United States Coast Guard Documentation: Commercial Vessels

united states coast guard documentation commercial vessels

Commercial fishing plays a major role in both the U.S. and global economies. As there is much money to be made in this industry, it is well-regulated, which ensures a healthy level of competition and a safe environment for all commercial anglers. While there is a sense of freedom that comes with having your own commercial fishing business–you are not tethered to the 9-to-5 office rat race–there are the occasional pieces of paperwork that will warrant your attention. You will, for example, need the proper commercial fishing permits for your desired species and geography. If you are fishing on federal waters, you may also require United States Coast Guard documentation.

Keeping your vessel’s documentation current is essential to your daily operation. As you will want to have a valid registration on-board at all times, this piece of paper can be equally as crucial as having an ample supply of life jackets. Read on to learn more about documentation from the United States Coast Guard.

united states coast guard documentation commercial vessels

The Role of the United States Coast Guard

When you think about it on a global scale, the United States covers a large geographic area. Our nation is also home to extensive coastlines, the protection of which is paramount to our security. The United States Coast Guard is tasked with this specific job, and for their part they face a number of important responsibilities.

The United States Coast Guard has six major operational missions:

  • Maritime law enforcement
  • Maritime response
  • Maritime prevention
  • Marine transportation system management
  • Maritime security operations
  • Defense operations

Within maritime law enforcement and prevention, monitoring commercial operations on federal waters is key. One way in which the USCG effectively accomplishes this is to issue certificates of documentation to commercial vessels.

What is United States Coast Guard Documentation?

A certificate of documentation from the United States Coast Guard means that your vessel is registered at the federal level. This document will supersede any state titling. While this document is optional for recreational vessels with a net weight of five tons or more, it is mandatory for all commercial vessels of that scale. 

To obtain a certificate of documentation, you must complete a Form CG-1258 (Application for Documentation). This, along with some supplemental items, can be packaged and mailed to the Coast Guard for processing. 

Once registered, you will be free to travel on international waters and operate commercially on U.S. fisheries. Every five years, you will be required to renew your Certificate of Documentation. The Coast Guard will send you a reminder about this matter approximately 45 days before your current registration is set to expire.

Need Commercial Fishing Permits? We Can Help!

Whether you need to obtain documentation from the United States Coast Guard, or you are looking for fishing permits from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we can help. We are a private service that specializes in helping commercial fishermen get the permits they need online. Take a moment to browse the easy-to-fill web forms on our site–no matter what permit you may need, the Commercial Fishing Permits Center has you covered.

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