What is a Hailing Port and Why a Commercial Fishing Boat Requires One

Hailing Port

Just like owning a car requires a safe place to park it when you aren’t driving, the same goes for your commercial fishing boat. You will need a place to store and/or dock it when you aren’t out on the water. However, the hailing port may or may not be the physical location where you keep your vessel. Sound confusing? It doesn’t have to be. Use this handy guide to find all the answers to the question of, “What is a hailing port,” and why does it matter for commercial fishing boats?

What is a Hailing Port?

The official definition of a hailing port is as follows. “The name of the port from which a vessel hails, required by law to be painted on the stern of all documented vessels in the United States; the port in which the managing owner of the vessel lives, or which is nearest to his place of residence; the home port of a vessel” (National Documentation Portal). In other words, it’s the location from which your commercial fishing boat is registered and stored. This only applies to boats that are registered with the United States Coast Guard, though there are very few commercial fishing boats that are not required to be registered with the USCG.

Selecting a Hailing Port

Your hailing port must be in the United States and included in the United States Department of Commerce’s Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 55DC. When you choose a hailing port, it must include the state, territory or possession, where it is located. Most commercial fishermen choose a hailing port that is close to their residence. However, the hailing port doesn’t have to be where the boat is physically located, or where it is registered. You can choose any qualifying hailing port that you want. However, for most people, it’s easiest to choose a hailing port close to where you live. 

Hailing Port

Declaring Your Hailing Port

The location of your hailing port will appear on most official documentation. However, as mentioned above, it must also be displayed on the vessel itself. The US Coast Guard has guidelines regarding the proper placement of the visible hailing port on your commercial fishing boat. The following rules apply:

  • The letters must be made from water-safe and durable materials so they stay in place
  • Your hailing port must only contain Latin or Arabic letters and Roman numerals
  • The markings must be legible
  • Letters and numbers must be at least 4 inches in height
  • The name of your hailing port must be displayed on a visible and exterior part of your commercial fishing boat’s stern

If you ever need to change your hailing port, a hailing port form is required to keep your information up to date in the USCG database. It’s important to file this form as soon as possible after changing your hailing port. You will also need to change the hailing port on your vessel. 

There you have it. The answers you need to the question, “What is a hailing port?” Need more assistance with the process. Do you have other questions? Contact the Commercial Fishing Permits Center today for the help you need. 

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