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post #1 of 8 Old 04-05-2013 Thread Starter
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Documentation Vs. State Registration

Would anyone care to share their thoughts on the pros and cons of vessel documentation vs. state registration. I live in Massachusetts. I am in the process of closing on a 30 ft. sail. I don't expect travel in international waters any time or soon and maybe never. Other than that, are there other considerations I need to be aware of? Thanks
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

I have documentation more because it already was and it was painless to keep and I do not have to put numbers on the boat

On of the bigger real uses is as a more secure way of controlling ownership on boats with loans

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

If the boat is already documented, keep it documented. Mass doesn't require registration for documented vessels.

If it's not documented, it will cost more upfront to register with the CG versus regular state registration. However, you will not have to pay to renew the registration once the boat is documented.

The documentation process can take a while, so if you decide to register the boat with the CG, you may need to get state registration in the meantime to launch for the start of the season.


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post #4 of 8 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

Our commercial boat (avatar) was documented. IIRC, we could buy Canadian Club bourbon tax free as long as it was consumed "off shore" or something like that. I think it had to be delivered to the boat, but that was a LONG time ago. I think some of it was kept at home for "safe" keeping.

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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

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Originally Posted by NaviGsr View Post
If the boat is already documented, keep it documented. Mass doesn't require registration for documented vessels.

If it's not documented, it will cost more upfront to register with the CG versus regular state registration. However, you will not have to pay to renew the registration once the boat is documented.

The documentation process can take a while, so if you decide to register the boat with the CG, you may need to get state registration in the meantime to launch for the start of the season.
Cost to document is about $100 and it is a onetime fee as renewals are free. Documentation is slow these days but I wouldn't bother to state register...just keep a copy of your application form on board. LEO's know the process is slow these days. When I did mine 3 years ago, I got my papers in less than a week.

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post #6 of 8 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

All the above comments are good. We travel a lot out of the U.S. so our boats have always been documented. But if that's not your intention then there is no real benefit to documentation unless you have a bank loan on the boat. Then they might require it. Chuck

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post #7 of 8 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

I'm in the process of transferring the documentation to my name (again). The Coast Guard is nearly 4 months behind in processing. I need my documentation paperwork for the Town to grant my mooring permit. I called the CG and they sent me an official letter stating my application and appropriate fees have been received. I called the Town office, and they will accept this.

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post #8 of 8 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

Documentation is a substitute for title, not necessarily registration. Each state has their own registration requirements, which is only permitting use of their waters for an extended period of time or an opportunity to collect a tax. You pick.

However, you must either get a state title or federal documentation to prove you own the boat.

What confuses people is that States that may still require you to register your boat to be in their waters, even if documented, but do not require you to display their registration numbers. I think that may be federal law that hey can't, but not sure about that.

I am USCG documented, but still must be RI registered. I do not, however, have or require RI title.

Primary advantages are availability of the vessel as collateral and international travel, as mentioned above. Why limit yourself. There is a minimum boat size for being able to document it, I believe.


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Last edited by Minnewaska; 04-05-2013 at 09:55 PM.
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