I doubt they can force you to register a USCG documented boat that is from another state just because you've brought it into the state's waters, unless you've been there over 90 days... My boat is USCG documented, but not state registered, since Massachusetts doesn't require you to state register a documented boat.
From the Massachusetts state website
Boats exempt from registration requirements include those that do not use motors, and documented vessels (large boats that are issued a marine document and registration through the U.S. Coast Guard). Vessels used solely by a city, county, state, or federal agency will be issued a certificate of registration and number at no charge.
If your vessel is registered in another state then you have 90 days in FLorida (probably a lot more unless you are unlucky or scrupulously honest) before you have to get it registered in this state, however, if your vessel is only documented, then the new law requires that you get it registered with the state in order to use FLorida waters. There is no 90-day grace period for that. Please check with my friends at FWC before you smash me down. I work with them often, and they are very helpful... on the phone, anyway.
In my first-hand, personal experience, the FWC, and the local Charlotte county and Lee County sheriffs have always notified the vessel owners of the new law and given them a written warning. I have only heard (from FWC officers) that they have issued fines to some boaters. It may be that those boaters 'talked their way into a ticket.' I have seen that happen a few times to belligerent captains (but for other issues).
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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