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  #1  
Old 03-07-2010
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Non-title state/registration question

In my getting ready to go get a title for our new-to-us boat, I found that I live in a state (NH) that apparently does not title watercraft. It looks like we'll probably have to register the boat in MA since that looks like it's going to be the waters we sail in. MA titles boats.

Has anyone had experience in living in a non-title state and needing to get registration in a title state? I have the current title (from MA), a bill of sale and a probate court notice stating that the person who signed the title over is legally able to do so (the PO is deceased).
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Old 03-07-2010
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Go into the MA and pay the sales tax, 6.25%, and the state will be happy to register your boat. I'm not sure if MA does boat titles, I've never had one..

If it is documentated, they'll skip the registration, but still take your money. See REGISTRATION INFORMATION
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Old 03-07-2010
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Shouldn't be a problem. Where were you thinking of registering the boat? Have you thought of USCG documenting it instead???
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My research in where to put the boat in the water (when it's ready to) nudges me towards Salem; moorings can be purchased outright rather inexpensively, comparing to renting one from a marina or club. Renting a slip is way too expensive for us, even for just a 27 foot boat.

At the moment, the boat is by Buzzards Bay. I've looked from Portland, ME down to Boston and Salem seems to have a couple mooring possibilities that are affordable. It's ~90 minutes from us, which is about what it'd take to get to Portsmouth, Hampton, or Newburyport too and not as far out on Cape Ann as say, Gloucester. On the other hand, pending finding out prices for a boatyard and transportation and what not, we may end up just staying where we are; it's about a 2 hour drive.

Anyhoo, that's a long way of saying we will 99.9% of the time be in Mass. waters. So I know I'll have to register the boat there. I am just surprised as not having to have a title for the boat in NH; seems the easiest way to prove ownership. I guess the other documentation will serve.

And no, I hadn't considered documenting. I'm not famliar with the process. What are the pros/cons? (she said, making a note to google it)
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Old 03-08-2010
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I live in NH. The boat I bought was in Maryland. I planned to keep the boat in MD for a year, so I titled and registered the boat there (and paid the MD sales/use tax) - no problem being from out of state. The boat is now documented with USCG, registered in NH (I don't keep it in MD anymore), and it still has the MD title (I don't think the title expires, until I sell the boat, or possibly move it to another state that wants me to title it there, although I think the USCG documentation would trump the MD state title in that case anyway).
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Come on down to Buzzards Bay. There's a lot of great places to go from Buzzards Bay, including the Elizabeth Islands, Cuttyhunk (which is one of them), Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, Newport, just to name a few places that you can easily get to from Buzzards Bay.

USCG documentation is fairly inexpensive, and very easy to do if the boat was USCG documented previously. It is easy to do if the boat was only titled previously. The costs are less than $200 IIRC, and they are a ONE TIME ONLY cost...not paid annually as required with state registration and titling. An additional benefit, at least in Massachusetts is you don't have to have the ugly sticker and bow numbers on your boat.

Other benefits included uSCG documentation provides additional privileges when travelling in foreign waters, which may not recognize state registration. So, if you want to go down to the Bahamas or up to Canada, that becomes a bit simpler

The catch is that the boat has to be owned by a US citizen.

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Originally Posted by daydreamer92 View Post
My research in where to put the boat in the water (when it's ready to) nudges me towards Salem; moorings can be purchased outright rather inexpensively, comparing to renting one from a marina or club. Renting a slip is way too expensive for us, even for just a 27 foot boat.

At the moment, the boat is by Buzzards Bay. I've looked from Portland, ME down to Boston and Salem seems to have a couple mooring possibilities that are affordable. It's ~90 minutes from us, which is about what it'd take to get to Portsmouth, Hampton, or Newburyport too and not as far out on Cape Ann as say, Gloucester. On the other hand, pending finding out prices for a boatyard and transportation and what not, we may end up just staying where we are; it's about a 2 hour drive.

Anyhoo, that's a long way of saying we will 99.9% of the time be in Mass. waters. So I know I'll have to register the boat there. I am just surprised as not having to have a title for the boat in NH; seems the easiest way to prove ownership. I guess the other documentation will serve.

And no, I hadn't considered documenting. I'm not famliar with the process. What are the pros/cons? (she said, making a note to google it)
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If you don't plan to splash the boat very soon, you can easily pay the sales tax and title fee, obtain the title from Mass. and have time to put it through the USCG documentation process. Just a thought.
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Old 03-08-2010
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A NH or MA registration along with a bill of sale would be enough to prove ownership if you ever go to sale the vessel. Most things are not titled and the word boat can be applied to canoes as well as ocean liners. In fact, up until recently the state of Georgia didn't title car over ten years old. Last I knew Alabama still doesn't require a titles for cars or motorcycles over ten years old.

So a valid state registration and notarized bill of sale would work in most states if you ever sale the boat.
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I did something very similar to what you are planning. I live in NH, bought a boat from Maine (non title state) and have a mooring in Mass so the boat is registered there.

The MA registration website will tell you exactly what you need to bring which is a bill of sale and a previous registration plus a few other things not related to the ownership. As a NH resident, you do not have to pay sales tax. However, for MA to accept that, you will need a NH registration in your name. I would recommend registering the boat in NH, then sending in your NH registration and the bill of sale to MA who will register you without sales tax. You just won't ever do anything with the NH registration. When the MA registration comes, they include a title.
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