US Coast Guard documented boats
Larger recreational boats owned by U.S. citizens may (at the option of the owner) be documented by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) instead of being titled with the state. Please visit the United States Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center or call the USCG at 1-800-799-8362 for more information. Federally documented boats operating on Wisconsin waters must also be registered in Wisconsin if Wisconsin is the state of principle use or if the boat has been used in Wisconsin for a period in excess of 60 consecutive days; only exceptions being documented commercial fishing vessels with a home port located outside of Wisconsin operating on Wisconsin waters for 60 consecutive days or less.
The expiration decals must be displayed on either side of the vessel’s name on the transom, but it is not required to display the registration number. If the expiration decals are not displayed beside the vessel’s name, then the registration number and decals must be displayed as they are for undocumented vessels.
Applications for registration of federally documented vessels must include as part of the application a photocopy of the front and back of the federal certificate of documentation for the vessel. The federal certificate of documentation must be current at the time of applying for registration.
If you purchase a vessel that was previously documented by the US Coast Guard and you intend to title the vessel in Wisconsin, you will need to submit the letter of deletion from the previous owner(s), showing the vessel was deleted from the USCG registry.