California dinghy registration madness - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 24 Old 10-16-2013 Thread Starter
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California dinghy registration madness

I still can't quite believe this happened today.

I have an old Achilles dinghy, with a Yamaha 2 stroke. The engine is great but the dinghy's getting a bit long in the tooth, so I bought a new Zodiac Compact RIB from Defender. It arrived yesterday, all is good - or so I thought. Enter the California DMV.

I went to the DMV office today to register the boat, but here is what transpired :

If you are registering a new boat, and you tick "motorised", the system INSISTS on an EPA 3 star emissions tag. The one attached to a new outboard, but not to a 25 year-old Yamaha.

The only solution I could come up with, was to register the dinghy as "powered by oars".

The staff even implied that I would be breaking the law now to use any outboard with the boat, as the reg says powered by oars.

They also made me go away, fill out a completely new form but with "powered by oars" and not "motorised" ticked, take a new number, and start again.

Can it be true that you can't register a new dinghy without a new engine with it?

Can it also be true that you can't put an outboard on a dinghy that has, up to now, been powered by oars?

Or could it be that the people I encountered were just plain wrong. They were certainly unhelpful, inflexible, and borderline rude.

I feel like I've just spent the morning in a George Orwell novel, or maybe Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay
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post #2 of 24 Old 10-16-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: California dinghy registration madness

Found some info myself :

It seems they had no idea what they were talking about.

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/vehindustry/v...08/08vin08.pdf

(and don't know the difference between an inboard/outboard(sterndrive), and an outboard)

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post #3 of 24 Old 10-16-2013
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California dinghy registration madness

as long as its got regi numbers on the side and you have PFD's onboard no one will bother you.l lifes to short. enjoy yr new dinghy and good old two stroke power plant !!
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post #4 of 24 Old 10-16-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: California dinghy registration madness

Excellent advice.

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post #5 of 24 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: California dinghy registration madness

Venting sure helps.

I vote for unhelpful, inflexible, and borderline rude.

Although, I wonder at the number of ding dongs they must have to deal with everyday........
and try to understand.
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post #6 of 24 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: California dinghy registration madness

so you have a dingy that is registered to be powered by oars. got to love this state.
this is from the DMV

The following vessels do not have to be registered in California:
Vessels propelled solely by oars or paddles.
Nonmotorized sailboats that are eight feet or less in length.
Nonmotorized surfboards propelled by a sail and with a mast that the operator must hold upright.
A ship’s lifeboat (a dinghy is not a lifeboat).
Vessels currently and lawfully numbered (registered) by another state that are principally used outside California.
Vessels brought into California for racing purposes only (exempted only during races and tune-ups).

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Re: California dinghy registration madness

I'm in a similar, wait for it..............boat. I have a 90's era Avon Redcrest that I wish to power with a 70's era Evinrude OB.
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post #8 of 24 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: California dinghy registration madness

still hopping someone will have the answer. years ago we used our kite sailing dingy with an outboard and never had a problem. we now use an inflatable which was registered as a boat with no motor before we got the 2.5 hp outboard which we have used for two years and never have been stopped by the sherif so don't know what would happen. mostly all they are looking for are if you have PFD's for everyone on board.

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post #9 of 24 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: California dinghy registration madness

The California DMV, oh my God!!, I feel your pain. I have been successful in registering boats & new cars, bought in Nevada, by mail. At times it is painful, but not nearly as much as going there in person. Make sure you make copies of everything before mailing. It takes a long time but is worth it.

I doubt if putting a small motor on a small boat that is registered as
"Oars only" would create much of a problem as long as you meet the safety standards. If you were stopped, just politely say "I didn't know"

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post #10 of 24 Old 10-24-2013
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If your dinghy is a tender for your sailboat you don't need to register with the DMV... Correct me if I'm wrong.
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