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Old 03-27-2009
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Flag Etiquette/Registry Conundrum

This probably a silly, no brainer question but I keep getting conflicting information so I thought I would ask. There are no stupid questions, right? Please tell me that is so!

My husband will be the listed owner of our boat. We live in Texas, but he is not an American Citizen but is a Brit. We were told that because he is not an American citizen, he can not register the boat as a US vessel. My daughter and I carry US passports and are US citizens. We own a home here in Texas and my husbands visa is renewable indefinitely, which is why we haven't tried to go through the ordeal of getting a Green Card for him( its a major pain in the butt and we are only here for a max of two more years)

We were told that we would have to put the home state on the boat, but not the home port. This seems to be weird advice. Why on earth would you have the state but not the home port?

What flag will we fly? It would seem suspicious to me to have a boat enscribed with a US home port and then to fly a British flag. Sounds like a great way to get boarded non-stop by any and all officials. If we plan on keeping the boat in the states with us for the next year and a half, wouldn't we wait to register it in the UK once we actually move back there?

To quote the immortal Mugatu "I feel like I am taking crazy pills..."
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Old 03-27-2009
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Put the boat in your name, fly the US flag and put the town and state on the transom.
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Old 03-27-2009
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We looked at that option, but putting it in my name ups our insurance by $1200 a year. If that is the only sensible option, then so be it but there are lots of things I'd rather spend $1200 bucks on...like Malbec and Blair Atholl whiskey.
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Been there....

Simple answer...(assuming that Tx is similar to Florida.) Two options;

1. State registration of your vessel with the usual annual state decal and the TX etc. number on the bow.

2. Your husband cannot Document the vessel even if he has a greed card. All owners must be Citizens. He could transfer the vessel over to you but then the transom would have to bear the vessel name and US home port. You would still have to get the annual state decal but you need not have the bow numbers and lettering. The decal goes on a window on the port side of the vessel.

I would recommend option 1. and you can put;

"Willie Wonka" of London on the transom and fly the red duster, but it will attract attention, especially in Texas. I would suggest flying the US flag and keeping your husband below decks.
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Old 03-27-2009
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I'll take option 1 and thank you.
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Old 03-27-2009
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What if the boat is in both your names?

I have dual British/Canadian citizenship, but my wife has sole Canadian citizenship. While I could go through a lot of red tape for the "honour" of flying the Red Duster from my stern, I will happily live with the Canadian ensign and my home port of Toronto.

Interestingly, the Red Ensign is the merchant flag of the United Kingdom, and likely became the de facto civil yachtsmen's ensign due to an old law restricting the use of the Union flag (the familiar Union Jack) strictly to British Navy vessels. Thus Britain is one of the very few countries where the national flag is prohibited as a civilian ensign...it is illegal for a British registered boat to display it at the stern.

Conversely, however, it is permitted to use the Union Jack as a courtesy flag on non-British boats.

The whole lore of flag etiquette is fascinating and frequently bizarre, like learning about a Japanese tea ceremony and the 101 ways to spoil it via a slightly wrong gesture.
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Old 03-27-2009
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Quote:
The whole lore of flag etiquette is fascinating and frequently bizarre, like learning about a Japanese tea ceremony and the 101 ways to spoil it via a slightly wrong gesture.
That is the most apt description I have heard yet.
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Old 03-27-2009
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Valiente-
"What if the boat is in both your names?" Doesn't matter. US federal documentation is available to pleasure craft if and only if a US citizen is at least the 51% owner of the vessel.

You could put the boat in six names and have five of them on the terror watch list, and as long as you could prove that owner #6 was the 51% owner, you could document it with a US flag. But--there's no way to apportion ownership that way for civilians, only a business (i.e. a partnership, or corporation) would normally apportion ownership that way.

Etiquette and regulation are two entirely separate matters. A boat which is state registered (there is no federal boat or car "registration" in the US) is usually allowed to fly a US flag without question or comment. In many states you become a resident AND CITIZEN OF THAT STATE after simply residing there for 30 days. And that has nothing to do with federal citizenship. Tejas? Dunno, that's not America, that's a separate place.(G)
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Old 03-27-2009
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Actually states don't have citizenship only residence. But voting privileges are only extended to residence with US citizenship.
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Old 03-27-2009
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Actually noreault the first sentence of the 14th amendment to the constitution is:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
Splitting hairs but it is observed in the state of California.

Last edited by capttb; 03-27-2009 at 04:36 PM.
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