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Old 16-05-2012, 15:36   #1
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Waiting on USCG for Certificate of Documentation... can I sail?

Hey everybody,
I've got an upcoming trip and I unfortunately didn't get around to submitting my application for reissue of my Certificate of Documentation until only 2 weeks ago. I'm flying out in two days (this Friday) and I'm worried about sailing without that certificate. Does anybody have any experience with this situation?

I emailed USCG Vessel Documentation last night and received a reply this morning stating:
"Your paperwork was received on 5-3-12. A verification letter will be sent to you under a separate email to state this. We are authorized to say that you cannot operate the vessel until a certificate of documentation is issued. However, our office does not do the boarding and the verification letter states that your paperwork is pending."

I did some searching on the web and I ended up finding this note:

Coast Guard Documentation Information - MarineTitle.com
Can I operate my vessel while awaiting the certificate of documentation? - If the vessel is used for recreational purposes only, you can operate it while waiting for your document to be issued. However this only applies if you are in compliance with any state level requirements for registration of documented vessels. You can not engage in commercial operations without a properly endorsed certificate of documentation on board the vessel. While operating without a document, you should keep copies of your application and any documents which serve as proof that you own the vessel.

I unfortunately couldn't find any "offical" details from the USCG site and from the email they sent me I'm guessing that I'll be risking a fine. I've printed off my submitted forms, the verification letter, and the marinetitle.com quote but I'm not sure what else I can do besides hope that it arrives today or tomorrow. I've unfortunately got a lot of people with flights booked for this trip so I can't really call the whole thing off. The plan is to sail to Bimini, Bahamas from Marathon, FL and then bring the boat back to Fort Lauderdale.

What do you guys think?

Lars
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Old 16-05-2012, 15:50   #2
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Re: Waiting on USCG for Certificate of Documentation... can I sail?

I have arrived in several different foreign country (alas not the Bahamas) several times with out current documentation papers. Most often they just copied the expired document and did not note that it was out of date. When they did notice; they asked. I explained that the mail had not caught up with me by the time my visa in the last country was to expire, (my thinking that was the worst of the two evils). While it raised some eyebrows, no one seemed to think it was a big deal, I showed copies of the paperwork that I did have (just as you currently have) and everything was accepted. They always asked me to bring the correct paperwork in when I received it.

Can't say how the Bahamians will look on this!

Tom
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Old 17-05-2012, 06:13   #3
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Re: Waiting on USCG for Certificate of Documentation... can I sail?

You should be fine in US, and Bahamian Customs might not notice the date, although they do look at the documentation carefully to note the size of vessel. There certainly is a chance that you'll have a problem...Bahamian Customs is known for being quite arbitrary on how they treat cruisers. With that said, Bimini's one of the easier places to check in, and I've never had any issues there.
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Old 17-05-2012, 17:38   #4
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Re: Waiting on USCG for Certificate of Documentation... can I sail?

Your answer is here:
"If the vessel is used for recreational purposes only, you can operate it while waiting for your document to be issued. "

Assuming you're not running some sort of charter, you should be ok
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Old 17-05-2012, 17:56   #5
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Re: Waiting on USCG for Certificate of Documentation... can I sail?

I have cleared in at West End Bahamas with copies, once with an out dated certificate that wasn't noticed. I sailed before the renewal was received and had a copy emailed to me. No guarantees, but I'd take the chance especially if you have someone who can receive the document and scan it then email you a copy.
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Old 17-05-2012, 17:57   #6
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Re: Waiting on USCG for Certificate of Documentation... can I sail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamif27 View Post
Your answer is here:
"If the vessel is used for recreational purposes only, you can operate it while waiting for your document to be issued. "

Assuming you're not running some sort of charter, you should be ok
Hey Tamif,
Unfortunately for me, that quote is from a generic website called "marinetitle.com" that just tries to make money off of selling USCG form assistance. I can't find anywhere official that mentions this and the email from the USCG vessel documentation guys makes me think this isn't true. Anywho, I went ahead and printed it off and highlighted that section anyways, haha.

Lars
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Old 17-05-2012, 18:01   #7
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Re: Waiting on USCG for Certificate of Documentation... can I sail?

You shouldn't have a problem in the USA as long as you carry the email stating that the USCG has received your request. The problem will be when you hit a foreign port. Some require orginal and current Documentation, some don't.

If you used a title company to re-document your vessel they can issue a "Running Letter" stating the documentation is in process, but again some foreign contries will not accept that.

You can request the USCG send you certified copy of the Documentation via FAX or Email. I think the cost is $4. You can print this and use it as evidence of documentation.

Good luck!
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Old 17-05-2012, 18:19   #8
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Re: Waiting on USCG for Certificate of Documentation... can I sail?

you are going outside the us right? it's a us reqmt... operate it all you want.
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