How to Search for and Find Owner Information for USCG Registered Vessels

by | Tuesday, December 31, 2013 |

The United States Coast Guard is charged with tracking information on certain registered commercial and recreational vessels. You may find this data in the document, “Merchant Vessels of the United States (CG 408).”

This document includes the name of all U.S. merchant and recreational vessels subject to the laws of the United States:

  • ownership information;
  • vessel dimensions;
  • official number;
  • port of documentation (home port);
  • authorized trade endorsements;
  • hull numbers;
  • manufacturer information;
  • hailing port;
  • build (when available); and
  • vessel tonnage.

How do I get a copy of the “Merchant Vessels of the United States?”

The “Merchant Vessels of the United States” is available in electronic form via CD-ROM – the print edition ceased in 1994. The document is available for purchase at a cost of $145 (US dollars), plus shipping and handling.

You may order the book by writing to:

National Technical Information Services (NTIS)

5285 Port Royal Rd.

Springfield, VA 22161

Or, you may place a single-issue order by calling (800) 553-6847. Online orders may be placed directly through the NTIS website. Locate the correct order form information by searching “Merchant Vessels of the United States.”

How Data is Collected and What is Included in the Document

The “Merchant Vessels of the United States” includes data only for ships registered with the U.S. Coast Guard. It does not include any data on foreign vessels. Data for the file is collected via the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Information System. This database serves a number of marine safety operating systems.

Searching for Additional Information about Registered Vessel Names

Interested parties may purchase an Abstract of Title for U.S. Coast Guard documented vessels.

This titular document will outline information obtained and recorded by the U.S. Coast Guard including:

  • all bills of sale for a vessel;
  • mortgages; and
  • notices of lien.

You may request such a document via the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center. This information is available – for a fee – only if you can provide the name and official number of the vessel.

How does the USCG establish vessel ownership?

Ownership of a new, never-before-documented vessel may be established by submitting a Builder’s Certification (form CG-1261). This must include the name of the applicant, this should be the person for whom the vessel was constructed or the recipient of the vessel.

Ownership of a new vessel can also be established by:

  • manufacturer’s certificate of origin;
  • copy of state registration or title; and/or
  • foreign registration.

A previously-owned vessel requires the presentation of a bill of sale or similar documentation to prove the legal transfer of the property.

Visit our blog to find more free information about USCG regulations and other pertinent data for commercial vessel owners and operators. You may also download our free Logbook Quick Reference Guide to learn about which logbooks are required for use aboard your vessel. Once you are ready, place an order for vessel logbooks – including engine logbooks and crew and passenger logs – by calling (888) 468-3757.

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