Commercial fishing is a big business and one that has the potential for a big profit. However, you can’t simply decide you want to sell fish and then hit the water. There are regulations and rules that must be followed, which include Coast Guard registration. If you plan to do any kind of commercial fishing, you must adhere to all of the United States Coast Guard guidelines. Obtaining the right permits is a good place to start. Keep reading to find out what you need to know.
Knowing which organizations are part of the registration and documentation process is a good first step in creating your commercial fishing business. Along with the United States Coast Guard, the National Vessel Documentation Center manages all federal documents having to do with commercial fishing. Commercial fishing is an important part of commerce so it’s always important to register your boat so you can be a part of it. Ensuring that you follow the regulations allows you to profit from the job while contributing to the country’s economy.
When Documentation Is Necessary
If you meet certain criteria, it’s required to register your vessel with the United States Coast Guard. The main one is that your boat weighs at least 5 net tons. This is a measure of volume, not weight and you can assume that your boat is at least 26 feet long. You must also be a legal United States citizen and participate in coastwide activities that involve fishing, particularly in the United States water and/or the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This zone extends from 200 nautical miles from the start of the territorial sea. Areas that are included are Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. The EEZ does not include the Great Lakes or the Mid-Atlantic region.
Benefits of Following USCG Regulations
There are a range of good reasons why you should register your fishing vessel and follow the accompanying rules that go with registration. One is that a properly registered boat gets certain tax breaks, which can save you money. It’s also easier to get a loan to finance your boat if you have proof of valid registration. It’s also safer and easier to sail in international waters, as well as keeping you out of trouble if you are stopped or boarded by the Coast Guard.
Which Documents are Required?
It’s vital to have all required documents or you may not be allowed to launch your boat into the water. You’ll need the certificate issued by the United States Coast Guard, as well as the bill of sale, any lien or claim paperwork, mortgage and transfer of interest documents, and any documents related to safety equipment and gear on board the vessel. Some of these papers may need to be notarized and copies should be kept in a safe and dry location somewhere on the boat.
Are you ready to get started on your Coast Guard registration? Let the Commercial Fishing Permits Center help. Contact us today for assistance with the process, as well as for answers to any of your documentation questions.