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registering the boat in another state
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looking at it as an option to buy me some time to either involve some legal types (if needed) or see if I can transfer an out-of-state registered "homemade" boat to Pennsylvania
How could it be otherwise?

An out of state boat must be registered, they require that.

You think they are going to say "this boat is banned from PA waters"?

I think that would require some very solid rationale of the public interest involved to stand constitutionally.

Generally a vehicle accepted as registered in one state, gets accepted when the owners moves to another.

Sure maybe tighter inspection, pollution / safety regs, but can't just irrationally ban a very commonly accepted type of boat completely.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
John61ct et al., I decided to go back through the research I did prior to even making an offer on this boat.

In Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth sets forth the laws for boating and fishing in Title 30, Chapter 53 (https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=30&div=0&chpt=53). Title 30 basically says that boats must be registered unless they are exempt (and states the exemptions). No big surprises there. It also establishes the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and, among other things, specifically directs the agency to set forth rules and regulations with regard to boat registration. It goes on to say that boaters must be issued a registration card when a signed application and fee is filed with the state through the Commission. OK, simple, good to go there.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission sets forth its regulations in the Pennsylvania Code Title 58, Section II, Chapter 93 (https://www.pacode.com/secure/data/058/chapter93/chap93toc.html). Now, I've read most of this again for the third or fourth time now. I can find only a couple of regulations dealing with homemade boats. First, they term a homemade boat a "specially constructed" boat. This designation applies to any boat that was built from scratch, or constructed from parts of other boats, or boats that were significantly modified from their original form. Second, the ONLY things it says about specially constructed boats have to do with Pennsylvania TITLE, and establishing ownership prior to initial registration. It says NOTHING about Pennsylvania REGISTRATION of a homemade (specially constructed) boat.

I also reviewed all of the proposed notice of rulemaking entries on the website.

I can't find this thing about homemade boats ANYWHERE, except for this one spot:

https://www.fishandboat.com/LearningCenter/FAQs/Pages/BoatRegistrationTitling.aspx
(go all the way down to item #17)

The wording they quote on "specially constructed boats" is the same as what is in Title 58 Chapter 93 (linked above), which has to do ONLY with TITLING of a boat.

Thanks to a few of you who encouraged me to go back and look through the regulations and laws again. I am pretty confident now that I have enough of a retort that I can bring to get some action, if they do come back and say that they can't register the boat. I hold out some hope that I won't have to go down that path, and that the real problem here was some confusion because I'm doing something out of the ordinary. In any case, I at least feel better about my mental capacity now, because I combed through all of the regulations and such before we even made an offer, and I was sure that I did not see anything that would cause me to question my ability to register this boat.

Seriously, though, I'm not sure why *I* am the one who has to read through these things to prove my position to an organization who is supposed to be intimately familiar with these regulations, but anyway... I hope you all are having a fabulous Friday. :)

jonathan
 

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.....I'm not sure why *I* am the one who has to read through these things to prove my position to an organization who is supposed to be intimately familiar with these regulations.....
Because no government employee, supervisor, manager or chief of the works has any skin in the game, whatsoever. Their jobs are protected no matter how good or bad they are at them and there is no measurement of success in doing well. If they run out of money, they just make the case to take more, not get better or more efficient. It's a bad system.
 

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Well the wording given you was about the **transfer** specifically, to me that also implies titling.

Which you do not need once you have your USCG doc that is your overriding Title.

Did they ever mention registration?

I would stop dealing with that set of paper pushers. You have no need to "transfer" anything. Whoever owned the boat in the past, try to ignore that.

Go in cold in person to a different location. With your CG doc. Not immediately if possible, if you have a time window let it come close.

As if coming in as a wide eyed ignorant virgin for the very first time.

"I bought a boat, have been told I need to register it, have checkbook out, all papers ready, bit bored, full expectation in your heart everything goes smoothly, social engineer the bastards
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Go in cold in person to a different location. With your CG doc. Not immediately if possible, if you have a time window let it come close.

As if coming in as a wide eyed ignorant virgin for the very first time.

"I bought a boat, have been told I need to register it, have checkbook out, all papers ready, bit bored, full expectation in your heart everything goes smoothly, social engineer the bastards
Dude, you're reading my mind on Plan A.2.... :)
 

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An alternative: file for an LLC, with two members, you and the original builder. Do it in PA if it's easy, if not do Delaware. Might cost like $100.

Then you have limitation of liability (so the original builder is not at risk), but as a co-owner he can change the registration to the name of the LLC.
 

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An alternative: file for an LLC, with two members, you and the original builder. Do it in PA if it's easy, if not do Delaware. Might cost like $100.

Then you have limitation of liability (so the original builder is not at risk), but as a co-owner he can change the registration to the name of the LLC.
I'm not sure I follow the suggestion, but it begs for a few clarifications.

An LLC does very little to insulate one from liability, since they are still the operator of their boat and personally responsible for their actions. Even if they lent the boat to another, they are likely the "manager" of the LLC and, as a result, accountable for the oversight of the operator.

All a corporation does is limit any loss caused by the corporation to the extent of the corporation's assets. However, when the people involved are considered personally responsible for the loss (ie the Captain caused the collision), their assets are fully exposed.

I didn't follow the chain of ownership suggestion, however, it's worth repeating that a vessel must be registered in the State in which the vessel resides. Its doesn't matter where the owner resides, whether individual or corporate.
 

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I'm not sure I follow the suggestion, but it begs for a few clarifications.

An LLC does very little to insulate one from liability, since they are still the operator of their boat and personally responsible for their actions. Even if they lent the boat to another, they are likely the "manager" of the LLC and, as a result, accountable for the oversight of the operator.

All a corporation does is limit any loss caused by the corporation to the extent of the corporation's assets. However, when the people involved are considered personally responsible for the loss (ie the Captain caused the collision), their assets are fully exposed.

I didn't follow the chain of ownership suggestion, however, it's worth repeating that a vessel must be registered in the State in which the vessel resides. Its doesn't matter where the owner resides, whether individual or corporate.
Sorry I wasn't clear.

Of course the captain of the vessel is always personally liable. However, if the vessel is owned by a corporation, only the corporation's assets should be exposed to any liability - other owners of the corporation will not be.

Therefore, there should be no reason why the vessel's builder cannot be assigned 50% of the ownership of the LLC, and then change the PA registration of his own home-built vessel to the name of the LLC.

The LLC is just a way of keeping the original owner/builder as an owner without exposing him to liability. The incorporation agreement can specify that the new owner makes all decisions about the vessel, is responsible for all costs, and receives all profit upon sale.
 

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Got it. Clever. No one would ever agree to do it. :)
As in, the previous owner/builder?

I'm partners with my former boss. The only reason we can do it is because liability from the previous company (sold) cannot touch him - and there are former clients who are not happy he sold. There's a reason the law works that way, business would be really hard otherwise...
 

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As in, the previous owner/builder?...
Right. I can't see any recreational boat owner agreeing to stay on as an owner/member of an LLC, with a stranger they sold their boat to.

Despite the clever liability insulation and registration transfer you propose, they could still need to dispense with being named defendants, have to deal with survivor issues, need K1 forms for taxes, etc. It was a good thought exercise, but I don't see it actually happening between strangers.
 

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Many states do not allow the state registration of documented vessels, SC being one.
No sweat. Just keep you document handy and pay your state/city excise taxes when they ask and all will be fine. You would have had to pay sales tax anyway.
 
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Right. I can't see any recreational boat owner agreeing to stay on as an owner/member of an LLC, with a stranger they sold their boat to. [ ... ] It was a good thought exercise, but I don't see it actually happening between strangers.
Just a suggestion :wink

But if it was the only way to get your boat sold to the guy you wanted to sell it to at the price you wanted to sell for, maybe $700 to a good lawyer later you would be ready to sign on the dotted line.

Looks like the builder did a seriously nice job on that boat.
 

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I didn't follow the chain of ownership suggestion, however, it's worth repeating that a vessel must be registered in the State in which the vessel resides. Its doesn't matter where the owner resides, whether individual or corporate.
Furthermore, in Pennsylvania, this would still be a transfer of registration, which just puts the game back at square one, but now with a weird corporate entity involved (and not one that I could see the previous owner agreeing to, regardless of how kind and helpful he has been to this point).

I’m actually pretty hopeful at this point, and I really think the office folks handling this were surprised because it is a rare occurrence. I still can’t find anything in law or regulation that would prevent transfer of registration. I do, however, get the feeling that I might have to prove that to one or more people along the way.
 

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It's so nice to live in Minnesota. They make boat ownership easy here. No tax on private sales, registration is good for three years and is *very* cheap, and they're good about working with sketchy title trails and such.
 

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...I’m actually pretty hopeful at this point, and I really think the office folks handling this were surprised because it is a rare occurrence. I still can’t find anything in law or regulation that would prevent transfer of registration. I do, however, get the feeling that I might have to prove that to one or more people along the way.
I'm pretty hopeful for you. You're the rare case of someone trying to pay the money you owe, whereas most people are trying to weasel out of paying the money they owe.

Here are my comments, from someone who has dealt with PAFBC with other boats:

Regarding the suggestion of going in person, do note that (unless things have changed drastically recently) you will need to drive all the way to Harrisburg (as I once did). PA has added satellite offices for PennDOT car/trailer titling/registrations, but PAFBC is still entirely Harrisburg-centric. You can avoid the drive by dealing with one of those shady notary places that also sell bail bonds :puke, but I wouldn't trust any of those guys with anything, much less an unusual issue like this.

I do think you have a winning argument on the merits. You can't title the boat in PA, but USCG won't allow you to anyway. You just want to register it, and the regulations that you cited only appear to limit titling, not registration. You should be able to get to someone who will see your argument and put through the paperwork.

I disagree with the sentiment that government is always incompetent. You have a variety of people with different experience levels, and when you hit them with an unusual case, you'll get different answers from different people. Same thing happens in the private sector.

Maybe things are different in the northwest part of the state, but here in SE PA, enforcement of out-of-state registrations seems lax. They don't come out with binoculars like they do in MD. So if you absolutely can't get it done it PA, you might just consider registering in OH and keeping her in PA. Then you can make another attempt to register in the future (but keep your tax receipts from OH to avoid paying twice).

I do need to warn you that there are two wholly separate taxing entities in PA, and you need to understand the nuances. PAFBC does boat registrations, and is pretty lax about bringing your boat into PA waters. 60 days is allowed, and I think you can get away with longer. However, PA Department of Revenue is very strict about entering the state, and will want your sales/use tax dollars (which makes it ironic that they're refusing to collect them). They don't come out with binoculars searching for boats, but I am aware of people who have been approached for sales/use tax by PA Dept. of Revenue, who apparently harvested their personal data out of the publicly accessible USCG documentation database. For this reason, I strongly suggest you set your hailing port to the state where you pay your sales tax. However, this may no longer be a problem, as I see that USCG no longer makes that data publicly accessible unless you file a FOIA request.
 

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Hailing port really "should" not be relevant.

But your "official residential" (legal domicile) address, and maybe your mailing address given to USCG may be.
 

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Hailing port really "should" not be relevant.

But your "official residential" (legal domicile) address, and maybe your mailing address given to USCG may be.
Conventional folklore, and perhaps Federal law, says that hailing port is irrelvant, so you can pick "anywhere". However, there is some anecdotal evidence that a state's department of revenue would look up your hailing port (when it was available online) and interpret that as your state of principal use. If you don't want to fight a battle with a state's department of revenue, it may be a good idea to pay your sales/use tax in the state of principal use, and have your hailing port in the same state. Even if you can win that battle, life will be more pleasant if you don't even have to fight it.
 

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Conventional folklore, and perhaps Federal law, says that hailing port is irrelvant, so you can pick "anywhere". However, there is some anecdotal evidence that a state's department of revenue would look up your hailing port (when it was available online) and interpret that as your state of principal use. If you don't want to fight a battle with a state's department of revenue, it may be a good idea to pay your sales/use tax in the state of principal use, and have your hailing port in the same state. Even if you can win that battle, life will be more pleasant if you don't even have to fight it.
I’ve been in this situation with both airplanes and boats. It is true that sales and use tax collectors will assume your federal document mailing address is the location of the boat. However, it hasn’t been a fight at all. Sure, the initial contact comes in the form of a huge bill, with penalties and interest and a threatening letter. I assume they use some generic value to get your attention. It’s really a bush league banana republic way of doing things, but I just shrug the meatballs off.

I keep my bill of sale and all marina storage bills and reply with copies to prove it was elsewhere. I give my phone number and email and ask that they contact me if they needed anything further. I show I’m not hiding or cheating. I actually had one agent call my house to leave a message to say he’d received them, all was in order and he was closing the file.

On a related point, RI has no sales tax on boats, so half the boats in the state are spending money here, year after year, instead of sending it in one sales tax check. I love competitive taxing policy. I’m sure half the marinas in RI would close and thousands would lose their jobs, without this advantage. We do have a pricey state registration. Mine is over $300 per year. I faithfully send it in. Oddly enough, I know many federally documented boats in RI that haven’t and then m not sure there is much of a process to check.
 
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