United States Coast Guard Documentation for Commercial Vessels

United States Coast Guard documentation

Commercial fishing, as a career, can take you to some interesting places. If a nomadic life at sea carries a certain allure to you, you might find that this line of work can turn your favorite pastime into a lucrative profession. Depending on what your primary or desired catch is, you can find yourself and your crew traversing waters both inland and out on the ocean, often crossing into federal jurisdiction. As different waters and territories carry different regulations, staying on top of your licenses and permits is a must. If you are engaging in any commercial activity on federal waters, you are also going to want to have valid United States Coast Guard documentation.

As a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is tasked with protecting the waters of the United States shores. As a part of this set of important responsibilities, the USCG keeps tabs on who is fishing in our federal waters. As you read on, you will learn that USCG documentation is not only necessary, but it can also come with certain benefits for vessel owners.

What is United States Coast Guard Documentation?

When you register your boat with the United States Coast Guard, you receive what is called a Certificate of Documentation (COD). This bit of paperwork is used to establish the nationality of a vessel, as well as its own. In order to obtain your COD, you will need to complete a Form CG-1258 (Application for Documentation), as well as a Form CG-1340 (Bill of Sale) or Form CG-1261 (Builders Certificate). If your vessel has never been documented before, you will also need to provide a Form CG-5397 (Application for Simplified Measurement).

These forms will prompt you for some basic information about your vessel as well as yourself. Once completed, you can package your application and submit it to the USCG for processing. Upon issuance, your COD will need to be renewed every five years.

What Are the Benefits of Having a USCG COD?

Once a COD has been issued, you can enjoy certain benefits. For one, there is an aesthetic advantage involved–instead of having numbers painted on your vessel’s exterior, you will only need to display your boat’s name and hailing port. Secondly, a COD can make international travel easier, as it allows for a smoother passage into foreign ports.

Also, if you are planning to finance a vessel, having a USCG COD can aid in obtaining a marine mortgage. Let’s face it, boats are expensive, and it is fairly common to seek a loan in order to finalize a purchase. In this sense, having documentation is a sound financial decision.

United States Coast Guard documentation

Get Your COD or Commercial Fishing Permits Online!

At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we can help you get your USCG COD online via our simplified web forms. We can also assist with both state and federal commercial fishing permit applications. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact one of our experienced customer service representatives today.

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