boat registration, british virgin islands yacht registration, marine documentation, USA
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19 May, 2024

MOST OF OUR CLIENTS require a closing ASAP and wish to have their vessel documented with the USCG. A vessel registered with the USCG must be owned primarily by US Citizens.

ONE OF THE MOST OFTEN ASKED QUESTIONS IS…what’s the difference between a Federally Documented Vessel and a State Titled Vessel? A Federal Document issued by the United States Coast Guard is an instrument recognized worldwide allowing for smoother customs clearance into foreign ports. And while all “States of Principal Use” do require some form of registration, not all states issue a title, and not all states even require a registration if the vessel is documented.

IN GENERAL, we will advise a client to keep the vessel federally documented, if they are purchasing one that is already documented. We will also advise a client to keep federal documentation on a vessel if the owner is planning on travel to foreign waters. Why? Because a Federal Certificate of Documentation is recognized worldwide, whereas, the different state titles and registrations are not so easily recognized and may hinder your entry into foreign ports. Recognition of 50 different state registrations is just asking too much of foreign port agents. You will clear in and out of foreign ports much more smoothly with a Federal Document on board.

COMMERCIAL VESSELS over 5 Net Tons are required by the USCG to be Federally Documented.
ALSO, lenders require vessels to be documented with the USCG in order to better protect their interest in your yacht. After all, your boat is a “movable asset” and the lender needs the utmost in protection. The lender has legal recourse in all US Territories on a Federally Documented vessel.

OFTEN purchasers and brokers forget that we are primarily “closing agents and specialists in re-registry” of the boat for the new Owner(s). Through the years our expertise has led brokers to rely on us for information on sales and use taxes. We are often asked about the lawful avoidance of taxes, offshore closings, etc. We will be more than happy to discuss these issues with you.

A PRECAUTIONARY REMINDER to you… Documentation Agents are not Lawyers, nor are we Accountants, and we cannot give you legal or tax advice. We can impart our extensive knowledge to you and we can refer you to the right parties with the expertise. We work hand in hand with Maritime Lawyers and we can also “assist” you with tax issues.

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