What Is an Abstract of Title for a Commercial Fishing Vessel?

Vessel Abstract of Title

Starting your own commercial fishing business is not easy. You will need to be prepared for long days–sometimes weeks–at sea, away from your family, and in sometimes treacherous conditions. With this in mind, you will want to make sure that all of your gear and equipment are up to the task. Perhaps most importantly, you are going to want to purchase a boat that can handle the rigors of commercial fishing. If you have any sort of history with boating, you know that vessels can be prohibitively expensive, and in many cases, it can make sense to buy a quality, used fishing boat. Should you find yourself going this route, you will want to understand the concept of a vessel abstract of title.

By having a solid grasp of a boat’s ownership history, you can make a more informed purchase–and avoid buying a potential lemon. Fortunately, when a vessel is registered with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), there can be a fairly detailed paper trail to consult. Read on to discover what you need to know about an abstract of title, plus how you can obtain a copy online.

What Can Be Learned From a Vessel Abstract of Title?

By viewing an abstract of the title, you will be able to see a record of all documents submitted to the USCG pertaining to a vessel. This information will include ownership history, as well as when a vessel was built. You can also learn facts about any potential structural damage caused by serious accidents, or if the vessel has any liens against it.

Liens can be especially problematic. A claim of lien is submitted by an individual (typically a mechanic or crew member) who has done work for a vessel that has gone unpaid. This is a formal legal process and can cause a major headache for a boat owner. If you are eyeing a vessel with a lien against it, you will want to ensure that the current owner clears it up ahead of any potential sale. 

Vessel Abstract of Title

How Can You Apply for an Abstract of Title Online?

If a vessel is registered with the United States Coast Guard, you can complete the process of requesting an abstract of title in one of two ways. You can fill out an official “Abstract of Title/Certified COD Request” form with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This document will call for some basic information about you, the requestor, and the vessel. Once completed, you can then mail this form to the appropriate DHS or USCG office.

Of course, there is also a simpler, online solution. At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we have easy-to-fill online forms for all of your USCG commercial fishing vessel documentation needs. Why waste your valuable time printing out PDFs, filling them out by hand, and getting them down to the post office? Instead, work with us, and submit your applications in a quick and efficient manner.

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