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BoatU.S. Warns of Misleading Renewal Notices

12-Apr-2017

The Consumer Protection Department of BoatU.S. is warning boaters to look carefully at any letters they receive in the mail offering renewal of their U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation. Although the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) does send renewal notices by mail, a number of members have said they received what appeared to be renewal notices that actually led to an unofficial USCG website that charges a significantly higher renewal fee.

BoatU.S. warns that these renewal services are through third-party companies, and their letters and websites can be hard to distinguish from official USCG materials. The renewal process through USCG itself only costs $26 and can be done easily at the USCG National Documentation Center website under “instructions and forms,” here: uscg.mil/nvdc.

To qualify for documentation, a boat must measure at least 5 net tons and usually be owned by a U.S. citizen. Boats that are roughly 27-feet in length or longer generally meet this requirement.

Boaters can file a consumer complaint about this or other misleading companies at my.boatus.com/consumer/dispute.asp.

McGard