This received from one of our members:
An FYI for anyone who has their vessel documented. Today I received a letter from Maratime Documentation Service (MDS) in Montana reminding me that my boat documentation is due for renewal. It gives a phone number and email address for renewal. I called the USCG documentation center in West Virginia and was told this company, while legit, charges 3 times the normal renewal fee to process your renewal for you. The process takes me 2 minutes to do on my own when I get the official USCG renewal letter from the WV center. MDS also claim (for 3 times the standard yearly cost times 3) to handle your renewal for 3 years automatically even though the USCG documentation center only does annual renewals. The gentleman I talked to at the documentation center says he has had multiple people call to complain that their multi year renewal was not processed. That’s not the documentation center’s fault. While MDS is a legit business according to the USCG, to me it smells like a scam to be charged 3X the official rate for a “service” that takes a boat owner 2 minutes plus the cost of a stamp. You are also giving up your personal information and credit or debit card information. I got this scam like letter 4 months before my documentation was due for renewal. Save yourself some money and wait for the renewal letter from the real documentation renewal center.