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Old 13-08-2015, 20:11   #31
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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Originally Posted by DominoX View Post
A quick note to thank everyone for the great insights and suggestions so far. Truly learning a lot here.

But are we drifting off-topic a bit? Many replies seem to be about how I can get mail while cruising. Truthfully, I couldn't care less about mail. Nobody has cause to write to me ... and where I'm going, I won't need any.

My OP was really about how to overcome the challenges of not having a permanent physical address solely for the purposes of complying with arcane processes like boat registration, and bureaucrats who "just don't GET the cruising lifestyle".

For whatever reason (and despite the fact it's pointless because people give fake addresses of friends, family, etc), boat registration REQUIRES one to actually live somewhere and have a permanent PHYSICAL address. Which of course ... I don't anymore.

So far, I'm reading I can to sign-up for a mail forwarding service and use the 'street address' they provide as part of the service. That sure might work ... will need to try that.

I've also seen great suggestions about registering the craft as a foreign entity (i.e. under a different flag) and bypass all the US BS that way. Need to look into that as well.

Has anyone else used any other creative work-arounds to this dilemma?

Again, grateful thanks to all
I don't think you're actually understanding what people are telling you about the mail forwarding services like St. Brendan's Isle, NATO in Sarasota, and the p.o. box stores. They give you a physical address. It is not a P.O. Box address like you would get from the post office, it is an address that for all intents and purposes appears as an apartment address. Get some mail sent to that address, your cell phone bill, your bank statement, your credit card bills, auto insurance bill, or what ever other "official mail" (not junk mail) you get. Then take that mail and go to the MVA (or DMV) and get a driver's license with that address on it. Take that same drivers license and go get a voter's registration card, register your car with that address. Before you know it you have a whole pile of documentation with a street address on it. Cruisers and full time RVers are doing this all the time. You are not inventing the wheel here. It is my understanding that lots of cruisers have their USCG documentation with the St. Brendan's Isle address on it. I can't imagine why you couldn't use it to register a boat as well, especially if you already have a drivers license with that address on it since the boat registering authorities usually ask to see a drivers license.

We bought a boat here in Maryland from a guy who had retired and moved to Florida. We had been sending official documents back and forth for a couple of weeks to an address that certainly appeared to me to be an apartment address in Sarasota. Turns out that it was a UPS Store.

I think the reason that people are steering you toward St. Brendan's Isle is because they have been around a long time and not only will provide you an address to accomplish what you are trying to do, but they also are located in Florida, which gives you an avenue to establish residency in a state that does not have income taxes, and you will have the service established for after you start cruising.
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Old 13-08-2015, 23:00   #32
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post
I don't think you're actually understanding what people are telling you ... It is not a P.O. Box address like you would get from the post office, it is an address that for all intents and purposes appears as an apartment address.
Becky, I do indeed understand I get a 'street address' or apartment address as you put it. See above where I wrote
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Originally Posted by DominoX View Post
So far, I'm reading I can to sign-up for a mail forwarding service and use the 'street address' they provide as part of the service. That sure might work ... will need to try that.
I brought us back on-topic because I felt people were emphasizing the forwarding of mail too much ... in which I have no interest whatsoever.

But it's all good. I've certainly learnt more here in the day since I signed up than in the past few weeks of reading, researching, etc.

Just goes to prove the old adage ... "The wise man learns something from every man"
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Old 13-08-2015, 23:14   #33
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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Becky, I do indeed understand I get a 'street address' or apartment address as you put it. See above where I wrote

I brought us back on-topic because I felt people were emphasizing the forwarding of mail too much ... in which I have no interest whatsoever.

But it's all good. I've certainly learnt more here in the day since I signed up than in the past few weeks of reading, researching, etc.

Just goes to prove the old adage ... "The wise man learns something from every man"
Sorry if I missed that. I think the big thing is the driver's license, assuming that you're going with state registration as opposed to USCG documentation. I have registered lots of boats and that is the only piece of ID I have ever been asked for at the natural resources office. You cough up a DL with a street address on it and you're going to be golden. I don't know what state you are in, but I would imagine that a UPS Store or Mail Boxes, Etc. in your area could give you the street address you need, and then you just need to gather the "proofs" needed to get the address changed on your driver's license. We documented our last boat and no proof was required, just the application with the address on it. I think as long as they were able to mail the certificate to a street address it was all good. I don't think it is going to be nearly as much of a problem as you think. There are an awful lot of people out there doing it already in boats and RVs.
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Old 13-08-2015, 23:37   #34
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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Steve, you may have misunderstood my post. ...
Quite right you did! To make up for my amends I went over to a good friend of mine, an American long term cruiser anchored close to us and over a few sundowners he said pretty much what the others above are saying. He had advised others on the same matter. His notesÖ.

ē You would have the option of relinquishing your PR and then setup a mailbox, via family/friends, in your native land, if thatís feasible?
ē The US is not setup for transients as youíve found out. If you have a close friend or relative you can ask them for a permanent address.
ē A commercial post box (also discussed above) but make sure itís a legal address. He didnít think this works well when it comes time to renewing legal documentation i.e. driverís license where a permanent address, not a PO box, would be required and your license mailed to.
ē Trailer park or marina? Some may for a temporary period but itís unlikely for the long term unless you have good relations with them.
ē You need to look into whether registering the boat in another country will solve this but its thought Not. This really hasnít much to do with your boat but your physically absence and no address in the US.
ē He mentioned that you ultimately want is a US driverís license with your address on it, as this will slide you through any other address obstacles you may encounter including renewals.

In the case of this cruiser, they have property and kids in the US, thus the address, so itís not relevant to your case.

It seems like some good advice is coming down the line!
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Old 14-08-2015, 01:21   #35
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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The "earthlings" in the US (which includes almost all non marine businesses) will obstruct your every move until you resolve this issue
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Government and big business in the US does not like folks who don't play the mainstream game.
more than likely you will need a driver's license and a passport. and unless you keep one step ahead of the tax man you need to get state registration for the boat which requires you to have an address. a bank account with money and credit card are almost required for everyday life. otherwise you will suffer the issues of being considered homeless and possibly vagrant. and now to renew a drivers license they can requiring other proof that you live and work where you say you do. quite complicated. it would be easier to get a job and an address and then buy the boat and figure out what to do from there. good luck.
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Old 14-08-2015, 02:41   #36
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

You mentioned that not a US citizen - if you from a commonwealth country you can register on uk part 1 in own name (no company required) here in Jersey with no residency requirement.

Of course that will mean in the US the boat is a furriner. Lol.
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Old 14-08-2015, 05:55   #37
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post
I don't think you're actually understanding what people are telling you about the mail forwarding services like St. Brendan's Isle, NATO in Sarasota, and the p.o. box stores. They give you a physical address. It is not a P.O. Box address like you would get from the post office, it is an address that for all intents and purposes appears as an apartment address. Get some mail sent to that address, your cell phone bill, your bank statement, your credit card bills, auto insurance bill, or what ever other "official mail" (not junk mail) you get. Then take that mail and go to the MVA (or DMV) and get a driver's license with that address on it. Take that same drivers license and go get a voter's registration card, register your car with that address. Before you know it you have a whole pile of documentation with a street address on it. Cruisers and full time RVers are doing this all the time. You are not inventing the wheel here. It is my understanding that lots of cruisers have their USCG documentation with the St. Brendan's Isle address on it. I can't imagine why you couldn't use it to register a boat as well, especially if you already have a drivers license with that address on it since the boat registering authorities usually ask to see a drivers license.

We bought a boat here in Maryland from a guy who had retired and moved to Florida. We had been sending official documents back and forth for a couple of weeks to an address that certainly appeared to me to be an apartment address in Sarasota. Turns out that it was a UPS Store.

I think the reason that people are steering you toward St. Brendan's Isle is because they have been around a long time and not only will provide you an address to accomplish what you are trying to do, but they also are located in Florida, which gives you an avenue to establish residency in a state that does not have income taxes, and you will have the service established for after you start cruising.

I can confirm this as well.

Jack
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Old 14-08-2015, 13:03   #38
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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We bought our boat in the US but immediately registered her as British. This meant we never had to worry about US rules. This didn't present any problem when we cleared out either. To register a boat as British you do need an address to use, that's about it. If you're footloose perhaps you could think of picking up one of the many bargains to be had abroad?



We too struggle with the address on a boat situation since most of our friends also live on boats. Thankfully a parent has been happy to help but they're not nearby so it can still be a problem. Friends in the US helped out while we were there but perhaps a local sailing club?

Sorry to focus on this point but I was wondering about being Canadian citizen, have a US permanent resident green card. Can I buy a small British property and be considered a resident or at least tell me the benefit to registering your boat as British in my case.


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Old 15-08-2015, 07:27   #39
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

Hello Dominox,
Once knew a guy who became a Sovereign Citizen/individual, World Citizen. He owned a condo in Stuart Fl. and worked as a super yacht engineer. Payed no taxes no social security, etc? I think his sovereign papers allowed him exception(not sure?). I googled, seems to be lots of info. I don't know about the process but it might be interesting to you. Having read your statement that "no one will send mail where I am going" I hope it's not the Middle East!
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Old 17-08-2015, 06:04   #40
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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Once knew a guy who became a Sovereign Citizen/individual, World Citizen ...
Man, I LOVE this forum. Thanks so much for the heads-up. I didn't even know such status existed. The little research I've done so far reveals some pretty exciting possibilities. I wonder why more people aren't doing this?


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Having read your statement that "no one will send mail where I am going" I hope it's not the Middle East!
Funny you should says that . I actually HAVE lived in the ME. It's not nearly as bad as is portrayed in local media. But no ... what I actually wrote was "I couldn't care less about mail. Nobody has cause to write to me and where I'm going, I won't need any". By this, I literally meant that nobody has any reason to want to send me mail or contact me.

As I prepared to go full-time cruising, I tied up all my affairs to the point where nobody needs to reach me for anything whatsoever.
  • TAXES - I'm living (carefully) off savings, so no income, thus no taxes to pay or file
  • BILLS - No open accounts or debts, so no bills to pay
  • ESTATE - My lawyer knows how to wind up my small estate in the event I just 'disappear', so that's settled.
  • BANK - I will maintain my bank account and credit card, but those balances are positive, so no need for them to contact me for anything.
  • OTHER - There are a handful of matters I'll take care of yearly, like lump-sum insurance payment, coast guard documentation renewal, tabs/registration renewal for the boat, etc. Whatever they need to send me in return (like proof of insurance, tabs, etc) will reach me via mail forwarding service

That's literally 3-5 mails which I HAVE to receive every year. No more.

It's amazing how fully one can liberate oneself from the heavy anchors of bills, debt, government bureaucracy, taxes, a job you hate, etc ... once you put your mind to it and commit yourself to doing so.

As the title of this thread suggests, I've executed my plans to cut those ties. I've made my sacrifices and look forward to the reward I earned for doing so ... living life in a free-spirited and uncomplicated manner which comes from escaping the 'rat-race' and cruising/living predominantly off the grid ... anywhere I choose (South Pacific islands anyone?).

And certainly I'm elated to be free of the consumerism mentality trap which works unrelentingly to convince us we continuously need more 'stuff' and then shackles us to the prison of debt and working to pay for it all.

It took me a long time, but I finally realized that's not what life's about. You only live once ... but if you do it right, you only need one.

Fair winds.
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Old 17-08-2015, 07:21   #41
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

The last time I was in Florida they tried to make me pay something like 8% of the value of my vehicle in sales tax before I could register and license it, is this true for boats?.
I live in Oregon, no sales tax and the license is $124.00 for 2 years. They call me a "constant traveler", so all I do is rent a mailbox for about $60.00 a year. My drivers license has a po box as an address. I moored my boat in a marina and used the receipt as proof of physical address, they only need to see it once. NO PROPERTY TAX ON BOATS.
Maybe this is why the Oregon marinas are full of Washington boats.
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Old 17-08-2015, 10:45   #42
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

If you buy a boat in Florida the sales tax is 6%. Annual registration fee is $8 (eight dollars!) If the boat is over thirty years old, or about $100 if newer. There is no property tax on boats or cars in Florida. You can anchor out for free in 99% of the waters of Florida. Many cruisers use St. Brendans Isle, Green Cove Springs, Florida, as their mail forwarder and permanent address. Nice cruising grounds, the Bahamas just 50 miles away, the U.S. east coast and the Caribbean not much farther.

I've been a resident, cruiser, and boat owner in Florida for nearly 40 years. Oh, and there is no state income tax.
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Old 18-08-2015, 03:39   #43
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

My first question would be about where the boat is to be used - if in the USA for extended period that cuts out a lot of options as being on a foreign boat will be less convenient, and possibly a PITA.
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Old 18-08-2015, 10:40   #44
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

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My first question would be about where the boat is to be used - if in the USA for extended period that cuts out a lot of options as being on a foreign boat will be less convenient, and possibly a PITA.
Great question. Should have explained my plans a little better earlier

I'm actively seeking out an older model (say early to mid 80's) blue water cruiser, back when they still built 'em strong!

I'm anticipating a year or so of fitting her out (solar, water maker, rewire, wind vane, rigging, re-power, etc), and then another year in shakedown cruises locally (Pac NW, Canada, Oregon coast, etc).

So yes, much of the early time will be in US waters and I will need to consider carefully what PITA that will cause if I choose to register in BVI or elsewhere.

Thanks for highlighting this Dave ... honestly hadn't thought of it from that angle. Back to the drawing board I guess.
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Old 18-08-2015, 18:41   #45
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Re: Sold everything ... buying cruiser ... how to register?

You can of course re-register a boat in the future.
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