SPRINGFIELD, VIRGINIA—Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has advised boaters with vessels that have a U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation to be wary of any letter arriving by U.S. mail offering renewal.
BoatUS advises that while the Coast Guard does send official annual renewal notices by U.S. mail, other notices being received by members are not from the Coast Guard but rather third-party companies whose name or return addresses may appear similar to that of the official U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC).
BoatUS members have complained that these letters direct them to websites that may be mistaken for the actual Coast Guard NVDC located in Falling Waters, West Virginia, and appear to show a significant increase in the annual fee to renew Coast Guard documentation.
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, $26 annually, is often much lower than what third-party services may charge. To renew, go to the Coast Guard National Documentation Center website at https://www.uscg.mil/nvdc and click on “instructions and forms,” then “Certificate of Documentation Application for Renewal.”