USCG Towing Regulations - SailNet Community
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post #1 of Old 09-02-2008 Thread Starter
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USCG Towing Regulations

I have recently acquired a project boat close (~25 mi by water) to where I live. The boat is currently in a slip with a wrecked engine (along with quite a few other issues). My plan is to tow the boat up to a yard near my house, have the boat hauled, and trucked to my workshop area.

Here is the issue: The boat is USCG documented but the current documentation has expired. I would rather not update the documentation right now since I anticipate the boat will be on the hard for the next ~3 years.

My questions are:

1. Does the boat need to be documented if it has no (working) engine and is under tow?

2. Does anyone know the required gear/documents I would need to have on board a boat under tow.

Additional details that may be important: She's a 37ft Sloop ~ 18,000lbs currently in Maryland on the Bay.

I am trying to avoid a fine or any other trouble with the river police or the CG. Any info would be great. Thanks.
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post #2 of Old 09-02-2008
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Welcome to sailnet 'future sailor'!

Sorry I can't be of much help, but I was just wondering if there is a special reason for why you don't just move the boat overland to your workshop from where it is, instead of towing it across water & land?

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post #3 of Old 09-02-2008 Thread Starter
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Cost

It will be much cheaper to tow it myself up the bay and then have it trucked 3 miles rather than paying to have it trucked for ~35 miles.

Good question though, if it is going to be a hassle for me to tow it i may consider trucking it the whole way.

Thanks.
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post #4 of Old 09-02-2008
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Documentation requirements can be found in many threads here on sailnet, you can find them by putting "USCG documentation" in the search window and hitting go, or you can research the source here: 2001 CFR Title 45, Volume 4

The unasked question is, if you boat is not currently documented, then is it registered?

It must be one or the other even without mechanical propulsion. By the way, my reading of the regulations is it doesn't matter if the boat has working engines, it will still be considered a boat with mechanical propulsion.

Documenting a boat is cheap and easy, renewal is free. It literally serves no purpose at all to delay until you re-float it.
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post #5 of Old 09-02-2008
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Just keep in mind that renewing the documentation could take a couple of months. I sent in the paperwork and check to transfer documentation on my boat about this time last year, and it was late October before I got the paperwork back.
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post #6 of Old 09-02-2008
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Why would a boat being towed need to be documented? There is no requirement in the US for a boat to be documented. Get it registered in Maryland and go.

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post #7 of Old 09-02-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Why would a boat being towed need to be documented? There is no requirement in the US for a boat to be documented. Get it registered in Maryland and go.
Precisely, it doesn't have to be documented, but it does have to be registered as an auxiliary powered sailboat. It's one or the other, or both - but not nothing.
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post #8 of Old 09-03-2008
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If you're planning on eventually documenting the boat anyways, it would probably make sense to do it now...since the cost for documentation is a one time cost, and will probably go up in the future, not down. Re-newing the documentation, once you've done it is very easy...simply faxing a form into the USCG...

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post #9 of Old 09-03-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses.

I managed to get through to the coast guard and as far as I can tell, a vessel under tow does not need to be documented or registered.

And, for the record, the boat is already documented, the documentation has lapsed for this year though. I plan on updating but I want to move the boat really soon and I'm assuming I won't get the paperwork through in time.

Thanks
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post #10 of Old 09-03-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Documenting a boat is cheap and easy, renewal is free. It literally serves no purpose at all to delay until you re-float it.
When I bought my current boat last summer, it was documented. I was told the fee for transferring the documentation to a new owner is $600. I chose to cancel the documentation (free) -- one motivation for having a documented vessel is that some folks think they will be able to avoid the sales tax required to get it registered with the state. In my case I wanted it tied up in a town slip and I can't do that without state registration.

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