For vessels over 300 gross tons, COFRs are mandatory. The COFR is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility. This is to protect you and to protect the environment against oil spills that can cost extensive damages that some vessels do not have the finances to cover. You can fill out the ECOFR application online to ensure that you have the mandatory certificates.
Who Has to Have a COFR?
There are no exceptions to the gross 300-ton rule when it comes to vessels that require the Certificate of Financial Responsibility. If you want to operate within the Exclusive Economic Zone in the US, you have to have one. In addition, if you are lighter than 300 tons and happen to be shipping oil, then you also have to have the COFR. This is to protect US waters from being unable to pay for pollution to the water and to hold vessels responsible.
Do not think that the COFR is something that you can legally get away without having. If you don’t have it, you may be denied entry to your destination. Fortunately, the application form is easy enough. All you have to do is go onto the USCG website and follow the instructions on the application process. You can fill it all out electronically with the ECOFR.