Coast Guard documentation turnaround time

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Envision Cat 36
Joined: 2/2/21
Posts: 1
Coast Guard documentation turnaround time

I recently submitted USCG documentation to transfer ownership for a new to me Catalina 36.  Does anyone have any recent feedback on how long it will take to have my documentation processed?  It's been about 6 weeks now. I know they received my paperwork since they cashed the check I enclosed. 

Another forum suggested I check the National Vessel Documentation Center website and they have an update at the bottom of their home page with updates on processing times for the various categories.  Recreational vessel applications from mid Dec are currently being processed. So it looks like an approximate 10 week turnaround time. 

Ray Taylor's picture
Ray Taylor
Joined: 9/11/19
Posts: 57

You can go into the USCG website and do a Paperwork Status Survey to see where you stand.   I just checked and as of today they are working on paperwork submitted (recreational transfer) on 15 Dec. 2020.  So my guess is you are about 3 months out.   

If you have a legitimate reason to rush the process you can submit a request to expedite the process.

Ray & Janice Taylor
Hood River, Ore.
#2113 2002 TM

Amoore's picture
Joined: 7/8/20
Posts: 10

Not to be downer but I bought my 36 in July 2, 2020.  I too wondered about the timing when I got the notice of my check clearing at the end of August.  I received my USCG Doc's in October.  Granted, that was when Covid was really active. So four months.  I sailed all summer unregistered as the State of Connecticut was also working behind and I did not want to register in the state with out my USCG Documentation.  

Joined: 9/27/09
Posts: 516

I don't know about in other states but in New Jersey the state registration requirement and the CG documentation program are 2 distinct entities. The state doesn't care if your documented but you'd better have your vessel registered with the state if you're stopped by the state police.

The CG documentation process doesn't, in my understanding, do anything for us other than that it provides a federal/country wide registration should your boat get stolen and moved out of your home state.  I've been told that, unlike car registrations which can easily be shared between states, state boat registrations  are not easily shared. The other benefit of the CG doc process (at least in NJ) is that you don't have to put the state registration numbers on the forward part of the hull, only the annual certification sticker.

Chuck Parker
s/v HelenRita
Atlantic Highlands, NJ

I could be wrong about this so if anyone has a definitive answer, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Chuck Parker
HelenRita 2072 Mk II
2002 Tall Rig - Winged Keel
Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Joined: 5/22/20
Posts: 2

We bought our boat in Jun 2020 and just received our paperwork last week.

Joined: 8/11/16
Posts: 28

I believe there is a cycle when they issue the certificates, I notice that we usually recieve it in January.  When I purchased by boat I waited almost 1 year to receive the certificate.

@Chuck In MA documented boats are exempt from state registration requirements.

Ed Dewsnap
Marion, MA
1984 Catalina

Joined: 11/18/19
Posts: 6

Best bet is to check the website.  I had a similar experience as one of the other commenters.  I purchased in July and received documentation in January.  Our case involved deregistering the boat from the Canadian registry so your situation should be quicker.  Talking with friends, the CG is catching up rapidly so fingers crossed that it will go quickly for you.

Joined: 7/10/13
Posts: 3

It's probably too late for anyone on this site but I recommend when purchasing a documented vessel get a traveling letter which acts as temporary documentation while waiting for the Coast Guard to process the documentation.  Usually the broker can facilitate this or if not, there are documentation services that can expedite the documentation process and provide the traveling letter in the meantime.  (source: I work in the marina industry)

Steve Orosz
s/v RIngle
1985 Catalina 36 Mk I #358
San Francisco Bay

Joined: 12/7/20
Posts: 5

Got my boat in OCT 2020, its now APR 2021 and I am still having trouble with getting my registration from them.  They have been awful to work with.  I am hoping it comes soon.  Ive sent them everything they need and keep trying to follow up, but say they are behind...

Good luck. 

castone001's picture
Joined: 1/7/21
Posts: 3

We bought our boat in January this year, Just got the documentation paperwork in the mail couple weeks ago. So almost 4 months.

Chris & Christina
1999 C36 MKII  #1801
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Fin Keel
Sunny San Diego


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