obtaining a title for an abandoned boat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-24-2010 Thread Starter
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obtaining a title for an abandoned boat

Has anyone out there in Florida ever obtained a title for an abandoned boat that did not have a HIN on the boat? According to Florida Wildlife Commission it is not possible to obtain a title. According to the Florida Statutes it says after a waiting 90 days you can. So, I am confused. If you have accomplished this feat please let me know the steps I need to take.

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Coy
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-24-2010
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Second post?

I may have you confused with another poster.

Have you checked with the boat's manufacturer? Another post suggested that.

There are typically hidden HIN numbers like on autos. Not sure how long they have been doing this however. The manufacturer may only want to release this information to a state or law enforcement agency.

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Originally Posted by coyemory View Post
Has anyone out there in Florida ever obtained a title for an abandoned boat that did not have a HIN on the boat? According to Florida Wildlife Commission it is not possible to obtain a title. According to the Florida Statutes it says after a waiting 90 days you can. So, I am confused. If you have accomplished this feat please let me know the steps I need to take.

Thanks,

Coy
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-24-2010 Thread Starter
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Same person, I have called Tartan. There isn't anyone there that was there during the 70s to answer that questions. Hidden HIN were mandated in the August 1984 time frame but I can't find anyone that tell me if Tartan would have a hidden on a mid 70s Tartan T34C.

Someone sent me the Florida Statutes about lost and abandoned cars/boats/etc and it seems to say that after a 90 period, advertisments and signs a title can be issued. However when I called FWC they said no way a title will ever be issued for a boat without a HIN. I am aware that prior to November 1972 HINs were not mandated.

Consequently I am looking for someone that has had a title issued for a boat that does not have a HIN or one that the HIN was removed.

Sorry for the confusion,

Coy
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-24-2010
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Do you have a state registration number?
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-25-2010 Thread Starter
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I dont have any numbers. Doesn't appear that there were ever any numbers on the bow May have been USCG document but I can't find it in their database going by the name Sherpa and the hailing port of Port St. Lucie
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-25-2010
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You could call HSMV, since they seem to be another link in the chain. Or maybe it is time to have a consult with a maritime lawyer. I'm pretty sure they are about as common as palmetto bugs down there. ;-)
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-25-2010
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Call a local repo company. You can probably work a deal so that they will take possession of the boat for Ninety days then sale it back to you for cheap. In FL repo lots have an easier time pulling new titles. But unless the boat was abandoned years and years ago there should be an old registration sticker on it some where. There's a registration number on the sticker. You can use that to request a copy of the VIN as well as the last registered owners name and address.

!! WARNING !! The above information is to be used by intelligent people only. If you are Stupid, could be considered a moron, or otherwise. You are instructed to disregard this information and seek the help of a licensed and bonded professional.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-26-2010
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Coy, it would be easier to look into this is you supplied some particulars.

Is there evidence that a HIN was removed? Or does it appear to have a clean transom that simply never had one? Can you identify the boat as being pre-1972, in which case there probably never was a HIN, or a later model which must have been built with one?

Is there any sign of a registration sticker, or documentation number? The latter would be prominently carved or marked into the boat someplace, or there would be evidence of it being removed, if the boat was dumped.

Is the boat on private property? In a yard, that might have records and file a lien on it? Fill us in...Sailnet won't charge you extra by the word.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-26-2010 Thread Starter
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There is evidence of grinding on the upper starboard part of the stern. I believe the boat was USCG documented because it doesn't appear to have ever had a FL number on the bow. The name on the boat is Sherpa and the hailing port is Port St. Lucie, FL. I have looked at the web site forUSCG but can't find this boat by just using the name. I understand what you are saying about a pre 1972 boat. Looking at research says it is a 1974 or 1975 but i could be wrong.

I did not see any evidence of a registration sticker or document number the 2 times I have been on or around the boat. USCG has also been all over this boat trying to determine ownership. There are a couple of decals with a large C that says US Recreational Vessel on the mast with a serial number of C0215122 on both of the decals. I have been told that this is a Luxury Tax decal and probably not traceable. There is also a USBOAT sticker on the boat but no identification numbers on it.

The boat is at a marina after having been towed from a cove where it was damaging another boat after being abandoned. Thanks for your reply, I am in NC and planning one more trip to go over the entire boat with a fine toothed comb as a last ditch effort. I have been in contact with Tartan to inquire about a hidden HIN but nobody from the 70s still works there. I am open to any and all suggestions.

Coy
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-26-2010
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You might find some Tartan owners on the web, or ex-employees, who have come across the hidden HIN. IIRC it is not required but often will be written on the back of a cabinet, under the fuel tank, way aft in the steering spaces, someplace where you really have to squeeze your way in to spot it.

From the grinding, I would take a rash guess that it was either stolen or abandoned and the HIN intentionally ground off. The USCG *should* certainly be able to identify a boat...but you might try contacting the Vessel Documentaion Center, explain what is up, and ask them to search previous records for that boat name and port. The online database only contains current listings--but I'd find it hard to believe the packrats in the US Government don't retain previous years listings, even if that's stored offline in some archive no one wants to spend money searching. The data is there, somewhere.
Ditto for the luxury tax sticker, if that's what it is. Anything with a number on it, someplace there is a record of who got that number.

If you want to work the phone lines...You could also call around to marinas and yacht clubs in Port St. Lucie and see if anyone remembers having the boat docked there. Lots of boats, but sometimes you get lucky.

One big question is how Florida will treat the boat, even if you can establish the HIN and quietly re-install it on the boat. In many states, titled property can never be abandoned, it always belongs to the title holder and title can only be transferred, i.e. by something like a mechanic's lien or storage lien. Or perhaps salvage claim. Still, you'd have to trace the HIN to get that far.

Here's a long shot: Call BOATUS and ask them if they have any records of the boat that could lead you back to the owner. Just tell 'em you found an abandoned boat and are trying to locate the owner. IIRC they sometimes have boat profiles kept with owner information, although I don't know how much or how accessible.
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