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Interior Documentation Display

(Recreational and Commercial)

The vessel must have the official number permanently affixed in block-type Arabic numerals of not less than 3 inches in height, preceded by the letters “NO.” on some clearly visible interior integral structural part of the vessel.

Interior display (recreational and commercial).

Numbers must be no less than 3 inches high.


Vessel Prefixes

  • Cable Ship – CS
  • Fishing Vessel – FV
  • Gas Turbine Ship – GTS
  •  Lifeboat – LB
  • Motor Tanker – MT
  • Motor Vessel/Motor Ship – MV/MS
  • Motor Yacht – MY
  • Nuclear Ship – NS
  • Platform Supply Vessel – PSV
  • Research Vessel – RV
  • Royal Mail Ship – RMS
  • Sailing Vessel – SV
  • Training Ship – TS

Vessel Documentation

The U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation is a national form of registration dating back to the 11th Act of the First Congress. It serves as evidence of a vessel’s nationality for international purposes, provides for unhindered commerce between the states, and admits vessels to certain restricted trades, such as coastwise trade and the fisheries. Since 1920, vessel financing has been enhanced through the availability of preferred mortgages on documented vessels.

Recreational vessels are eligible to be documented it they are wholly owned by a citizen or citizens of the United States and measure at least five net tons. Net tonnage is a measure of a vessel’s volume. Most vessels more than 25 feet in length will measure five net tons or more.

A documented vessel is not exempt from:

  • Applicable state or federal taxes.
  • Compliance with state or federal equipment carriage requirements.