View Full Version : Coast Guard Registration

07-17-2014, 02:54 PM
How many of you have your boat registered with the CG instead of the state? There was no advantage for me when my boat was in TN, but there is an advantage in GA/SC.

07-17-2014, 07:43 PM
DitchRider is documented. Down here large boats seem easier to sell if they're documented.

07-22-2014, 05:45 AM
our state registration is 78$ for 3 years and it keeps the dnr off your boat asking why it has no registration numbers displayed.ours was documented when we bought it and we registered it with the state.

07-22-2014, 07:16 AM
When we bought ours in TN, our broker told us that TN doesn't require registration if it's a CG documented vessel - he was wrong. We had to go back and redo some of our paperwork and register it through the state of TN after we had gone through the CG process. In the end, I only post my TN registration on the boat b/c it keeps the TWRA off my back.

07-22-2014, 09:28 AM
There is a mistaken impression that taxes can be avoided on Documented vessels. NOT TRUE! Unless you have a BIG boat it's not worth the effort.

However a documented boat is sometimes easier to sell due to the fact that liens are harder to hide on a documented vessel. Makes financing easier with some banks.

I documented 2 of my boats, it's a real PITA.

07-22-2014, 10:06 AM
The property tax thing depends on the state. Some states check, some don't. KY gives you a property tax break on your boat if it is CG documented.

Sales taxes are a different thing - unless you play the "I am a dealer" game, there is no break on sales tax.

This lake straddles two states. I will spend about four years worth of GA or SC registration fees paying to have it CG documented. That is why I am considering having it documented. If I do get it documented, the hailing port is going to be Happy, TX - which is legal.

07-23-2014, 07:07 AM
You know what's crazy too? When my CG registration needed renewing the 1st time, I started getting a bunch of letters in the mail from 3rd party companies that would handled the hassle of renewing the registration for me. These came in advance of the CG's forms, so I really had no understanding of what it involved, but started getting worried it was a PITA. These companies wanted $65 ~ $100 to do this for me annually! When I received the CG's paperwork, all it took was signing a form and sending in $5...... WTH?!

I'm thinking all those companies were a scam of some sort.

07-23-2014, 02:20 PM
They just wanted to help - to help lighten up your wallet.

I am paying a guy to do the initial documentation. He charges about $150 over the fees and "guarantees" his work. He does a lot of the boats on Cumberland.

07-23-2014, 02:52 PM
I am a documentation agent, 25 states do not require registration when Documented. Al. does not require registration if it is a commercial vessel. Tn has gone crazy on taxes, if you have had your boat 20 years they will try and charge sales tax if you register it in Tn.

Miller Tyme
07-27-2014, 11:42 AM
When I received the CG's paperwork, all it took was signing a form and sending in $5...... WTH?!

I renew mine every year and have yet to pay anything, just sign it and send it in, paperwork is usually back in a week.

Tony B
07-27-2014, 02:58 PM
I renew mine every year and have yet to pay anything, just sign it and send it in, paperwork is usually back in a week.

Same here.

Tony B
07-27-2014, 03:16 PM
I am federally documented and registered with the state. Amongst other things, it makes selling your boat easier. It serves as a title search. Just one phone call to the feds and they will tell you if the boat is clean or liened in under 60 seconds. Your documentation number and documented name are exclusive to you, No two boats will have the same name with the same hailing port - just like a corporation.

Seems like every state I go to requires registration. If you are documented, you are not allowed to display your state registration numbers, but are required to display the little square sticker which tells the water cops you are up to date with your state registration fees. If you don't display either, you will eventually get pulled over.

07-28-2014, 07:23 AM
Actually, I was mistaken. I checked my CG documentation over the weekend and it's free for renewal.

07-28-2014, 11:17 AM
I believe CG documentation doesn't relieve you of the responsibility of paying NC registration and taxes. Probably also presupposes the boat is finished, and surveyed. Ain't happenin' any time soon. :sigh:

Tony B
07-28-2014, 04:57 PM
Amelia, as long as you get to use it from time to time, there should be no sighs.

08-07-2014, 11:12 AM
My lender required that our boat be documented.

08-11-2014, 09:55 PM
Many many moons ago, documenting a boat could allow a boat owner to avoid paying state sales tax and personal property tax. However in the 70's we (the USCG) changed the rules by making an agreement with the states to provide them with ownership data on boats documented with the USCG. Now many states do require you to pay your taxes (they want their pound of flesh too), but most do not require the state registration numbers to be displayed as long as the boat complies with the USCG rules for Documented vessels, that is a name and home port on the stern and the official number permanently affixed inside the boat, as well as having the boat's papers aboard. Documentation was often (and still is to some extent) required to get a bank loan, and insurance. This of course depends a lot on the size and value of the boat. If you travel outside of the US on your boat, documentation is almost mandatory, with a few notable exceptions, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, and a few other close neighbors. Of course most houseboats do not do international travel except maybe to Canada.

By the way, I have worked with a lot of the Documentation Services. Most of them are very reputable, and if you have an older boat that has never been documented before they can be invaluable at smoothing the process. For that reason alone they are worth the money. If your boat has already been documented then it is easy to renew as has been noted by several posts. Actually the biggest PITA can be actually getting to talk to someone at the Documentation Center. For me it was easy because I had direct access to the guy who ran the place, but for the average person the process can be painful. You will more than likely talk to a low level clerk and they may or may not be helpful. In that case a Documentation Service can be well worth the cost because they have been through it many times and know all the right people to talk to and all the right hoops to jump through, especially for old boats that have never been documented before.

08-12-2014, 08:57 AM
Actually, I was mistaken. I checked my CG documentation over the weekend and it's free for renewal.

This may have just gone away........................Coast Guard to charge $26 annual fee to boat owners (http://www.examiner.com/article/coast-guard-to-charge-26-annual-fee-to-boat-owners)

08-13-2014, 07:57 AM
this may have just gone away........................coast guard to charge $26 annual fee to boat owners (http://www.examiner.com/article/coast-guard-to-charge-26-annual-fee-to-boat-owners)

d o h ! ! ! !

08-19-2014, 08:22 PM
Coast Guard issues final rule to charge vessel documentation renewal fees
Thompson Coburn LLP Contact

In the August 12, 2014 Federal Register, the Coast Guard issued a final rule entitled “Vessel Documentation Renewal Fees." Currently there is no charge for renewals of endorsements; however, as of November 10, 2014, the Coast Guard will assess a $26 fee for the renewal of endorsements on a vessel’s Certificate of Documentation, which must be renewed annually. According to the Coast Guard:

The purpose of this rule is to increase the annual Certificate of Documentation (COD) renewal fee collections so that the fees we charge more accurately reflect the actual costs to the Coast Guard of providing the annual documentation renewal services.


Tony B
09-25-2014, 06:46 AM
$26 a year is not going to kill me. I'm surprised it took up until now to start charging. In tough economic times it's easier for the law makers to get way with legislation with the old "let the users pay" philosophy.

09-26-2014, 09:01 AM
We debated between NC registration and CG docs, and then NC made it easy: they said, fine, document your boat. And then pay the NC taxes anyway. So here we are with the NC numbers on our hull.

09-28-2014, 09:34 PM
For a houseboat, I'm not sure CG registration is worth the trouble.

09-29-2014, 06:19 AM
Depends on the state and the lake. It makes sense for my situation.

Miller Tyme
09-30-2014, 06:20 PM
For a houseboat, I'm not sure CG registration is worth the trouble.

What trouble, all I have to do every year is sign the form they send me.

Tony B
10-08-2014, 06:23 AM
What trouble, all I have to do every year is sign the form they send me.

....and not have to put the state numbers on the side of your boat

10-08-2014, 07:25 AM
I talked to my registration guy yesterday. My registration should be done by the end of this month. It is currently a 3-4 month process.

10-08-2014, 01:44 PM
Yeah, I know the numbers are a REALLY big hassle for some. To each his own.

10-22-2014, 10:56 AM
This has been big topic of discussion in Kentucky. As I said in a previous post, our lender required USCG documentation. The boat we bought was already documented. Ky law requires us to send in a form in May to the state capital stating the value, then we get billed in October by the county where the boat is docked. Rates vary wildly from county to county and we're in the one with the highest rates. I can't help but wonder how many people on my dock just skip sending in that form.