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Old 23-04-2008, 14:52   #1
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Do I need a sailing qualification / licence

Hi,

I am English, living in NYC. I have an old 34 ft sloop, bought in the US but re-registered in the Cayman Islands, but moored in NYC. I'll be sailing around the NY/NJ area for the next 2 years before heading off on a world trip.... I am a vaguely experienced sailor (completed a RYA coastal skipper course years ago) and believe in learning from experience...

Question 1: Do I need to get some sort of licence / qualification to be able to sail around the US waterways / coastal etc?

Question 2: Do i need to register the boat in any way with the US authorities - i'm flying a Cayman flag even though i don't believe the boat has ever been out of US waters?

Thanks for any thoughts.
James.
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Old 23-04-2008, 16:16   #2
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Not relevant in your situation, I know, but interesting:

Round here (Tasmania, Australia), you do not need a single qualifiaction to own and oprate a sialing vessel. You need a motrboat license (obtainable in a weekend), if you oprate the boat under motor.
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Old 23-04-2008, 20:10   #3
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1. No, anyone in the USA so long as they are sober can operate a non commercial vessel of any size with absolutely no experience, as incredulous as this sounds.

2. Your vessel either needs to be registered with a state or it needs to have a certificate of documentation with a country. The country can be of your choosing.

For keeping a vessel in the USA for that long, there may be tax consequences. Check with a CPA.
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Old 24-04-2008, 01:43   #4
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Most U.S. states now require a boater education or boater safety card. I believe many are like Washington's in that it is required for operating boats with a certain size motor. In Washington you have to have one to operate a boat with a motor 15 hp or larger. Non-residents of Washington are not required to have one if they stay less than 60 days. I believe that all tests are available to take on-line. Most tests are 50-75 questions. They are very basic questions.

This is one of many sites that offer tests. BoatUS also has them.
Boating Safety Course with Online Exam - Get Your Boating License or Certification


Looks like the original poster is of the hook, I don't see New York on the list.

Interesting, I just looked at California's boater ed card. You don't have to have one unless you get a moving violation on a boat.

John
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Old 24-04-2008, 07:42   #5
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Thanks for the input. David - I'll check on the tax side, who is the CPA - do you know if they have a website?
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Old 24-04-2008, 10:10   #6
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CPA = Certified Public Accountant.
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Old 24-04-2008, 10:26   #7
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I think you should contact the New York DMV. I did a quick web look, but didn't find the rules for New York. In Washington, if they consider you a resident you have to register your boat with the state. Almost anybody living the the state more than a certain number of days is considered a resident. In the case of a USCG documented vessel, I have to buy a state registration and put the current tab on the boat, but I don't put the state registration numbers on the boat.

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Old 24-04-2008, 10:39   #8
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James, if you are flying a Cayman flag, you are required to have obtained a US Cruising Permit BEFORE entering US waters and the penalties for being here without one can be quite steep. (I assume you are not under diplomatic status.)

If your vessel does not have foreign flag status, you can register it as a motor vehicle with the NYS DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and that will allow it to be used as a domestic motor vehicle in all 50 states--IF and only if you are a NYS resident during that time. You'd have to maintain a residence in NYS to qualify.

Your choices are to register the boat as a motor vehicle--in which case it is subject to different laws in each state, as well as taxation for sales/use tax when registered--or to foreign-flag it, in which case you must have the cruising permit and that is good for one year, at which point the vessel must leave the US (I think for 12? days?) and then re-enter with a new permit.

While you can probably get away with registering the boat in NYS while you live here, and then simply maintaining the NYS registration while you wander around, you will have to pay sales/use tax on registering the boat, and technically, if you are in any other state for more than 30-90 days, you have to re-register the boat as a resident of that state. The term varies--but each state requires vehicles to be registered locally if they are there "long term". If you carry insurance, that will be affected by this. And some marinas and YCs will not allow you to tie up without liability insurance at least.

So...It all depends on which way you want to go. Foreign flagged, state registered, either way you will have issues as an 'alien'. And bear in mind, if your paperwork is improper, the vessel is subject to arrest (seizure) as well as monetary fines.
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Old 24-04-2008, 11:24   #9
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All, many thanks for the input.
Hellosailor - thanks for the details...

I bought the boat as a US registered boat and I re-registered it in the Cayman Islands last year ... but following your advice and as I'll be in NYC for the next 2 years at least, it is probably better registering it with the DMV so that I don't annoy the Coast Guard with a foreign boat that doesn't really have a cruising permit / has been in the US longer than allowed.

I guess I'll have to pay tax on it - any thoughts on that? I.E. what is the tax rate and do they base it on a valuation of the boat or purchase price?

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 24-04-2008, 15:05   #10
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Check with the NYS DMV by phone or web. The sales tax will be something like 8-1/2% depending on your county of residence, based on the price on the bill of sale. And you will need a bill of sale. The title papers/transfer may also be needed, for boats after 1972(?) the title is also issued by DMV as part of the initial registration process. If you don't have a bill of sale, or your sale value is very different from the "book" value, they may also charge you sales tax based on the book value and leave you to appeal or contest that valuation, i.e. you may have to prove the purchase price. Check with them to find out what paperwork you will need, before you bother going down.

When you say you bought it as a "US registered" boat...there's no such thing. It is either STATE registered, or US federally documented. There is no federal provision for motor vehicle or vessel registration here. (Yet.)
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Old 30-04-2008, 06:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamestfisher View Post
Thanks for the input. David - I'll check on the tax side, who is the CPA - do you know if they have a website?

Do the English call this a Chartered Accountant?
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Old 30-04-2008, 09:39   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
Most U.S. states now require a boater education or boater safety card. I believe many are like Washington's in that it is required for operating boats with a certain size motor. In Washington you have to have one to operate a boat with a motor 15 hp or larger. Non-residents of Washington are not required to have one if they stay less than 60 days. I believe that all tests are available to take on-line. Most tests are 50-75 questions. They are very basic questions.

This is one of many sites that offer tests. BoatUS also has them.
Boating Safety Course with Online Exam - Get Your Boating License or Certification


Looks like the original poster is of the hook, I don't see New York on the list.

Interesting, I just looked at California's boater ed card. You don't have to have one unless you get a moving violation on a boat.

John
Thanks for the clarification John. I was not aware about other states requiring some sort of certification. It amazes me that a left leaning bureaucratic state like CA still does not have this requirement for everyone.
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