AVDA was incorporated on February 10, 1995 as a California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation. The organizational meeting was held in Fort Lauderdale, FL on February 18, 1995 and was attended by 22 vessel documentation services from 14 states.

The long-overdue establishment of AVDA was in response to the centralization of the Coast Guard documentation offices to West Virginia and the need for formalization of the professional status of more than 50 documentation services in the United States.

Members are a select group from the marine industry sponsored by an Active Member of AVDA and approved by the Board of Directors . AVDA has three classes of membership, Active, Associate and Affiliate. A five-member board made up of Active Members representing each section from the East, West, and Central United States, and are elected for a two-year term. Annual meetings are held in attractive settings around the country. They offer interesting and challenging guest speakers, interaction with Coast Guard representatives to define and implement legislative matters and afford networking among members to enhance the vessel documentation profession.

Membership applications can be obtained by calling 888-832-AVDA (2832) or by clicking on the application link.