[alberg30] hailing port

Robert Kirk kirk at neptune.gsfc.nasa.gov
Fri Dec 10 07:02:12 PST 1999

Here's the actual regulation; I had no trouble getting the hailing port, 
"Severna Park MD" across the transom in the required 4" letters. And I 
think the government issue block lettering on the transom looks much more 
elegant than the garish psychedelic  names one sees along the topsides a 
lot. But then I've always been a curmudgeon.  Incidentally, I had a problem 
of where to remount the interior 3" number plaque after putting the solid 
aluminium sisters across the mast brace in the cabin. Wound up putting it 
on the forward bulkhead of the Vee berth.

Bob Kirk
Isobar #181

P.S.  I agree with Gordon White's warning about testing cute names in a 
simulated distress situation before you burden your boat with 
them.  (Muckle Flugga excepted, of course.) But those are probably the same 
folks who paint a  psychedelic name on the side.


Every documented vessel must be marked with its official number, name and 
hailing port.  Operation of a documented vessel without proper markings is 
a violation of U.S.  regulation.  All exterior markings must be in clearly 
legible letters of the Latin alphabet or Roman or Arabic numerals not less 
than four inches in height.


RECREATIONAL VESSEL MARKINGS:  The name and hailing port must be marked 
together on some clearly visible exterior part of the hull.

OFFICIAL NUMBERS:  The six or seven digit official number awarded by the 
U.S. Coast Guard must be permanently marked in block type Arabic numerals 
not less than three (3) inches high on some clearly visible interior 
structural part of the hull.  The number must be preceded by the 
abbreviation "NO.", and must be affixed in a manner which would make 
alteration, removal, or replacement obvious.

F.  HAILING PORT:  Insert name of place and state exactly as it is or will 
be marked on the vessel.  The hailing port must be a place in the United 
States.  Commonly known abbreviations are acceptable. (e.g., NY, NY)

[Up until a few years ago, you either had to choose your mailing address or 
the seat of the Coast Guard District - Norfolk, in my case -  for the 
hailing port. In that way there are a lot of dry land hailing ports. This 
newer rule let's you pick anywhere, so I could choose Annapolis, for 
instance, where Isobar is actually moored, but those stick-on letters are 
still holding well.]


Documented vessels do not display their official numbers on the outside of 
the hull, but are identified by the name and hailing port. The application 
for documentation must include a name for the vessel composed of letters of 
the Latin alphabet or Arabic or Roman numerals and may not exceed 33 
characters. The name may not be identical, actually or phonetically, to any 
word or words used to solicit assistance at sea; may not contain or be 
phonetically identical to obscene, indecent, or profane language, or to 
racial or ethnic epithets. Once established, a vessel's name may not be 
changed without consent of the Coast Guard. There is no rule against 
duplication of names for documented vessels, so hailing ports are helpful 
in identifying vessels. The hailing port, which must be marked on the 
vessel, must be a place in the U. S. and must include the state, territory, 
or possession in which it is located.

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