A fraudulent website is charging fees for required fishing forms – many are available for FREE from state and federal agencies.
Every year vessel owners must renew documents with the US Coast Guard telling the boat’s name, ownership, tonnage, home port and other information. The cost is $26 – unless you get scammed by a private provider that charges three times as much. Other documents mariner’s must have on hand from state or federal agencies are free.
United Fishermen of Alaska is alerting fishermen to not get or renew any documents from an online company called US Vessel Documentation. DO NOT USE https://commercialfishingpermits.us
Along with the USCG, this website is not affiliated with ADF&G, the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC), or NOAA in any way.
The same scam website surfaced using a different website address about five years ago – uscgdocumentation.us. Both links bring you to the same website (shown above).
Fisherman Norm Hughes of Haines received a letter saying he needed to renew his documents at that website — and paid $150 for a two year renewal.
Read the fine print!
US Vessel Documentation sends the misleading letters to boat owners across the country, said Steve Ramp, formerly with the US Coast Guard in Sitka.
“This company is making themselves look very closely to be an official letter from the Coast Guard when they’re not,” Ramp said. “They’re not doing anything illegal. They’re offering a service to the owners of documented vessels and they are performing that service.”
A disclaimer in small print at the bottom of the company website states “Vessel Documentation Online LLC is NOT the U.S. Coast Guard or the National Vessel Documentation Center; we are a third party private agency that handles USCG Documentation processing for the NVDC.”