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Old 05-01-2007
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Registering vs Documenting in Michigan

All -

We are about to close on a boat and I am curious to what you all think on registering vs. documenting?

Our finance guy is offering to do the documenting for $550.

However I read somewhere I can do it for around $100, is this true?

Anyone on the great lakes have any suggestions?

Thanks for your help!
J.R.
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Old 05-01-2007
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Many of the States require you to register, even if you document your boat.
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Old 05-01-2007
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I had no problems

With a little study I believe anyone can do their own documentation. I think the documentation fee for my do-it-yourself effort was $87 plus $10 for the title search, so $100 is pretty close. I'll be happy to assist you with yours for $550!
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Old 05-01-2007
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Typically you should do both. The documentation will designate you as the owner and your state probably requires registration. Most people do not put the reg numbers on the hull from what i have seen.
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Old 05-01-2007
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That's awfully expensive, but if he takes care of all the paperwork, it may be worth it... especially if there were any liens on the boat against the previous owner. I believe that the USCG charges a bit more than $100, but don't remember the exact amount.

If you're going to be sailing in foreign waters, and Canada does count as foreign waters nowadays, being documented is generally better than be state registered. Also, in some states, like Massachusetts, there is no need to register the boat with the state if it is USCG documented, so if you're keeping the boat a longer period of time, it can be cheaper to document it. Finally, some financing for boats are actually marine mortgages, and as such have better financing terms, but generally require the boat be documented.
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I33 -

I am reading through the USCG page and I am a little confused. If I buy a used boat from a marina, what documentation applications will I need to pay/use?

Thanks for all of your help guys!
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Old 05-01-2007
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This should answer some questions:
Documenting your Boat - The FAQs - Nautical Know How
You can do it! The only reason to do it is if you are visiting other countries or if your finance company reuqires it. Otherwise stick with state registration as you will need to state register anyway and it is cheaper and easier!
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So if we do not intend to travel outside of the country, registering will be fine for the short-term?
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Old 05-01-2007
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Our lender required the boat to be USCG documented. It had always been documented since the original owner, so this was relatively easy. All we needed to do was fill out the form for ownership transfer.

In RI, registration is required, regardless of documentation. However, we chose not to display stickers and registration numbers on the hull.
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In Massachusetts registration is not required if the vessel is documented (at least that is my understanding). We paid $385 to document the vessel and there is no yearly renewal fee. So each year the cost of documentation is being reduced.
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