Friday, October 26, 2012

Coast Guard Documentation


When we purchased Nirvana almost 3 years ago, we chose to register her in Louisiana. We figured that we'd be cruising before the boat registration expired in 2012 and we'd have Nirvana documented with the US Coast Guard before we left the dock.  Well, Nirvana's state registration expires next month.  Those three years have flown by, and as you know ... we're not cruising yet!

Unless the world does indeed end in less than 2 months, we will be cruising before the next 3 years!  So, instead of renewing our Louisiana boat registration (we never did put those ugly stickers on Nirvana) we're going to get Nirvana documented with the Coast Guard.

US Coast Guard documentation is a national form of registration for vessels measuring at least 5 net tons and owned by a US citizen.  According to the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, most boats that are at least 25 feet long will measure 5 net tons or more.

We printed the documentation application, and this weekend we'll mail it along with our $133 application fee.  Although we'll have to renew the documentation every year, there's no renewal fee ... can you believe that?!

I mentioned how we avoided putting those ugly state registration numbers on the outside of Nirvana ... we thought she was too good-looking for those things!  Anyway, the good thing about the USCG documentation is that the numbers are required to be on the inside of the boat.  As long as the numbers are at least three inches high on some clearly visible part of the hull, we're good.

For more information about documentation, just go to the link above and you'll find all sorts of questions/answers, fees, etc.

We're itching to take Nirvana beyond Louisiana waters ... this Spring or bust!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

10 comments:

Sandee said...

Anewatee (our boat) is documented. Good for you. You'll now be able to fly the ensign flag because she's documented. Way cool.

Have a terrific day. :)

Danielle Beaty said...

Hey, those state numbers/stickers are pretty ugly, so I can't blame you there, but our Coastie stickers are beautiful and a badge of honor among those of us serving in that branch of service. ;) Fair winds and following seas to you and Nirvana! <3

Latitude 43 said...

If the world does end in less than 2 months, we should all be sailing on a nice reach when it happens.

Ted said...

The Department of Homeland Security who processes the documentation has had many cutbacks. It took seven weeks to get Serenity documented. Good luck.

Drew Frye said...

As I'm sure you know, most states require documented vessels to be registered also (they want their money). Generally you need a sticker but not numbers.

Of course, if you are moving enough, most states have a time limit of 30 to 90 days. I4 you exceed 90 days in many states (including Maryland where I am), you can be responsible for state excise tax (3-8% of the value). I can be useful to save marina receipts so you can prove you have been moving.

My boat is documented. Very smooth, an new document comes in the mail each year.

Everyone wants there money.

Dani said...

Sundowner was CG registered when we bought her and kept up renewing it. It's really really nice to not have to put those awful stickers on the hull! I hope it goes smoothly for you.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Sandee ... we look forward to flying the flag!

Danielle, I agree ... those Coastie stickers should be worn with pride!

Ted, thanks for the info. Now we'll know what time frame to expect.

Drew, thanks for the heads up. To be honest, I really don't know if Louisiana still requires registration. I'm gonna check! We always appreciate the advice, cause we need it. =)

Laura and Hans said...

Just in case you have a Canadian resident read this, this is what we had to have to sail to the Bahamas (Hans is a Canadian citizen): A copy of the bill of sale and a copy of the boat's registration. Since Hans is not a US citizen he can not register with the US Coast Guard.
Personally, I think it all gets a bit too complicated.

Rob Webb said...

Most non-USA citizens choose a Delaware registration for vessels purchased in the USA. No sales tax required.

Rob Webb
Flying Cloud Yachts

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks Laura and Rob for the info. There are a lot of Canadian cruisers out there!

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