When I first bought my Westsail 32, I was interested in her history and as she was documented with the USCG I went to their website to find out more. Well it turns out that for $15, you can get all the information that they have about your boat sent to you.
They sent me 6 pages, mostly from State registration in Florida, Mississippi and Maryland. It lists the prior owner, address, and whether or not there is a loan on the boat, amount of loan, and which mortgage company has the loan along with dates. All public information. In fact, if a boat is documented, you can search online for it and get the current information. The website is at
If you try it using my boat name Onapua, this is what you will get.
The USCG only started the system back in 1980, so because my Boat was built in 1974 in Costa Mesa, California, all they have for my boat is the first owner, Lewis A. Gerrard and it's name Aotea and the fact that it was registered in Maryland. In 1979, it was sold to Robert and Patricia Packer in Mississippi and renamed Gimli. In 1994 it was sold to Michael and Ann Feely in Florida and renamed Munchkin. In 2000 to Jonathan and Carol Pearce somewhere up north and renamed Endurance. In 2009 to Craig Hopkins in Florida and finally me in 2013 when I renamed her Onapua. Anyway, what I am getting around to is the fact that one of the Gimli previous owners, contacted me and came and visited the boat yesterday.
It was great to hear all about the boat in it's early years.
There are also other sources, for instance the Westsail website says that my boat circumnavigated. I still don't know much about this and Bud Taplin who knows most things about Westsail doesn't know. I would also like to know how the boat got from California to Maryland.
If your boat is not documented with the USCG, it may be possible to look up other registration databases. Different jurisdictions operate differently and it is just a matter of searching and hopefully finding what you you are looking for. In these days with privacy issues, it is almost scary about how much information is available online about you.
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