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post #1 of 12 Old 10-26-2006 Thread Starter
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Registration Question

Pardon what may be a stupid question. When is one required to register a boat with a state and when is one required to register a boat with the Coast Guard?
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-26-2006
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USCG documentation is optional, and only is available to US-citizen owned boats with a net displacement of 5 tons or more. Most sailboats over 27 feet qualify for this. USCG documentation has some serious benefits, especially if you plan on sailing in foreign waters, like Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada.

Many states do not require state registration if a boat is USCG documented. Also, USCG documentation is a one-time fee, so if you're planning on keeping the boat a long time, then USCG documentation can be a bit less expensive in the long run.

Some states do require that you get a state registration number, but may have a different fee schedule for USCG documented boats. You really need to check with the state regarding this.

Many foreign countries do not recognize state registered boats, as they have no international status, whereas USCG documented boats are flagged vessels of the United States and are internationally recognized.

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-26-2006 Thread Starter
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Thanks very much.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-26-2006
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No one is required to register or document with the coast guard. Your boat $$ lender may require it as it affords thm additional protection against fraud/default. Most states require registration so they can collect a registration fee from you when you use state based facilities and also to assess personal property and sales tax in many locales. They get ya one way or another!
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-28-2006
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They do, indeed. I acquired a "free" Catalina 22 in 1998. When I went to register it with the Maryland DNR in Annapolis, they calculated the "sales" tax I owed by looking at the Blue Book value of the boat. Got to get that five percent!
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Cam's point about many lenders preferring USCG documentation is a very valid one. Also, if the boat is USCG documented, you can often qualify for a marine mortgage rather than a consumer loan, and the interest is often deductible, as many boats will qualify as a second home—provided they have a permanent galley and full-marine head installed.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #7 of 12 Old 10-28-2006
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Many lenders also require coast guard documentation because they want to charge you several hundred bucks to do it for you. It's very easy to do yourself with the documentation office in West Virginia (thank you Senator Byrd! At least it is in Falling Waters, WV.) Also lots cheaper to do it yourself. The people in the office are very helpful if you call them.

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post #8 of 12 Old 10-28-2006
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Tender Registration

USCG registration is great once you're registered for the first time. I'm not sure how involved the first time registration is because my broker took care of it when I bought my boat. But the renewal is as easy as it gets. CG sends you a letter every year. You sign it and return it to them with no fee! Couldn't be easier. In Massachusetts you don't have to register with state. (Still need to deal with the town for purposes of excise taxes and of course you have pay state sales tax when you bring the boat into Mass. if you bought it out of state.

I have a follow up question to this thread. What about the tender. I have an inflatable dinghy with a 6hp. I've been told that the tender is part of the documented vessel. I have never heard this from an authoritative source. I've had two different harbor masters on Cape Cod stop my while in my dinghy ask me where my Massachusetts registration #s are. I've told them that the dinghy is a tender to my CG registered sloop and that I didn't need Mass. registration for my tender. Both harbor masters just said OK and let me go. So I assume I'm OK would like to know in anyone knows anything about this. (Yes, I can't believe the harbor master's don't have anything better to do than hassle someone in a 6hp dinghy about registrations.
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Actually, the tender is subject to state motorboat regulations, and needs to be state registered according to the USCG.

Quote:
IS THE VESSEL TENDER DOCUMENTED?

Documentation of your vessel does not cover the vessel's tender or dinghy. These craft fall within the jurisdiction of the motorboat numbering laws of the state of principal use. Please contact your state agency that handles the registration or numbering of motorboats for further information

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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
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 12 Old 10-28-2006
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It looks like tenders must be registered if used for other than emergency purposes (at least in North Carolina, I imagine it is similar in all states). Just goes to show you that if you act confident, the laws are so complex that the people enforcing aren't even sure of all the requirements and exemptions.

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/vdoc/faq.htm#23
"IS THE VESSEL TENDER DOCUMENTED?
Documentation of your vessel does not cover the vessel's tender or dinghy. These craft fall within the jurisdiction of the motorboat numbering laws of the state of principal use. Please contact your state agency that handles the registration or numbering of motorboats for further information"

and

https://www.ncwildlife.org/fs_index_01_license.htm
"Ship's lifeboats or dinghies do not need to be registered if they are used only for emergency lifeboat purposes. However, if they are motorized and used for non-emergency purposes, they do require registration."
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