The United States Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) has announced that the NVDC will begin issuing temporary Certificates of Documentation (COD) in response to applications for initial issue of CODs or for the reissue/exchange of CODs.
Because the NVDC gives priority to commercial vessels, the backlog on applications for recreational vessel CODs have been as long as six to eight months. This is an extended amount of time to wait for a document that the law requires to be carried aboard the vessel while operating.
NVDC’s solution is to issue a temporary COD in response to applications. These CODs are subject to revocation or replacement when the NVDC gets around to giving a full review of the application. While this temporary solution sounds good, we have yet to see how promptly the NVDC will issue the temporary CODs. The solution also does not address the root problem of the NVDC: not having sufficient manpower to timely process documentation applications.
Now, under the new program, the application will be reviewed twice: A preliminary review for issuance of the temporary COD, followed by the normal, complete review at a later time. Until the sequester is lifted and NVDC can hire additional documentation officers, NVDC is just kicking the can down the road. Hopefully, it will provide temporary relief for recreational boaters in the meantime.
The USCG announcement can be found here.