If your boat is federally documented — as opposed to simply being registered in your state — expect to start paying a new $26 annual fee to renew. The fees are based on the actual costs of processing nearly a quarter million renewals annually. You can read exactly how they determined the cost of the fee HERE, but we’d suggest getting a cup of coffee or a Red Bull before you do.
"This doesn’t seem like a big fee if they ran the Vessel Documentation Center in a more efficient way," says reader Tom Jeremiason. "By going to an online system, they’d save money on postage and paper. Another way to streamline would be to extend non-commercial/recreational vessel renewals from one to five years."
We’ve received a few other emails from readers upset about the new fee but we’re having a hard time getting too worked up over it. Not only does it seem very reasonable but, quite honestly, we’ve always been a little surprised that the feds don’t charge for annual renewals. It’s also interesting to note that the current fee structure for obtaining a Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation was put in place back in 1993! Nevertheless, if you feel strongly about the issue, you can comment at the link above until May 3.