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Old 22-04-2013, 20:05   #1
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Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

Hello Cruisers,

I did a minimum of searching of the forum looking for some insight into the boat lettering topic but didn't find what I'm looking for. Here is one thread that was relevant but brief:

How big boat lettering?

My question is on acceptable and legal minimum letter sizes for name and home port and registration numbers. My boat is a Pearson 28-1 which is registered in Florida. It's not likely that I'll go through the process of registering it with the Coast Guard but if it's easy to comply with those rules too with my lettering then I probably will just in case I want to go for Coast Guard registration in the future.

My goal is to have my name and registration numbers in as simple and small a format as is reasonable. I understand that I can just look up the Florida rules for lettering but I also wanted to find out what the considerate minimum size is, for readability by others on the water/etc.

I'm also curious about the rules concerning adding a home port. I believe this is only for Coast Guard registered boats, though I'm not sure, but I wonder how most folks decide on a home port to use and how relevant adding one might be for a state registered boat. My boat is registered in Florida, has been in NC for three years (in the yard) and is probably bound for the Chesapeake when it leaves here.

The cruising grounds for my boat may extend to much of the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and maybe the Bahamas/etc. though regional/seasonal cruising in the U.S. will dominate the schedule.

Thanks for information on this topic,

Jonathan
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Old 22-04-2013, 20:58   #2
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As I recall there is 3" minimum requirement, but you should confirm.

Re Hailing Port. A recreational vessel can display any hailing port you want...does not have to be where the boat is actually based.
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Old 22-04-2013, 21:02   #3
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

If you a state registered, but not documented, then you are pretty free with the choice of font and size or even choice of presenting information at all. I favor a large well displayed name that would allow vessels nearby to contact you by name on the water. For most sailboats this contact would be made by an overtaking powerboat informing you of his passing intentions; however, many situations arise where someone on another vessel might wish to contact you. I'd select big and bold for the name and as I please for the port.
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Old 22-04-2013, 21:40   #4
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

Interestingly, for CG documentation, the restrictions for hailing port are much more stringent than those for the boat name. We probably aren't legal with our hailing port. Size is right, but it's not block letters.
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Old 22-04-2013, 22:27   #5
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

For USCG boat documentation requirement, 4-inch lettering is the minimum. I recommend much larger, however. Four inches isn't visible unless the observer is within feet of the boat. Also, most scripts don't meet the USCG requirement.

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Old 22-04-2013, 22:30   #6
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

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Interestingly, for CG documentation, the restrictions for hailing port are much more stringent than those for the boat name.
Any U.S. place name is acceptable. It needn't be where the boat is berthed/homed and can be a location not near navigable waters.
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Old 23-04-2013, 04:34   #7
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

For a state registered boat the only requirement you have is the Registration number size and placement. They must be on the forward half of the vessel in 3" block letters contrasting to the hull. Name and hailing port are optional

Florida Boating Regulations

As suggested before, I always get frustrated when I see a boat name that I can't read due to font or size. Don't use script or other fonts, which can't be read at a distance.
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Old 07-05-2013, 17:08   #8
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

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If you a state registered, but not documented, then you are pretty free with the choice of font and size or even choice of presenting information at all. ............. .
Yep, there's no requirement to put the boat's name on the hull or even to name a boat. That's for documented boats.

You do have to display your registration numbers and sticker as per the regulations of whatever state your boat is registered in. And you pretty much have to register the boat in the state it is primarily used in.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:16   #9
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

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Originally Posted by JonathanSail View Post
It's not likely that I'll go through the process of registering it with the Coast Guard but if it's easy to comply with those rules too with my lettering then I probably will just in case I want to go for Coast Guard registration in the future.
Quote:
The official number assigned to documented vessels, preceded by the abbreviation "NO." must be marked in block-type Arabic numerals at least three inches high on some clearly visible interior structural part of the hull. The number must be permanently affixed so that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious and cause some scarring or damage to the surrounding hull area.
The name and hailing port of a recreational vessel must be marked together on some clearly visible exterior part of the hull. The vessel name of a commercial vessel must also be marked on the port and starboard bow and the vessel name and the hailing port must also be marked on the stern. All markings may be made by any means and materials that result in durable markings and must be at least four inches in height, made in clearly legible letters of the Latin alphabet or Arabic or Roman numerals. The "hailing port" must include both a place and a State, Territory, or possession of in the United States. The state may be abbreviated.
USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, FAQ Page
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:43   #10
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanSail View Post
Hello Cruisers,

I did a minimum of searching of the forum looking for some insight into the boat lettering topic but didn't find what I'm looking for. Here is one thread that was relevant but brief:

How big boat lettering?

My question is on acceptable and legal minimum letter sizes for name and home port and registration numbers. My boat is a Pearson 28-1 which is registered in Florida. It's not likely that I'll go through the process of registering it with the Coast Guard but if it's easy to comply with those rules too with my lettering then I probably will just in case I want to go for Coast Guard registration in the future.

My goal is to have my name and registration numbers in as simple and small a format as is reasonable. I understand that I can just look up the Florida rules for lettering but I also wanted to find out what the considerate minimum size is, for readability by others on the water/etc.

I'm also curious about the rules concerning adding a home port. I believe this is only for Coast Guard registered boats, though I'm not sure, but I wonder how most folks decide on a home port to use and how relevant adding one might be for a state registered boat. My boat is registered in Florida, has been in NC for three years (in the yard) and is probably bound for the Chesapeake when it leaves here.

The cruising grounds for my boat may extend to much of the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and maybe the Bahamas/etc. though regional/seasonal cruising in the U.S. will dominate the schedule.

Thanks for information on this topic,

Jonathan
If you're considering leaving the USA (Bahamas, etc.), you should consider Coast Guard documentation rather than state registration. Documentation is beat for dealing with other governments.

In some states, perhaps most states, you cannot both document and register the boat. It's one or the other.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:44   #11
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

Lodesman's quote of the regulations is what you should follow if you are going to get it Coast Guard documented. For example my boat name and hailing port, all at least 4 inches high in the photo below are on each side of the boat at the stern.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:33   #12
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

FWIW, the vessel's name is much more visible if marked on the stern quarters in relatively large letters rather than the stern based upon the SAR Lessons Learned report following the '79 Fastnet.
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Old 11-05-2013, 15:25   #13
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Re: Best Practice for Boat Lettering for Name, Port, Registration?

State-registered boats should have the registration number in a plain font in a contrasting color to the color of the hull, in addition to the minimum size.

Florida Boating Regulations

Letters must be separated from the numbers by a hyphen or space equal to letter width.
The Certificate of Registration must be on board and available for inspection by an enforcement officer whenever the vessel is operated.
Vessels must be registered and numbered within 30 days of purchase.
Registration numbers must be displayed on the forward half of the vessel on both sides above the waterline.
The numbers must be bold block letters at least 3" high in a color contrasting to the hull.
The vessel registration decal must be renewed annually and is to be displayed within 6 inches of, either before or after, the registration numbers on the port (left) side.
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