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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like the question says... what are the advantages/disadvantages to purchasing a USCG registered 30' sailboat? Am I required to keep it federally registered and is there additional cost, inspection, or whatever needed to do that? Thanks...
 

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You are not required to "Document" a recreational vessel. However, the previous owner must file paperwork to complete the Bill of sale. They can do this by filling out the back of their certificate of documentation or filing a bill of sale. Forms are on the CG site. They won't be able to complete the transaction unless any liens, or loans are paid. You want clear title.

No real advantage if you don't travel to foreign ports. The only thing you are exempt from is placing state registration numbers on your bow. I think most states will still require you to purchase a state registration ( mine does). and display the annual state registration.

Documentation used to be renewed for free each year. They started charging this year. So that may be a consideration for you.

More information here: USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Fee Page
 

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Like the question says... what are the advantages/disadvantages to purchasing a USCG registered 30' sailboat?......
No such thing as a USCG registration, it's referred to as USCG documentation. A better analogy would be a USCG title.

Advantages:

Typically required to clear into a foreign country.
Required by lenders to perfect a lien
Stronger single point to record ownership.
Typically no need to display State Registration numbers
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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CG Documentation allows you to avoid having to paste the huge, ugly state reg numbers on your nicely painted bow, just a sticker. You still need to register and PAY the state their ridiculous amount of money. It also requires worrying about renewing every year, sometimes at an inconvenient time if you're out cruising (although they will process it if early if you make a note when sending it in). Now it is not a free nuisance anymore. It should logically be for a number of years but governments just love any kind of useless paperwork. You do have international recognition of the US documentation which, I've heard has some sort of benefit.
 

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As mentioned, even if you document (ie title) your boat with the USCG, most often you must still register with the state you keep your boat within for more than a specified period of time (90-180 days typically). You can not have a state issued title, if you document with the USCG.

As for the RI registration sticker, I place it on my mast. Probably not allowed, but I went years without displaying it at all, even though I've always registered.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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As mentioned, even if you document (ie title) your boat with the USCG, most often you must still register with the state you keep your boat within for more than a specified period of time (90-180 days typically). You can not have a state issued title, if you document with the USCG.

As for the RI registration sticker, I place it on my mast. Probably not allowed, but I went years without displaying it at all, even though I've always registered.
Some states are more "energetic" about harassing boaters about stickers. Since I am keeping the boat in Florida lately, decided to register it there. You must register in Fl if in their waters for >90? days. Stuck their id sticker next to the DHS sticker (which must be near the port gate) on the cabin light plexiglas. The NY sticker is still on the bow which is the req'd location in NY. Different states have different rules to make bureaucrats happy.
 

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Like the question says... what are the advantages/disadvantages to purchasing a USCG registered 30' sailboat? Am I required to keep it federally registered and is there additional cost, inspection, or whatever needed to do that? Thanks...
If I am not mistaken, you are in SC?
SC will not allow you to register a federally documented vessel. Your dinghy, etc must be locally registered, but the documented vessel must be undocumented to get state registry.
This will keep you clear of registration fees but the city and/or county you live in will chase you for excise taxes.
As I am a full time liveaboard, I get those fees reduced to almost nothing as it is my residence, but if not, they can be pretty steep.
If you are buying a smaller boat that won't likely derive her value from being able to go cruising internationally, there is absolutely NO reason to document a boat these days. If she is ocean worthy, then letting the document lapse will devalue the boat a bit, as the USCG document is the generally accepted form of registration for American flag vessels. It can be a bear redocumenting a boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes I am in SC. Sounds like I need to call Dr to learn more about applicable local excise taxes. I don't see myself doing much international. She would be a coastal cruiser. Bahamas maybe but beyond to Caribbean? Unlikely. This comes down to money for me. Which is the best way to go with documentation of a max 10k value boat thinking from both an annual fees and future resale value perspectives?
 

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I took a brief glance at the SC DNR website. You have a casual excise tax of 5% of the first $6,000 in value, plus a use tax in some circumstances. I didn't do all your research for you. I didn't easily see a requirement to register or pay these fees, if you remain documented. There are many variables: are you a SC resident, did you buy it in or out of SC, or from a dealer, did you pay sales tax to anyone, etc.

If SC doesn't require registration or fees for documented vessels, clearly you should keep her documented.
 

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It cost me about 80.00 to transfer documentation to my name when I bought my boat a few years ago. Now there is an annual fee of 26.00. I would check to make sure the current owner has kept up with his documentation and if not what problems might you encounter with having documentation reinstated.

The best place to get these answers is the vessel documentation center. I have had great success with there customer service people. 800-799-8362.

Good luck.
 

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I took a brief glance at the SC DNR website. You have a casual excise tax of 5% of the first $6,000 in value, plus a use tax in some circumstances. I didn't do all your research for you. I didn't easily see a requirement to register or pay these fees, if you remain documented. There are many variables: are you a SC resident, did you buy it in or out of SC, or from a dealer, did you pay sales tax to anyone, etc.

If SC doesn't require registration or fees for documented vessels, clearly you should keep her documented.
I believe the City & County of Charleston has a much larger excise or luxury tax, and every boat, no matter where registered or who the owner is, if it's in SC waters, must pay it. They walk the marinas and cruise the waterways to assess everyone they can for this tax.
 

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It cost me about 80.00 to transfer documentation to my name when I bought my boat a few years ago. Now there is an annual fee of 26.00. I would check to make sure the current owner has kept up with his documentation and if not what problems might you encounter with having documentation reinstated.

The best place to get these answers is the vessel documentation center. I have had great success with there customer service people. 800-799-8362.

Good luck.
Yes, I would be surprised if they have not hulled, or even had the boat leave the slip for 10 years, if they keep the documentation current. Unless of course they could avoid state registration.
 

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I believe the City & County of Charleston has a much larger excise or luxury tax, and every boat, no matter where registered or who the owner is, if it's in SC waters, must pay it. They walk the marinas and cruise the waterways to assess everyone they can for this tax.
Now that's something I would like to know more about. There is a marina in Charleston that sends direct mail to all my friends up here to solicit in-water winter dockage. It's not a bad price and we've figured its about $1000 more than our winter storage on the hard.

My wife is actually encouraging it on this logic. The weather isn't really warm enough to sail in the winter, but we could take a couple of weeks and maybe a few long weekends to go stay aboard, as the heat pump would still be effective. She could shop and I could do my winter projects aboard. Not a bad idea at all.

But, I would be there for 4 to 5 months and, if that will incur sales or excise taxes, I'm out.

I didn't see that on the site I visited, so if you have a link that clarifies any of this, I would be interested.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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No matter what state you register your boat in, it seems you must either pay the sales/use tax or else prove you have already paid state sales tax in the original state. If you have a bill of sale, that will suffice. When I registered Philyria in FL, I gave them a copy of my check to NYS for the sales tax and it was accepted without question. The point is that many people have NEVER paid sales tax if a boat is only documented. States are aware of this and try to snag the sales tax if they can.
 

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......States are aware of this and try to snag the sales tax if they can.
Except in RI, where there is no Sales or Use tax on boats!! :D

Why everyone isn't here surprises me, but it's no doubt why we have 15,000 boats on the Bay, all keeping the marine trades in business. Supporting plenty of restaurants and liquor stores too, with a ton of people from surrounding States, even from several States away. :)

The big downside is that we don't have an offset, if we ever want to stay in another state beyond their use tax period. And, it's hard to fix. I could conceive being willing to pay for the flexibility some day. But, to whom and how will it cover others, without paying everyone.
 

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No matter what state you register your boat in,blah.
Except for Mississippi, where if you buy a boat from an individual (used) you don't owe state taxes; and you don't have to register a federally documented boat.

I don't believe MS is the only state like that, either. I seem to recall that hailing port in Maryland used to be popular for tax reasons...
 
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