Purchasing a Used Vessel that is U.S. Coast Guard Documented

A vessel Documented with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is required to be registered in North Carolina to operate on public waters. However, federal law restricts states from issuing titles for documented vessels since the USCG issues a Certificate of Documentation (COD) to owners of documented vessels which supersede a state title. If you have purchased a USCG documented vessel you will need to submit the following:

If you choose not to document the vessel with the US Coast Guard

  • Completed VL-1 Form (PDF).
  • The Original Certificate of Documentation properly assigned with the seller’s signature notarized in the transfer section. If the original COD has been submitted to the USCG by the previous owner for the purpose of canceling their documentation, the U.S Coast Guard should issue the new owner a “Deletion Letter” which can be used in lieu of the original COD as proof of ownership. The “Deletion Letter” must state that the USCG has received proof that you are now the owner of the vessel.
  • Appropriate fee for registration and titling.

If you choose to Document your vessel with the US Coast Guard

  • Completed VL-1 Form (PDF).
  • A copy of your Certificate of Documentation obtained from the USCG upon completion of the documentation process.
  • The appropriate fee for registration only.

USCG Documented vessels can be registered for a period of 1 or 3 years but should only be titled if USCG Documentation is canceled. You may register your vessel by mail or in person at a local Wildlife Service Agent.