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Certificate of Documentation - Example

Vessel Documentation - Definition
Vessel Documentation - Overview
Vessel Documentation - Requirements
NVDC -  Profile



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USCG Certificate of Documentation


BoatWiki - Definitions


Jan 4, 2024 - A USCG certificate of documentation can be defined as evidence of a vessel's enrollment in the national vessel documentation system. It contains information about the vessel,  its owner, manager, and operational entitlements.  A documented vessel is said to be U.S. flagged. A certificate of documentation is optional for recreational vessels and required for commercial operations.


A certificate of documentation offers evidence of ownership and establishes the vessel's qualification as a U.S. flagged vessel. It also entitles a vessel to engage in certain commercial activities.


Documentation certificates are issued subsequent to a formal application and renewed on a periodic basis. The renewal also involves the issuance of a fresh certificate. It must be carried on board at all times during operational periods. A certificate of documentation does not preclude registration in certain states. However, it may not be otherwise titled either by one of the states or a foreign government. Visit the WikiTags for more information about vessel documentation.

Multi-Year Certificate

Renewal periods for recreational vessel certificates of documentation have now been approved for multi-year periods (WikiLinks). Effective on December 14, 2023, an owner will have the opton of renewing for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 year periods. Certificates with commercial endorsements must continue to renewed every year.


There are many reasons for documenting a qualified vessel and the process of doing so can range from quite simple to very complex. Information about such issues can be found throughout the pages of BoatWiki. It may also be worthwhile to consult with a professional documentation specialist about your own specific needs.

Credits and References

Jan 4, 2024  - Page revised.



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