How to Change Vessel Name and Hailing Port with NVDC (Explained)

How do I change the hailing port on a documented vessel? How do I change my boat name with the Coast Guard? – We answer these right here!

Changing your Vessel Name and Hailing Port for Coast Guard documented boats

When a boat is documented at the US Coast Guard, it has a unique official number that stays with it for life but the vessel name and hailing port can be changed. In this article, we will explain how to change your vessel name and hailing port.

Although many vessel owners see this process as stressful and long, it can be seamless and fast if you use a broker or know the steps. On this note, let’s understand what a United States Coast Guard documented vessel is all about.

What is a USCG Documented Vessel?

It is a type of vessel that is fully registered with the Federal Government through the United States Coast Guard (NVDC office), instead of being titled or registered by a state. Commercial vessels of 5 net tons must be documented and pleasure vessels of 5 net tons or above 26ft must be documented. For a full explanation see What is USCG Documentation for Vessels | Must know 2022.

Where is the Vessel Name Displayed on a Boat?

One of the numerous requirements of the USCG is that a vessel name must be placed on the exterior part of the hull and must be visible. Some recreational vessels often position the vessel name on both sides of the bow or at the stern. You should also learn How to Name your Boat the RIGHT way.

Where is the Hailing Port Displayed on a boat?

The hailing port of most commercial vessels must be clearly defined and must be placed on the stern or both sides of the vessel. It can also be marked on the exterior part of the hull and should be clear and easy to identify. Read more about How and Where to display USCG Vessel Number.

What is a hailing port?

A USCG vessel hailing port is the name of a port where a documented vessel originates/hails. This home port of the vessel is usually the port in which the managing owner of the vessel lives (nearest to his place of residence). This is very crucial and it’s required by the US Coast Guard law to be painted on the stern of the documented vessels in the USA.  In other words, as a home is to an individual, so does hailing ports means to a vessel.

As a vessel owner, you need to identify your home address or location as part of the vessel documentation. In simple terms, a hailing port is the nearest port closer to the vessel owner or managing owner. It is the home port of a vessel. It is very important to register your vessel and get hold of the ideal documents for future purposes.

Is Hailing Port Required on Boat?

It is compulsory. The United States federal law requires all documented vessels to display a hailing port. A vessel owner must assign a hailing port to be marked in your vessel once you apply for COD (Certificate of Documentation) from the USCG.

Why Should You Put a Home Port on Boat?

This is not optional. It is a major requirement to display a hailing port with the United States Coast Guard. You can choose any U.S. state or city as your hailing port while filling out the CG-1258 application form for vessel documentation. Documented vessel hailing port letter size should be 4 inches and readable from a distance.

Steps to change the vessel name and hailing port

Below are the steps you need to know for how you can change your vessel’s name and hailing port.

1. Make A Decision to Change Your Vessel Hailing Port

One thing you must understand is that the hailing port of a vessel determines the rules and regulations that govern your vessel. You must abide by these rules. Just like vehicle registration, where you register will determine where you should pay tax. This is why it’s always important to register your vessel to the hailing port closer to your residential address.

2. Decide to Choose a Fresh Name For Your Vessel

You don’t have to worry about choosing a unique name for your vessel. You can name your boat, with the boat name you like. You can name your boat after the things that give you joy or attraction. Remember, it’s the only standard alpha and numeric characters you can add to the vessel name. There are some rules to name your boat right.

3. Obtain the Right Information

Get the proper documentation once you have decided to change the hailing port and name. Do ensure you have the right knowledge to help you through the process. The major things you need here are your boat’s official number, vessel name, and the current vessel hailing port. You will also be required to provide the new owner’s name, social security number, tax ID number, and contact information.

4. Fill Out the Required Forms

Now that you have the required information, fill out the CG-1258 form in the appropriate sections. Once you are done filling out the forms. Make sure you cross-check what you have done before you need to send the form to the USCG.

Exchange is the term used when making changes to a COD
Exchange is the term used when making changes to a COD
  • Vessel name change Instructions:
  • Return existing Certificate of Documentation if available.
  • Checks and money orders payable to U.S. Coast Guard, or credit card payments with accompanying CG-7042 Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. (Fees are non-refundable as per 46 CFR 67.500(d).)
  • Documents may be mailed to the NVDC or sent via e-mail to:

What is the home port of a boat? And is it different from the hailing port?

They are different names for the same thing; the home port of a boat is not different from the hailing port. As earlier stated, the hailing port is the place you the vessel owner call home. Since you are the boat owner, you need to write your home address as part of the vessel documentation requirement. The port is the place you originate from.

Vessel Name Search

If you are looking for search for boats using their vessel name, try our free lookup tool here. You can query any vessel name that is documented.

Conclusion – updating Vessel Name and Port

On the final note, we have explained what is a hailing port and the location of a vessel name on the bow. We explained how to change it using the NVDC form.

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