On Sept. 22, 2021, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the Uniform Certificate of Title Act for Vessels (Docket USCG-2018-0160 in regulations.gov).
In the notice, the Coast Guard proposes changes to its regulations for certifying a State's titling system for undocumented vessels to increase States' participation in the Vessel Identification System (VIS). The proposed changes would allow States that have adopted the recommendations of the model Uniform Certificate of Title Act for Vessels to certify their titling provisions with the Coast Guard. Once certified and participating in the VIS, a State is able to confer preferred mortgage status on financial instruments that apply to undocumented vessels, which benefits the owners of those vessels. The most significant proposed change would be to implement a system of “branding” (permanently marking) titles for vessels that have sustained structural damage. This would help prevent a process known as “title washing,” where severe vessel damage is concealed by transferring the title to a different State.
The deadline for public comment was Nov. 22, 2021.
NASBLA and NCCUSL comments as submitted to the docket on regulations.gov.
UPDATE: On June 6, 2022, the Coast Guard published the Final Rule, available at https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-11995
Page last updated June 2022