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Old 18-03-2015, 16:13   #1
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Documented Boats in Florida

I just became aware (on another thread) that according to Florida law, a documented boat that is not also registered in a state may not legally operate in Florida waters. Boats would have to obtain a Florida registration using a Florida address.

boating in Florida

Florida Boating Regulations

Quote:
Documented vessels without a state registration in full force and effect must also obtain a Florida registration and display the validation decal on the port side of the vessel when using Florida waters.
It seems to me that this law (which I have never hear of before or seen mentioned in cruising guides or on numerous web forums) is a lot more serious than the pending anchoring law. If you can't bring your boat into FL, you don't have to worry about anchoring it.
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Old 18-03-2015, 19:22   #2
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

You have 90 days before you have to register.
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Old 18-03-2015, 19:37   #3
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

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Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
You have 90 days before you have to register.
See, Ron? People don't take the time to fully read and understand the issue.



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Old 18-03-2015, 20:53   #4
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

It's unclear, and it was to me too when I was trying to decide what to do. The quote from the official FAQ is: "Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time."

Doesn't say anything about documentation. Documented, not state registered boats may not get the 90 days. Haven't read the actual law yet or talked to FL tax collector, so not a definitive answer.




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Old 18-03-2015, 20:54   #5
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
I just became aware (on another thread) that according to Florida law, a documented boat that is not also registered in a state may not legally operate in Florida waters. Boats would have to obtain a Florida registration using a Florida address.

boating in Florida

Florida Boating Regulations

It seems to me that this law (which I have never hear of before or seen mentioned in cruising guides or on numerous web forums) is a lot more serious than the pending anchoring law. If you can't bring your boat into FL, you don't have to worry about anchoring it.
Where do you see a requirement for a Florida address? I kept a boat in Florida for many years with a NC address. They Just wanted their money. You do not have 90 days grace if a documented boat is not registered in another state. You are required to buy a Florida registration sticker after 90 days even if you do have it registered in another state. 90 days isn't so bad, NC just implemented a 60 day requirement. Of course in NC after your buy the registration sticker they come after you for personal property tax which is the same rate as real estate tax. At least in Florida they only want your registration fee.
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Old 18-03-2015, 21:03   #6
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

As a Florida resident, Capt is correct about the Florida State boat registration...




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Old 18-03-2015, 21:49   #7
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
I just became aware............(which I have never hear of before or seen mentioned in cruising guides or on numerous web forums...
Ron, you've made many contributions to this forum. I live on the West Coast (of the country!!!) and in reading this and other boating forums have been aware of this for quite some time. It's been "beaten to death" here, too.

On our side of the country, we have the same issues if we sail from CA to WA, for example.
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Old 19-03-2015, 06:10   #8
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

A Florida address is not a requirement. Technically, you must immediately register the boat in Florida if you are coming from a state where it was not registered before (only CG documentation). On the other hand, I have never heard of anyone getting fined the day after they arrived, for not having a registration. Register it within a reasonable amount of time (most certainly less than 90 days) and you will be fine.

Also, be aware that registration fees in Florida are pretty reasonable. Unless you have a mega-yacht it will certainly be less than $200 per year. Possibly quite a bit less. If the boat is more than 30 years old you can get an "antique" registration that is really quite cheap.

All the official information is here: Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
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Old 19-03-2015, 07:04   #9
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

Bring evidence that sales tax was paid where you purchased your boat.

also go to a private "Tag Agency" as opposed to the DMV. It may cost $5 more but worth it.
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Old 19-03-2015, 07:36   #10
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
I just became aware (on another thread) that according to Florida law, a documented boat that is not also registered in a state may not legally operate in Florida waters. Boats would have to obtain a Florida registration using a Florida address.

boating in Florida

Florida Boating Regulations

It seems to me that this law (which I have never hear of before or seen mentioned in cruising guides or on numerous web forums) is a lot more serious than the pending anchoring law. If you can't bring your boat into FL, you don't have to worry about anchoring it.
It is the same here in Maryland, and probably in most, if not all, states. In addition to the USCG documentation we have to also display a decal that shows that fees (use tax) have been paid to the state of Maryland. From the DNR Vessel registration site:

Vessels Required to be Registered in Maryland
Any vessel used principally in Maryland that is equipped with mechanical propulsion must register with the Department of Natural Resources and pay vessel excise tax. Federally documented vessels used principally in Maryland do not need to obtain a Maryland title but are required to purchase and display a Maryland Use sticker and pay Maryland vessel excise tax.


Sounds like the same thing to me. Everybody just wants to know that someone is getting their pound of flesh, tax wise, where ever your principal home port or residency is. Coast Guard documentation comes with fees, but if not somehow registered to a home state that leaves you free agent and basically not paying any use taxes anywhere and we all know we cant have that!!


(I deleted my comment about residency, as obviously that has nothing to do with it since many people do leave their boats permanently in Florida but live elsewhere.)
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Old 19-03-2015, 07:45   #11
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

This is not something I came up with personally, it was posted in another thread. The article (the first link) states that if your boat is documented by the USCG but not also registered in a state, (I live in SC and SC does not register documented boats)it would have to be registered in Florida immediately and would not have the ninety day grace period that a state registered boat would have. The second link seems to back this up. My original post makes more sense if you read the links.

I can only assume that this is an oversight in the various Florida boating laws.
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Old 19-03-2015, 07:50   #12
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

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Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
You have 90 days before you have to register.
According to the article and the link to the law, this only applies if the boat is registered in another state. My boat (and I suspect many other people's boats) is documented, but not registered.
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Old 19-03-2015, 07:54   #13
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
A Florida address is not a requirement. Technically, you must immediately register the boat in Florida if you are coming from a state where it was not registered before (only CG documentation). On the other hand, I have never heard of anyone getting fined the day after they arrived, for not having a registration. Register it within a reasonable amount of time (most certainly less than 90 days) and you will be fine.........
That's my point.

I will not be moving my boat to FL, only visiting for less than a month and not staying in one place for more than a few days. I suspect many cruisers do the same.

The law seems to make that illegal.
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Old 19-03-2015, 08:13   #14
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
I will not be moving my boat to FL, only visiting for less than a month and not staying in one place for more than a few days. I suspect many cruisers do the same.

The law seems to make that illegal.
Yes, according to the letter of the law, you would have to register the boat when you arrive in Florida. As I said, though, I have never heard of anyone getting caught in that particular technicality. Understand that I am not suggesting to you that you should violate any laws, but here is what I, personally, would do if I were you...

Sail on down and not worry about it. If some local authority somewhere gave me a hassle about it not being registered then I would tell him I was just passing through and was planning to register it when I got to my final destination. Worst case scenario, he says it doesn't matter, you have to register it right now. So I cough up the $150 or so to register.

Were I unwilling to take even the very small risk of that happening, then I guess I would just pass on visiting Florida.

Personally, I wish we could get this law changed, but it is about as far down on the list of priorities for the state legislature as anything could be.
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Old 19-03-2015, 08:22   #15
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Re: Documented Boats in Florida

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Yes, according to the letter of the law, you would have to register the boat when you arrive in Florida. As I said, though, I have never heard of anyone getting caught in that particular technicality. Understand that I am not suggesting to you that you should violate any laws, but here is what I, personally, would do if I were you...

Sail on down and not worry about it. If some local authority somewhere gave me a hassle about it not being registered then I would tell him I was just passing through and was planning to register it when I got to my final destination. Worst case scenario, he says it doesn't matter, you have to register it right now. So I cough up the $150 or so to register.

Were I unwilling to take even the very small risk of that happening, then I guess I would just pass on visiting Florida.

Personally, I wish we could get this law changed, but it is about as far down on the list of priorities for the state legislature as anything could be.
I spent a few weeks in FL three years ago with no problem. Same boat, documented only. My final destination is back in SC.

It just seems to me that a very large number of cruising boats visiting Florida would be in the same situation as me, documented but not state registered. What about boats from Canada? From other countries? Even from other states that don't register documented boats?
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