Safety Committee




From Mr. Tim Skuby, Director, National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC)

Recreational vessels that are 5 Net Tons or more MAY be documented by the CG National Vessel Documentation Center. Because this is an optional program, the recreational boat owner has the option to get the boat state titled, but they are not allowed to be both state titled and documented. Currently the NVDC is operating with an approximate 4 month backlog on Recreational Vessel Initial and Reissue/Exchanged Certificate of Documentation. Based on past history, due to the time of year and this being the busy season at the NVDC, we expect the backlog to continue to grow through at least September. With the current backlogs, these folks who have applied for a document will not be able to legally operate their vessels until after the boating season is over and that is not a good thing. After conferring with our legal staff, it was determined that we have the authority to issue temporary Certificates of Documentation (TCOD) and we have decided to do that for recreational vessels only.

While it will not eliminate the backlog, it will allow the recreational boat owner to legally operate their vessels while their paperwork is waiting to be reviewed. Before we issue a TCOD, we will conduct a review of the application to ensure US citizenship of the applicant and nationality of the vessel (i.e. is not foreign registered). Once we confirm that, we will issue a TCOD. The TCOD will be required to be maintained on board the vessel at all time while the vessel is being operated.

Information on the Temporary Certificate of Documentation (TCOD):

The TCOD will:
1) Be in a letter format;
2) Be printed on CG letterhead on special paper with security features (see below);
3) Contain the Vessel's Official Number (as this remains with the vessel regardless of name changes);
4) Contain the Vessel Owner's name and address; and 5) Be signed by the Director of the NVDC.

The body of the letter will read as follows:

"This letter is the vessel's temporary Certificate of Documentation(COD) and should be maintained onboard the vessel at all times while the vessel is being operated. This temporary COD shall remain valid until the first of the following shall have occurred:

1) The elapse of one (1) year from the issue date (above) of this letter; or
2) The issuance of the vessel's permanent COD, which, upon its issuance, shall supersede the temporary COD; or
3) The issuance of written notice of a determination by the NVDC that the vessel is not eligible for documentation; or
4) An ownership change to the vessel before the permanent COD shall have been issued.

While it is in effect, the recreational vessel subject to this temporary COD shall be deemed to be a documented vessel of the United States, subject to all of the rights and responsibilities applicable by law to documented vessels and to Certificates of Documentation. However, please note this document is not conclusive evidence of title in any proceeding where ownership is in issue. Complete records are on file at the NVDC.

If you have any questions please visit our website at or contact this office at the number listed above or via our webmaster."

Security Features of the Temporary Certificate of Documentation (TCOD): To assist all federal and local law enforcement officers in identifying valid TCODs, and potential forgeries, the following summarizes the specific security features that are found on the special paper being utilized:

a) Unique, consecutive numbering - on the reverse.
b) Copyban Capture - warning message (VOID) hidden in decorative printed pantograph backgrounds appear when copied.
c) Custom step and repeat pantograph - custom repeating cube pattern that is the visible part of Copyban
d) Thermo Chromatic Ink - CG Ensign blue to clear ink located on the front right corner.
e) Holographic CG Ensign in lower left corner.

Once all federal and local law enforcement authorities are notified, we expect to start issuing Temporary Certificates of Documentation as early as Monday 8 July 2013. For CG units, there should be an ALCOAST message coming out in the next day or so that will provide all the same information as above. I appreciate your assistance in getting this word passed out to noted organizations.

V/r TVS Tim Skuby, CAPT, USCG Retired Director, U.S.C.G. National Vessel Documentation Center

Beginning with week 21/2013 (19-25 MAY 2013), the USCG Navigation Center (NAVCEN) has received several reports of technical errors with the download and/or display of marine information PDF files from the NAVCEN website. These reports were predominantly regarding Local Notices to Mariners, but also referenced the Summaries of Light List Corrections, and the full-file Light List Updates.

After testing and analysis, it appears that these issues were caused by a particular method in which the LNMs were created using Adobe software. NAVCEN staff have reworked the process for the creation of the LNMs and other marine information PDF files, and have successfully tested the new files on various computer and mobile operating systems, as well as various internet browsers.

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Vision:     Safe, Fun &  Responsible Recreational Boating


Minimize the loss of life, personal injury, property damage and environmental impact while maximizing the safe use and enjoyment of U.S. waterways by recreational boaters. The Safety process is one of “prevention through education, outreach and volunteer compliance” helping recreational boaters to gain a respect for the boating environment. The Safety Committee pursues their mission aggressively through the Vessels Safety Check (VSC) program and cooperation with government and industry partners in promoting safety related initiatives

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