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Vessel Determinations

Vessel Determinations


On occasion, State law enforcement agencies, manufacturers or other interested parties will ask the Coast Guard what laws and regulations apply to a particular device being used, or considered for use, on the water. The Coast Guard's first step is to determine whether or not the particular device in question is a "vessel". The process begins with the definition of the word vessel found in 1 USC 3, which is: "The word "vessel" includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water."

The following have been determined to be vessels by the Coast Guard.
  • Gold Dredges
  • Paddleboard
  • Argo-Amphibious ATV
  • Kiteboard
  • Float Tubes

This determination is limited to the application of regulations administered by the U.S. Coast
Guard and does not reflect the opinion of any other department or agency of the federal
government. You are encouraged to seek the advice of private counsel and/or the agency
administering the particular program(s) with which you are concerned.