Getting Coast Guard boat documentation

Get required Coast Guard boat documentation for your vessel. 

Boat documentation is a national registration administered by the US Coast Guard, which provides globally recognized evidence of ownership.

This status as a “flagged vessel” offers many privileges, such as international recognition of your boat, priority treatment when it comes to getting a boat loan, or operational entitlements for commercial activity. While all commercial boats that meet the size requirements are all required to be documented, it’s optional for recreational boats. And if you decide it’s right for you, the team at can handle the whole process! Let’s go over the basics.

Boat Documentation

What’s Required to Document Your Boat

Boat documentation is processed through an application with the Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center. Supporting documents are often required such as certificates of build, bills of sale, and even previous titles. BoatsForSale experts help source the docs and process your application for you. 

Size Requirements

If your boat is over five tons, is over 25 feet, and is used for commercial activities, it’s required to be officially documented. Boats smaller than this do not qualify, and for boats recreational boats that satisfy these requirements, documentation is only optional.

For Financing

For boats of qualifying size (over five tons and 25 feet), documentation may be required if you use boat financing.