Coastal Documentation is a service designed to assist owners of commercial or pleasure boats in registering their vessels with the National Vessel Documentation Center. Documentation is a one time process. Your official documentation number becomes an integral, permanent part of your boat.

Why Document Your Boat

  • For commercial-use boats, documentation is required to avoid fines.
  • A documented boat is easier to sell, buy and/or finance, because its ownership is incontrovertibly established.
  • Many lending companies and individuals require documentation as a condition for financing boat purchases because documented boats are eligible for a First Preferred Ships Mortgage, the safest form of security a lender can have on a boat.
  • Bills of Sale, Mortgages and other instruments of title are recorded with the National Vessel Documentation Center.
  • When cruising in foreign territory or U.S. waters, it gives undisputed identity.
  • It gives authority to fly the yacht ensign of the U.S.

Why Hire Coastal Documentation

  • You would need to learn the steps, obtain a variety of forms, and take the time to accomplish the process. Whereas for a single reasonable fee, we will complete the entire procedure for you.
  • Speed of response that allows next day mailing of closing paperwork in normal circumstances. In extreme circumstances same-day closings are possible
  • Seventeen years of experience with all sorts of documentation.
  • Fully insured for errors and omissions with Lloyd's of London.
  • Clear, fair pricing of each part of the documentation and mortgaging services.

Documentation Requirements

  • The vessel owner must be a US citizen (native born or naturalized) or the owner corporation must meet Coast Guard citizenship regulations.
  • The vessel must be a minimum of 5 net tons displacement by a formula computed by the US Coast Guard. Usually a boat measuring 25' (LOA) by 8' (beam) by 5' (depth, not draft) — power or sail — qualifies for documentation.

Documentation Procedure

  • Together we fill out the Documentation Worksheet over the phone
  • If your boat was built outside the US and has not ever been documented you must obtain from the US Customs Service, and send to us, a Customs Consumption Entry form and, perhaps a removal from foreign registry.
  • We prepare the various necessary forms and mail the appropriate ones to you, the seller, builder, previous owners and lender.
  • You sign the forms sent to you and return them to us with the documentation fees.
  • We assemble the papers from all parties and file them with the National Vessel Documentation Center.
  • You receive your Certificate of Documentation with instructions for marking your official number on your boat.

Contact Information

  • Phone: 207-596-6575
  • Fax: 207-596-7086
  • Mail: Susan Ellis, Coastal Documentation, 111 Dennison Rd.., Spruce Head, ME 04859
  • E-Mail:


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