SSECN posted warnings about this misleading documentation renewal promotion several weeks ago and were immediately served threat of legal action by the California company. We promptly and reluctantly withdrew our posting. Thank you BoatUS for taking up the gauntlet!
NEWS From BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria VA 22304
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
BoatUS Consumer ALERT:
Official-Looking Vessel Documentation Renewal Notices Can Lead to Confusion and Higher Costs
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 http://my.boatus.com/consumer/dispute.asp and click on “send us a complaint” button.
Boaters 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.