Documenting a Vessel - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 1 Old 12-30-2001 Thread Starter
Contributing Authors
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 536
Thanks: 0
Thanked 11 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 18
Documenting a Vessel

I've been told that I can avoid annual registration fees, if I "document" my boat. Have also been told that my vessel will not be subject to US laws, but could also be refused entry into US waters. What's the true story and what are the ups and downs?

Sue & Larry respond:
The subject of vessel documentation usually pops up when boaters are discussing ways to circumvent paying annual registration fees, property taxes, or sales tax on their boats. Unfortunately, documentation does not exempt a vessel from compliance with federal or individual state laws or regulations. For instance, with our documented boat Serengeti, we still had to pay state sales tax upon purchase to the state of Florida, and must register it annually as we spend a lot of time in the state each year. The only way we know to circumvent sales tax or annual fees is to move from state to state or out of the country frequently. As for re-entry into the US, documentation will probably help rather than harm you in this respect as you’ll be in the Coast Guard data base.

To document a boat in US waters, it first must be five net tons or more. This usually translates to a boat length of 30 feet or greater. The boat must be owned by a US citizen or a corporation that meets certain requirements. A documented boat must clearly display its name and hailing port along with state in a single location and in letters of a minimum specified size. Your official documentation number must be permanently marked on a structural part of the boat. The intent here is that if a boat were stolen, and the numbers removed, it would be obvious that they had been removed.

Documentation provides several advantages. First, it easily identifies your boat to US or foreign authorities. It also means that bills of sale, mortages, and other title information are recorded with federal officials. This helps to provide a clear chain of ownership for a vessel. Here's hoping this information assists you.

Sue & Larry is offline  
Closed Thread

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is Off
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome