not have to have any relation to your actual location.

Boat safe,
Dave
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:02 PM   #8
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

Another little known fact on "hailing port".....it can be fictional.* I am thinking about

PROHIBIDO
EL PASO, TX

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Old 10-13-2007, 06:15 PM   #9
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Buying your trawler - documentation

Doug, are you saying El Paso, TX is fictious? Be careful, Texans often seek revenge

Gil
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:23 AM   #10
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation


That's great Doug! The non-spanish speaking folks probably won't get it though. Perfectly legal and I'm laughing my a-- off!
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:26 PM   #11
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Buying your trawler - documentation

Does the hailing port have to be real? Saw one on the Chesapeake Bay last month with the hailing port "Banana Republic".

Donnie
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:59 PM   #12
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

No, you could put...

ENTERPRISE
Earth, Milky Way

By the way, there is an...

EMERGING SEA

in Kemah, TX.* I don't know if it's documented,*you would hope that the powers-to-be would see that the name might cause some problems.* Either way, I think that the person that named the boat is just an idiot.*
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:05 PM   #13
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

It is documented.* I searched it on the USCG site.* I think it is "Emergin' Sea"!!!

Unbelievable!
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:10 AM   #14
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

I saw "May Days" in Blatimore.* That name, too, is not allowed.* I guess the USCG Doc Center just hopes you comply with the naming rules.* BTW, the guy on "May Days" was thinking about changing the name because of all the problems the name caused.

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Old 10-18-2007, 11:41 AM   #15
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Buying your trawler - documentation

From the USCG Documentation Center:

"The name may not be identical, actually or phonetically, to any word or words used to solicit assistance at sea; may not contain or be phonetically identical to obscene, indecent, or profane language, or to racial or ethnic epithets. "

and...

"The "hailing port" must include both a place and a State, Territory, or possession of in the United States. The state may be abbreviated."

I suspect the mentioned boats aren't officially documented vessels.

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Old 10-18-2007, 12:22 PM   #16
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Buying your trawler - documentation

I once considered putting "Tiki Bar, FL" as my hailing port. Would that comply with the above rule? Did anyone say that the place had to be unique...as in only occupying one lat/long on the entire earth?
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Old 10-18-2007, 02:34 PM   #17
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

Here's the law which states the hailing port, which is the port and state, must be legitimate.

Gil

67.119 Hailing port designation.(a) Upon application for any Certificate
of Documentation in accordance
with subpart K of this part, the owner
of a vessel must designate a hailing
port to be marked upon the vessel.

(b) The hailing port must be a place
in the United States included in the
U.S. Department of Commerces FederalInformation Processing Standards
Publication 55DC.

(c) The hailing port must include the
State, territory, or possession in which
it is located.

(d) The Director, National Vessel
Documentation Center has final authority
to settle disputes as to the propriety
of the hailing port designated.
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:42 PM   #18
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

As I recall, there was one trawler driver who wanted the shortest he could find.* He decided on the town of "Y" in the state of Alaska.* Hailing port is YAK.
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Old 10-22-2007, 06:25 AM   #19
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Buying your trawler - documentation

What determines the Hailing Port?

The hailing port is not restricted to where the owner lives or where the vessel is moored. Under new marking regulations, the hailing port can be any recognized place listed in the U.S. Department of Commerce Publication 55DC. This includes all listed places in the United States or its territories.
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:31 PM   #20
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RE: Buying your trawler - documentation

Although I have yet to find the reference in official documentation, the intent of a hailing port is just that--the port the boat hails from.* Interestingly, there is a home port, which would imply it differs from hailing port--so who really knows?* I've certainly seen large documented yachts and trawlers with land locked hailing ports, like Scotsdale, AZ.

Gil
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