USCG Documentation You Need for Commercial Fishing

commercial fishing

Though the work can be exhausting, and the hours can be long, commercial fishing is still a dream career for many. If you have ever been out on your boat fishing for your leisure, the thought has probably crossed your mind: what if I were to do this for a living? Commercial and industrial fishing is a big business, with billions in revenue generated annually in the United States alone. Should you find yourself interested in taking up this challenging, if the lucrative line of work, there are a few pieces of preliminary information that you will need to get acquainted with.

One good starting point is learning a bit more about United States Coast Guard (USCG) documentation. This, along with the necessary permits from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and your local, state agencies, will prove compulsory to operate your business legally. With this in mind, understanding what this documentation is, as well as how to get it, is a prudent first step in beginning your commercial or industrial fishing career.

commercial fishing

The Role of the USCG in Commercial Fishing Regulation

If you have spent any meaningful amount of time out on ocean waters, you have probably noticed a Coast Guard vessel or two. Founded in 1915, the USCG is a branch of the United States Armed Forces that is tasked with law enforcement, search and rescue, and maritime security. Managing matters on the seas call for a broad range of responsibilities, one of which includes enforcing commercial fishing regulations.

Within the Coast Guard, there is a department known as the Office of Fishing Vessel Safety. This office creates and enforces policies and laws for the commercial fishing vessel industry. Their aim is to increase safety, reduce fatalities, and protect the environment from excessive pollution practices. 

Meeting the Correct Requirements

When do you need to document your commercial fishing vessel with the United States Coast Guard? That’s a fair question, and if your operation consists of just yourself, or a very small crew, you may be wondering if it is necessary at all. In truth, if you are engaging in commercial activities on the ocean, the Great Lakes, or Washington’s Puget Sound, your vessel will need to be documented with the Coast Guard, as well as complete a mandatory safety exam. In fact, federal law dictates that all commercial vessels maintain USCG documentation on board at all times.

How to Acquire USCG Documentation

So, you have committed to commercial or industrial fishing as a business plan, and now it is time to get your documentation, registrations, and licenses in order. You can obtain your Coast Guard documentation directly from the government. This can be done by visiting the USCG’s website and locating form CG-1258, which is also called an Application for Documentation.

Once you have printed and signed this form, you will also need to gather some supplemental documentation. You will need to provide the Coast Guard with proof of ownership, which can be a state registration or title, a builder’s certificate, or a bill of sale. Lastly, if your boat has never been documented before, you will need a form CG-5397, which is an application for simplified measurement.

Applying for Your Documentation Online

Navigating government websites, identifying the correct forms, printing them out, signing them, and getting down to the post office before it closes the day–who has time for all of that? You are a business owner and your time is valuable. Luckily, exists a private service that can help you apply for your USCG documentation and NOAA permits online.

At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we take a process that once took hours and reduces it down to mere minutes. If you need to apply for initial Coast Guard documentation, renewal or reinstatement, or a new copy to replace a missing document, our convenient, one-stop website can help. We offer simple, easy-to-fill online forms for these and a number of other Coast Guard documentation matters. You can also rest easy knowing that your personal information is in safe hands, as we utilize a secure, SSL-encrypted web portal to transmit your data. 

Unsure of where to start or what permits you need to obtain? Feel free to contact one of our friendly customer service representatives, as we are happy to answer your questions.

We also offer web forms for NOAA commercial fishing permits. Broken down by regional jurisdictions, you can find applications for nearly every type of commercial or industrial fishing permit. If you are accessing fisheries in federal waters, it is a must to have your permits and licenses up to date. Take a few minutes to explore our website –get your Coast Guard documentation and fishing permits in good order so that you can get back out on the water increasing your catch.

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