Skip to main content

Is the U.S. Coast Guard Sending You a Letter? Or Is It a Trick?

GovAff USCG Documentation Renewal Be Wary of Letters photo CREDIT Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore BoatUS 5_05_22

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) is advising boaters with vessels that have a U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation to be wary of any letter arriving by U.S. mail that offers renewal.

While the Coast Guard does send official annual renewal notices by U.S. mail, BoatU.S. reports that members have been receiving notices that are not from the Coast Guard but from third-party companies whose names or return addresses may appear similar to that of the official U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC).

These letters direct the recipients to websites that mimic the actual Coast Guard NVDC, but with a significant increase in the annual fee to renew Coast Guard documentation.

The USCG is aware of the issue and in 2017 issued a bulletin warning boat owners that the third-party companies have no affiliation with the Coast Guard and are not endorsed by the federal agency.

While third-party companies may legitimately provide services to assist with vessel documentation renewals, the Coast Guard’s own renewal process is simple for most vessels and the price ranges from $26 for one year up to $130 for a 5-year expiration, which is often much lower than what third-party services may charge.

To renew with the USCG, go to the Coast Guard National Documentation Center website at https://www.uscg.mil/nvdc, click on “instructions and forms,” and then click on “Certificate of Documentation Application for Renewal.”

To be documented, a vessel must measure at least five net tons and, with the exception of certain oil-spill response vessels, must be owned by a U.S. citizen. Boats about 27 feet in length or longer generally meet the weight requirement.

Some boat owners choose to federally document vessels with the U.S. Coast Guard because a lender may require it, or because the boat may travel beyond U.S. waters. A Certificate of Documentation is internationally recognized and makes it easier for American vessels to enter and leave foreign ports.

If a boater received mail that they believe is misleading or deceptive, they can contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 or through https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov.

Related

AIMBahamasStory_860

Hope 4 Hope Town Sends Its First Relief Ship to the Abacos

Just one week after starting a GoFundMe page, a new charity organization sends a ship full of supplies to the Bahamas to aid in relief efforts.

0df60850-31a7-11ec-b3da-5dc06521023f-Bezos-Y721-Guy-Fleury

A Glimpse of the Largest Sailing Yacht in the World. Is It Jeff Bezos’?

At 417 feet long, the superyacht dwarfed everything around it after it was rolled out of the builder’s shed last week and placed on a barge

90

Coast Guard Rescues Dog

The video is a reminder that dogs should always be wearing a life jacket on or around the water

BEWOWABMTVBW5AJ5JFKPP4FZNU.png

The Story Behind the Coast Guard’s Viral Video

The footage showed a Coast Guardsman on the Pacific Ocean, jumping onto a drug smuggling semi-submersible. Interviews reveal the story behind the video.

Found Boat donation best in summertime photo 6_15_21.jpg

Donating a Boat? Do It Now

Waiting until the end of the year to donate a boat could cost you dollars

Pubs Gas Saving Tips for Summer photo 2022 3_17_22.jpg

21 Ways to Save Gas While Boating

BoatU.S. gathered these tips to make your boat more efficient, more affordable to operate, and friendlier to the environment, too

MF1095- copy

It's Official: Boating Is Good For You

People go boating because it makes them happy, but now research shows that going boating is actually good for you, and your brain. READ MORE

Kill_Switch_&_Lanyard_2000_x_2000-1

USCG Announces New Engine Cut-off Switch Law

As of April 1, 2021, operators of recreational vessels under 26 feet will be required to use an engine cut-off switch link under certain circumstances