It seems to be not very widely known, but recreational vessels can now renew their USCG certificates of documentation for a five year period.
It’s totally worth it, as it saves you from dealing with the paperwork every year–and is especially handy for those on extended voyages.
The renewal fee is $26 for each year of renewal desired (i.e., $130 for five years).
Note that currently, the multi-year option is not available with online renewal. To get a multi-year renewal, you must submit USCG Form CG-1280 by mail and pay by credit card (by including Form CG-7042) or by check. In either case, you must make a note on the CG-7042 (annotate additional fees paid for years 2-5 in block marked “Other” and amount paid) or the check’s memo of how many years you are renewing.
See the complete instructions for renewal here.
Update: As of January 1, 2022, five-year renewal is now the only option available to recreational vessels. Shorter renewals—in particular one year—are no longer offered.