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Old 02-01-2014, 15:18   #1
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Boat Registration

I bought a boat several years ago in California and had it trucked up to Seattle where it has been since then. I keep it out of the water until I want to use it as I live in Hawaii and I had it documented in Hawaii but I have never registered the boat so don't have the sticker on the bow or any numbers that go with the registration. I have been into Canada a couple of times and I don't remember them saying anything about that but will be taking the boat to Mexico in the future and beyond and was wondering if I was going to have a problem with the boat not having a registration. She is documented though.
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Rick
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Old 02-01-2014, 15:25   #2
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Re: regestration

If documented, then where is the hailing port? This is where the tax and registration will need to be setteled.
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Old 02-01-2014, 16:10   #3
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If documented, then where is the hailing port? This is where the tax and registration will need to be setteled.
Not true.

Every state has a time limit for a boat kept AND USED in their state, often 90 days but varies state to state. Documentation usually, but not always, doesn't change that.

Check with your state. But when traveling foreign your documentation supersedes state registration. Just show them that....
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Old 02-01-2014, 19:09   #4
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Re: regestration

The vessel is documented in Hawaii where I live but the boat will probably never go there so does that mean that I will have to register and pay taxes on it in Hawaii?
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Old 02-01-2014, 20:40   #5
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Re: Boat Registration

Are you a Hawaii resident?
Is your boat USCG documented with a hailing port in Hawaii?

If the answer to both questions is "Yes" then you are good to go. You may want to run this past your local Coast Guard or Hawaii Dept of Land and Natural Resources but I think you have met all requirements.

Hawaii Boat Registration, Licenses, Forms, & Information at DMV.org: The DMV Made Simple
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:22   #6
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Re: regestration

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Originally Posted by dive View Post
The vessel is documented in Hawaii...
No. Your vessel is not documented in Hawaii. Documentation is federal. It has nothing at all to do with any state. You don't document your vessel "in" any state.

Yes, you have to to choose a hailing port. That is irrelevant. Your hailing port can be anywhere. The boat doesn't have to be there. You don't have to be there. The boat doesn't ever have to have been there. You don't ever have to have been there. It is just a completely arbitrary place. Pick a podunk town in the middle of Kansas, 200 miles from the nearest lake or river if you want, and the USCG will be perfectly happy.

Registration is a state thing. You register your boat in a particular state. Documentation is federal. You do NOT document your boat in any particular state.

(Dive... I hope you don't feel like I'm picking on you, or yelling at you. I really don't mean to. This just gets so many people confused that I think it is important to be clear and correct in our terminology when talking about documentation versus registration.)
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:36   #7
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Re: Boat Registration

All boats in Washington state are required to be registered. If a resident of WA, then the boat is supposed to be registered within 15 days (funny story later). If not a resident, then you can get a permit within 60 days, but it's only good for another 60 days when the boat will have to be registered (and pay ~10% tax as well).

My partner and I are WA residents, bought our documented boat in CA and had it shipped up to WA at the beginning of October. We tried to register the boat, but WA required that we show the registration in the previous state or the documentation paperwork in our name from the Coast Guard. Catch 22. CA does not register documented vessels, so we couldn't show that and the Coast Guard is backlogged for months in processing documentation changes!

I asked the WA DOL how to resolve this Catch 22 and they said that until I received USCG documentation papers, I couldn't. I asked about the fine for failure to register within 15 days and they said that they have no fine for failure to register within 15 days and that I was to register it as soon as I received the paperwork. I then asked about getting a ticket from the sheriff or whoever, and they said that they, the DOL, are not enforcement and so could not control that. Wonderful.

So we're into or 4th month of having an unregistered boat. :-(

Hopefully the USCG will catch up soon.
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:41   #8
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Re: Boat Registration

In additoin to what Denver0n said, you will get only a state sticker when you register it in a state, you will not get numbers for your bow. The hailing port has nothing to do with taxes either. Taxes are determined by what state you have the boat in. You are probably in violation of Washington state boat registration requirements. The canadians really don't care about you violating Washington state laws. Neither are the feds thus you will not be hasseled by either of them when crossing the border. I don't know what the tax laws are in Washington state, but you may owe personal property tax to the county where you keep your boat. I know if you had the boat in NC you would owe them tax. Also if you did not pay sales tax in California because you were removing the boat from the state, you may owe "use" tax to Washington. Almost every state now requires you to register your boat in that state if kept there more than 90 days even if it is federally documented. The only rule about hailing ports is that you can't have two boats with the same name and hailing port. Good luck
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:39   #9
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Re: regestration

Thanks all for your replies. I checked the web site that DenverOn sent me and it states that if my boat is documented, it is exempt from having to register it like I guess California is but if I spend more than a few months in most of the other coastal states, I then have to register in each state? Wow, no free lunches, they get you going and coming!
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:49   #10
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Re: Boat Registration

What was the web site that DenverOn sent you dive? Washington state does require registration of documented vessels. Here's the link:
WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site: Register a boat in Washington state
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:22   #11
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Re: Boat Registration

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Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
What was the web site that DenverOn sent you dive? Washington state does require registration of documented vessels. Here's the link:
WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site: Register a boat in Washington state
He sent me the one for Hawaii where I am a resident. It's Hawaii/boat-registration.php My boat has been in Washington for about three years but has been on the hard 95% of that time though they probably don't care so I probably am in violation,. The initial idea was to take her up there and spend a couple of months getting her ready to head offshore but certain things delayed that but will be leaving Washington this coming September.
I just didn't want any problems going to other states in the U.S. short term or other countries for that matter with an un registered boat.
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:25   #12
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Re: regestration

Thank you for the clarification on that because it makes sense about it being federal and not tied to a state and no offence taken.
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Old 03-01-2014, 13:29   #13
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Re: Boat Registration

Once you are registered in your "home" state, other states will respect that registration for transient passage. But if you hang around long enough, your new locations starts to look like your "home" state and they start wanting you to register with them, and of course pay sales and use taxes. Every time you enter into a different state the cycle starts over again. Most have clear guidelines about how long a visit triggers registration and taxes. BoatUS has a section that outlines different state rules, including whether a documented vessel needs to be registered. I gather most states require registration, but definitely not all. Mass is a good example of one that does not. As mentioned earlier, in states where you are required to register, all you will display is the sticker - no bow numbers. As I recall, documented vessels are prohibited from displaying other numbers, so the states can't ask you to put them on. This is definitely one of those areas where being a confederation of independent states is a pain in the ass
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Old 03-01-2014, 13:54   #14
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Re: Boat Registration

Actually, it was kmason who posted the link.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:29   #15
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Re: Boat Registration

Dive...Where did you pay the tax on the boat?
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