NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com/PressRoom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
Official-Looking Vessel Documentation Renewal Notices Can Lead to Confusion and Higher Costs
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ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 6, 2017 – Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) Consumer Protection Department is advising boaters with vessels having a US Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation to be wary of any letter arriving by US mail offering renewal. An increasing number of BoatUS members have complained that these letters direct them to websites that may be mistaken for the actual US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Center located in Falling Waters, West Virginia, and appear to show a significant increase in the annual fee to renew US Coast Guard (USCG) documentation.
BoatUS advises that while the USCG does send official annual renewal notices by US mail, other notices being received by members are not from the USCG but rather third-party companies whose name or return addresses may appear similar to that of the official USCG Vessel Documentation Center. Members of the half-million boat owners group report the letters look like “real” USCG communications. Some examples members have forwarded to BoatUS do not have any disclaimers noting that they are not official USCG correspondence.
While third-party companies may legitimately provide services to assist with vessel documentation renewals, the USCG’s own renewal process is simple for most vessels and the price, $26, is often much lower than what third-party services may charge. To renew, go to the USCG National Documentation Center website at www.uscg.mil/nvdc and click on “instructions and forms.”
To be documented, a vessel must measure at least 5 net tons and, with the exception of certain oil-spill response vessels, owned by a US citizen. Boats about 27 feet in length or longer generally meet the weight requirement.
If boat owners wish to file a consumer complaint about this or any other boating-related advertisement or company, BoatUS welcomes boaters to visit https://my.boatus.com/consumer/dispute.asp and click on “send us a complaint” button.
BoatUS also advises boaters who may have received mail that they believe is misleading or deceptive may contact the US Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 or through its website https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov.
BoatUS warns boaters to be wary of letters arriving offering renewal of USCG documentation https://goo.gl/ZZVQY9 #BoatUS
About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):
Celebrating 50 years, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with more than a half-million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins. On the water, TowBoatUS brings boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, 24/7. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need. We help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.