OnBoard Magazine - Issue XI - Summer 2019

D uring the purchase of a yacht, the Bluewater team is commonly asked by buyers if they should document with the U.S. Coast Guard. Bluewater’s Finance and Documentation Administrator, Amanda Laughlin is our leading in-house expert on the matter and can be helpful in breaking down some of the scenarios. Amanda explains, “In some situations, the decision is based on the preferences of the buyer, but in other circumstances it is required in order to proceed with the purchase.” Here are some of the top reasons that people decide to document their vessels: 1) You plan to use your boat in international waters If a boat will be used in international waters, the owner should absolutely obtain USCG Documentation for their vessel. Documentation offers further protection from the United States to vessels as they move through international waters. State titling verses USCG Documentation for a vessel is like comparing a driver’s license to a passport. 2) You do not want to display state registration numbers One of the most common reasons documentation is appealing to owners is that they do not need to display the state registration numbers on the vessel if the boat is documented with the US Coast Guard. This reason is purely for aesthetics, but many owners prefer the clean look of their vessel without the block letters displaying registration information. 3) You financed your purchase and it is required by the lender Oftentimes, lenders will require documentation when providing a loan for a boat. Our team of experts at the helm of Bluewater’s In-House Financing and Documentation department can provide an efficient process and fulfill all of your financing and USCG Documentation needs to satisfy lender requirements. We encourage you to contact Amanda or any of Bluewater's highly experienced sales assistants with any further documentation questions you may have. THE IMPORTANCE OF DOCUMENTING YOUR VESSEL R GISTRATION NATION DOCUMENTATION FAQs What is documentation? Documentation is a form of registration through the US Coast Guard.This is a title for the vessel on the national (federal) level, as opposed to state titling. The Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center grants Certificates of Documentation to eligible vessels. When is documentation required for a vessel? USCG Documentation is an option for eligible vessels and owners. However, there are certain circumstances when documentation may be a requirement. Most often, if an owner is financing a portion of their purchase of a vessel, the bank will require USCG Documentation as a way to secure their lien at the federal level. What boats are eligible to be documented? Vessels must weigh at least five net tons and be owned by US citizens in order to apply for documentation. This generally equates to vessels with an LOA greater than 35 feet, but it actually depends on the tonnage of the vessel – not length. When can a vessel apply for documentation? An owner of an eligible vessel can apply for documentation at any time during their ownership of the vessel. While most individuals choose to document their boat right after they purchase, an owner can apply for and receive documentation for the vessel at any time during their ownership. Can my boat be titled with the state and documented federally? Once a boat is documented with the US Coast Guard, any state titling that may have previously applied to the vessel is invalidated and superseded by Coast Guard Documentation. The registration depends on the requirements of the state where the owner primarily keeps the vessel, and where the taxes have been paid. Some states require vessels to maintain registration along with the USCG Documentation; others do not issue a registration at all if a vessel will be documented. The most important thing to remember is that documentation with the US Coast Guard does not exempt an owner from paying taxes to their respective state. 39 SUMMER 2019