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Old 18-09-2014, 15:04   #1
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USA Federal Documented question

Hi all. THis should be easy but online gets different answers everywhere I look.

Our current boat we have owned for a year already but are only just now getting ready to use in anger. We are going to have a voluntary USCG safety inspection shortly to check we comply with all their requirements. Our boat is US Documented in my (American) wife's name as I'm a Brit and don't qualify. We transferred the registration on purchase from the original owner who had it documented from new in 1998, easy enough so far. But according to the USCG checklist for their survey, we need to display the Registered number on board in letters 3 inches high and in a place and manner they cannot be removed. Our previous owner doesn't know if it was ever done and I cannot find it anywhere So I guess I need to purchase a plaque/sign and fit it so Mr. Coastie can tick his list.

OK How do other have their numbers? Remember this is for USCG, Federal and not State, Registration numbers and As far as I understand has to be displayed on the hull below decks. I found an online company making engraved S/S plaques at $100 but just stopped by a local company who can make me a plastic sign in white with 3" black block lettering as required, for $45 I guess this will be Ok? How should I mount it? the rules say fixed to be incapable of removal or even suggests painted numbers clear epoxied over. Should I use anti-theft screws? Where best to place this plaque?

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Old 18-09-2014, 15:10   #2
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

My documented vessel has stick-on numbers on the bulkhead. I wouldn't over think this, do something that would take a little effort to remove and that looks reasonably attractive to you.
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Old 18-09-2014, 15:11   #3
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

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Originally Posted by Robin3 View Post

OK How do other have their numbers?
On my current boat I have an engraved plaque that is screwed and glued to a bulkhead. On my last boat I had vinyl letters that I then varnished over so they couldn't be peeled off.

If you boat isn't currently CG registred I don't think you have any requirement to display the old number and it has nothing to do with passing an inspection. Once you register the boat it use the same number as last used as the number stays with the boat.
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Old 18-09-2014, 15:11   #4
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

I have a Kelly Peterson 44 and mine is located behind the companionway so they don't have to dig through my boat to find it.
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Old 18-09-2014, 15:14   #5
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

I bought the numbers from West Marine--the normal 3" variety used for state registration display, and applied them to the hull inside the anchor locker (high enough to avoid the chain), then laid on a few layers of clear epoxy.
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Old 18-09-2014, 15:44   #6
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

ours are engraved in plastic and glassed to the hull inside the lazzerete..
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Old 18-09-2014, 16:22   #7
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
On my current boat I have an engraved plaque that is screwed and glued to a bulkhead. On my last boat I had vinyl letters that I then varnished over so they couldn't be peeled off.

If you boat isn't currently CG registred I don't think you have any requirement to display the old number and it has nothing to do with passing an inspection. Once you register the boat it use the same number as last used as the number stays with the boat.
It IS currently registered that is the point! We transferred registration over to us ( strictly to my wife) when we bought it and we carry the new official documents on board to be be seen if required but the registered number itself is not mounted to be seen anywhere that I can find. On my previous boats, all British registered, the official registered number was on a carved varnished wood board attached to the main bulkhead just ahead of the mast, below decks
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Old 18-09-2014, 16:23   #8
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

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ours are engraved in plastic and glassed to the hull inside the lazzerete..
That is a good point and one place I hadn't thought of looking.
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Old 18-09-2014, 16:28   #9
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

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Originally Posted by Robin3 View Post
It IS currently registered that is the point! We transferred registration over to us ( strictly to my wife) when we bought it and we carry the new official documents on board to be be seen if required but the registered number itself is not mounted to be seen anywhere that I can find. On my previous boats, all British registered, the official registered number was on a carved varnished wood board attached to the main bulkhead just ahead of the mast, below decks
All this seems to imply is the the previous owner didn't do his job and/or forgot to put the numbers on. Use any of the methods mentioned and just do it. Good luck.
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Old 18-09-2014, 16:49   #10
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

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All this seems to imply is the the previous owner didn't do his job and/or forgot to put the numbers on. Use any of the methods mentioned and just do it. Good luck.
Got it in one Stu, Ta!

Or the PO could have removed it as a souvenir since he helped himself to plenty of other 'stuff'
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Old 18-09-2014, 17:47   #11
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

At the turn of the bilge below the floorboard. On a piece of oak, 1" thick, 5" X 14", letters engraved in the wood with possibly a dremel tool. Attached to the fiberglass hull with epoxy glue, then covered in epoxy.
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Old 18-09-2014, 17:54   #12
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

This is the requirement, taken from the USCG site:

"HOW DO I MARK MY VESSEL?
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."

If you use a separate plaque with the numbers engraved it is not sufficient to just screw them to a bulkhead. As you can see, they have to be affixed in a manner so that removing them would leave a scar. If they are on a plague, glue or epoxy it somewhere. A lot of people put them in the engine compartment. (Check there for the previous owner's markings if you haven't already.)

The vinyl letters with a coat of epoxy over them is also a great solution. We have used both methods.
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Old 18-09-2014, 20:42   #13
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

So clearly visible but hidden in the engine compartment then. I need to hunt inside every locker , yet again ( except most are lined with foam backed vinyl) as well as under every floorboard plus in the anchor locker (on deck) and inside lazarettes. If I still cannot find the original numbers if they ever existed then the newly purchased plaque will go on a visible cabin bulkhead fitted with some anti-theft screws and a decent blob of epoxy glue.
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Old 19-09-2014, 07:22   #14
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

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Remember this is for USCG, Federal and not State, Registration numbers...
Just a point of terminology, in the spirit of clear communication...

Your boat is not federally "registered" and it doesn't have federal "registration" numbers. It is federally "documented." In the U.S. we say that states "register" boats and the USCG "documents" them (and issues "documentation" numbers).

It is pretty clear that you understand the difference, but there are a lot of people who don't, and who get confused when others talk about "documenting" their boat in a state, or "registering" it with the USCG. So, I hope you don't feel like I'm nit-picking. I'm just trying to avoid having this thread confuse others who do NOT understand the difference.
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Old 19-09-2014, 07:28   #15
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Re: USA Federal Documented question

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So clearly visible but hidden in the engine compartment then. I need to hunt inside every locker , yet again ( except most are lined with foam backed vinyl) as well as under every floorboard plus in the anchor locker (on deck) and inside lazarettes. If I still cannot find the original numbers if they ever existed then the newly purchased plaque will go on a visible cabin bulkhead fitted with some anti-theft screws and a decent blob of epoxy glue.
I think if you can remove the engine cover and they can see it, it's clearly visible. If you have to unload a locker and/or remove hull liner then that would not seem to meet the definition of clearly visible. I would say if you can't find it after all this looking then it either isn't there, or doesn't meet the definition of clearly visible.

Ours is currently on a plaque in the quarter berth area, behind the nav table, glued and screwed to the hull. However when I looked up that definition for you I realized that we don't have the required No. in front of the numbers. (Put there by previous owner.) So, now I am wondering.... I think I had better give the vessel documentation office a call and see how big an issue this is.
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