Coast Guard Documentation Number Lookup

Need to look up the coast guard documentation for a vessel? The coast guard documentation number is the one thing that stays with the boat for all of its life and is recorded in the coast guard documented database.

When buying a boat, you should lookup the coast guard documentation against the databases and get all detailed history. This is different from State registered boats.

In this article, we will be discussing what the coast guard documentation number is and how to lookup vessels by their official coast guard documentation number. The article also gives you the best tools you can use to find the coast guard documentation number and how you can get additional information with the help of some tips.

At the end, we give 9 additional articles for further reading.

What is a Coast Guard Documentation Number? | Can you look up Coast Guard documentation?

Remember that the coast guard is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States

The coast guard documentation number is an official number of a documented vessel. This 6 to 7-digit number is allotted to every boat during documentation and stays with it for all of its life.

For some states, boats are allowed state registration and federal documentation. But in some states, these boats are not allowed to be registered by the state and federally documented. The purpose of the number is to identify the vehicle. This number is mentioned on the boat, which makes each boat different and becomes a boat’s identity.

If you want to find out the coast guard documentation number of a boat, then you can look it up for free on the following form:

USCG Vessel Documentation Search using the Official Number:

This form is a free tool that helps you with coast guard documentation number lookup by using its official number. It is a simple search, and you won’t have to follow a complicated procedure to learn the USCG No.

Search USCG Documented Vessels by Vessel Name:

With this form, you can look for the boat you want with the help of its name. However, the boat you are looking for should be documented nationally to show up on your coast guard boat registration database.

Search Coast Guard Vessels by Hull Identification Number:

Similarly, with this form, you can go for boat documentation lookup using its hull identification number. You can only use this tool for nationally documented boats, not those with state titling. You can get an alert using this link if you have a state-titled boat.

This search will cover the coast guard port state information exchange as well as other databases in the documentation portal! Even if the vessel is past expiration, we can search it.

Which Boats Have a Coast Guard Documentation Number?

It is important for you to have USCG documentation for boats that are at least 5 net tons, U.S. citizen-owned, and used for the purpose of coast-wide trading and fishing within U.S waters or EEZ. Other than boats, dredges and towboats are also required to have coast guard documentation.

Boats exempted are the vessels that do not operate on U.S. navigable waters, including vessels not used for the coast-wide trade, such as non-self-propelled vessels.

You must avoid confusion with regard to the size of the vessel. The 5 net tons refers to the vehicle’s capacity but not weight. If you have a recreational vessel, then the documentation is optional. Owners can decide on their own whether they want to get federal USCG documentation or if they want to complete the vessel registration with the state authorities. For these details, it is best to check the local regulations, so you are sure of the requirements.

Coast Guard Documentation Number Vs. State Registration Number | Do documented vessels have titles?

This is one of the most common questions for boat owners. They have to decide whether to go for coast guard documentation or state registration. However, it is not much of choice; you need to choose the option your boat and its usage qualify for.

The first thing you need to learn is that documentation is a federal registration allotted by the U.S. coast guard. The state-level registration offers permanent title certificates similar to vehicles. The Coast Guard Documentation is not available for vehicles shorter than 24’ and not owned by U.S. citizens. Moreover, if you are using the vehicle for commercial use, you may have to adhere to more qualifications. This can include freight transportation, passengers to hire, and fishing at a commercial level.

On the other hand, you are not bound by the boat’s size, built usage, or ownership for state registration. All you need are registration and numbering. However, there are some exceptions for boats in certain states. Documented vessels do not have boat titles, as federal law does not allow for the issuance of state titles.

Where is a Coast Guard Documentation Number found? | Find the Official Number of a Vessel

The Coast Guard Documentation number should be permanently attached to the vessel. The display should be clear and readable, the location needs to be on the hull, and you must also include the hailing port and name in the same place.

The vessel’s name may include letters of the Latin and Arabic alphabets or even Roman numerals. However, make sure the name does not exceed 33 characters. You also need to include the Coast Guard Documentation number on the interior of the vehicle, and for that, you need to first mark the “NO.” before the number. For printing, you need to use Arabic numerals and capital letters. The number’s letters should not be less than four inches tall.

You can find it on your documentation COD.

How to look up a Coast Guard Documentation Number? | Check My Coast Guard Documentation Status

You can look up the coast guard documentation number in multiple ways. You can choose the kind of method that is convenient to use to do your uscg documentation search lookup:

USCG direct via NVDC

One way of looking up the Coast Guard Documentation number is using USCG direct via the NVDC. This way is the official way, but you may encounter many complexities. The NVDC is the U.S. coastal guards vessel documentation center.

You can reach out to the NVDC for a federally documented vessel search using the following methods:

  • Phone: You can call them at (800) 799-836. You may come across the recording when trying to call them, and getting hold of an actual representative is difficult.
  • Email: You can reach out to the NVDC at While the email is operational, the responses on email will be slower than what you want them to be. 

It can get quite complicated to find the information you need through NVDC; if you are in a hurry, that is possibly not the best route for you. In this case, it is best to reach out to a company that can help you get access to the information you need without any censors.

Boat Abstract offers you the three best tools to look for documented vessel information. These tools can help you look for the vessel with the help of the number, name of the vessel, or with the HIN. The best part about these tools is that they are simple to use.

You do not have to worry about any complicated requirements or details. You can simply insert the name of the vessel in the boat documentation search bar and run a search. Moreover, these tools will give you complete and accurate information. For instance, personally identifiable information is not publicly available due to the newly enforced privacy laws.

This makes it nearly impossible for individuals to find out who owns the boat. But “” gives you a way out. You can get the name of the owner when you order an Abstract of the Title. This way, you can get the exact details of the boat owner from this registry.

You can find other details through the Title Abstract, such as any changes in the vessel’s name and the boat’s price. Moreover, you may find lien recordings and mortgages with all the bank names, the bill of sale and amount paid, owner name, supplements, and encumbrances or the satisfaction of the claim of lien.

If you are looking for information on state-registered boats, you can use Boat Alert to extract information such as the history of the vessel, the HIN, and more.


In this article, we discussed the coast guard documentation number in great detail and touched on topics such as how you can look up the coast guard documentation number, what vessels have this number, and where you can find it on the boat.

Moreover, we have also discussed the coast guard documentation and state registration numbers. Lastly, we have discussed ways to find the coast guard documentation number and other relevant information.

Further Reading

#USCG #Documentation #vessels #USCG_No #Lookup #DocumentedBoat #NVDC #US_Coast_Guard #UnitedStatesCoastGuard

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