US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation

The U.S. Coast Guard maintains a system of vessel documentation that serves as a national registration center. The U.S. Coast Guard has a very informative web site describing the purpose and details of vessel documentation.

If you are purchasing a previously documented vessel (there will be a numbering board in the engine compartment), your marine loan provider will obtain an “abstract” to ensure that there are no outstanding liens on the vessel and that the chain of ownership is properly established. An Abstract of Title shows all bills of sale, mortgages, and notices of claim of lien filed and recorded by the Coast Guard.

Documentation companies are experts in reading and evaluating abstracts. They verify that the purchaser obtains the certificate and that all liens are released and recorded properly.

Some lenders require that boats of a certain size or loans above certain amounts be documented and a First Preferred Ships Mortgage be filed. The marine loan provider will have “approved” documentation companies that are authorized to handle the transaction if necessary.

In order to document your vessel, it must measure at least five net tons and be wholly owned by a citizen of the U.S.

HARRIS MARINE FINANCING
214 PIER ONE ROAD • SUITE 102
STEVENSVILLE, MARYLAND 21666
(410) 643-7097 • (410) 643-7099 (fax)
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