Important To Vessel Owners - Vessels To Be Numbered. - The Secretary of the Treasury has sent a letter to the collectors of customs at lake ports, which is important to the owners and masters of out lake shipping.
By an act of Congress passed July 28, 1864, the Director of the Bureau of Statistics was required to prepare a statement of vessels registered, enrolled, and licensed under the laws of the United States. Such a list of all merchant vessels has been prepared, by which it appears there are 542 ships, 745 barks, 609 brigs, 8,862 schooners, 2,841 sloops, 46 yachts, 58 long boats, and 2,505 steam vessels. Total tonnage 2,255,504. The tonnage of barges, canal boats and scows amounts to 489,106 tons, and 106,055 tonnage of vessels not classified, making a grand total of 1,300,615.
Under the act above mentioned the Secretary of the Treasury has power to establish a system of numbering vessels so registered, enrolled and licensed, and each vessel so numbered shall have her number deeply carved or otherwise permanently marked on her main beam; and, if at any time she shall cease to be marked, such vessel shall be no longer recognized as a vessel of the United States.
The Collectors of Customs are instructed, that previous to granting a certificate of registry, of enrollment and license, to any vessel of the United States, or previous to granting a license to any registered, enrolled or licensed vessel of the United States, July 1, 1868, her number must be marked on her main beam, in the manner herein prescribed, and endorsed upon the official documents relating to her.
It is designed that the owner or master of a vessel shall affix the official number awarded to his vessel at his own expense; no fees shall be exacted for furnishing a certificate that the same has been done.
The number is required to be marked in the following manner:
On vessels whose main beam is of wood it shall either be carved or branded, in either case, not less than three eighths of an inch nor more than one-half of an inch in depth. On vessels whose main beam is of iron or other metal it shall be marked in oil paint; white if the beam is black; black if the beam is of any other color.
The shape shall be a plain Arabic numeral, thus; No. 1, 865. The size of each numeral composing the number shall in all cases be not less than three inches high.
When the number consists partly of letters, the letters need not be marked upon the vessel, but they must always accompany the numerals where the vessel's name is mentioned upon any writing or document pertaining to her, and coming under the official supervision of any officer of the customs after July 1, 1868.
The main beam of a vessel shall be taken to mean as follows:
On vessels plying the Western rivers, the beam under the after side of the starboard forward hatch; and on all other vessels the beam under the forward side of the main hatch. The number should, when practicable, be marked after the tonnage mark, and should be always prefixed by the abbreviation "No." For example, on the ship Bombay, of Bath, Me., the number would be marked upon her main beam thus:
Tonnage mark. Official number.
955.13 No. 2,065
No clearances will be granted to vessels not numbered, after the first of July next, and vessels whose owners or masters do not comply with the instructions, will not be recognized as belonging to the United States.