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Old 01-27-2011
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Originally Posted by GeorgeDog View Post
Why would you do both?
I bought the boat in Maryland. Because I wasn't planning to move the boat out of Maryland within 90 days (or whatever the limit is there), I had to register the boat in Maryland. Because the seller's documentation was invalidated by the sale, and I had chosen to re-document the boat on my own at my leisure, the state required that I title the boat with them when I registered it. This paper work (state title and registration) was handled by the broker at the time of the sale. I suppose if I had pursued the re-documentation right away after the purchase, and had it in hand before the deadline for registering the boat, I could have avoided titling the boat with the state.

Originally Posted by Yountman
I have owned a few boats with CF #'s (california DMV registration) but never a documented boat. So, what exactly is the difference? is one better than the other?
Most states will require you to register the boat with the state, regardless of whether it is documented (a few states do not require documented boats to also be registered with the state). Most of these states do not, however, require documented boats to display the registration numbers on the bow like you would be required to do on an undocumented boat. Many states do require documented boats to display their registration validation sticker on the bow, though.

The advantages of documentation are that it is a form of title that is recognized across the country, even around the world. Since not all states issue titles to boats, state titles are not universally recognized the way federal documentation is.This is why lenders financing expensive boats will require the boat to be documented -- so that they can record their lien! Also if you ever sail internationally, state registration might not hold any meaning for some foreign authorities, whereas the federal documentation does mean something to them. As mentioned above, in a few states the fact that the boat is federally documented means you don't have to register the boat with the state. Many people choose to document their boat simply for the aesthetic reason of not having to show their state registration numbers on their bow!
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Last edited by catamount; 01-27-2011 at 12:09 PM.
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