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Old 29-09-2005, 09:22   #1
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Documented Sailboat

I'm going down to Fl Sat. to buy a 31' prout and have a question. I've been watching a number of cruising boats on the net and it seems that they are documeted vessel ? or mention this.

1. Just what is this?

2. What is the advantage verus your local state registration.

3. Is this something I can get started while I'm in Fl. even throu
I'm bringing the boat back to TX.

We are planning on taking a year off starting this summer when my son gets out of school and will home school him for his 10 grade year and using it to cruise the Bahama's. At the end of the year we'er going to sit down and decide if we want to come back or just keep going on throught the Panama canal.

Also this boat is currently registratered in England but I'm told that all the duties have been paid to bring it into the states. Is there anything special I need to look for or do to change the title and registrater it here.

Any advice or help would be great. Thanks
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Old 29-09-2005, 09:34   #2
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http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/vdoc/nvdc.htm

all you ever wanted to know about documentation
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Old 29-09-2005, 10:57   #3
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talk to the people at saxon documentation in lauderdale,theycan tell you every thing. watch out for that 10% fla sales tax. ....jt
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Old 29-09-2005, 11:26   #4
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Documentation is a sort of federal registration. It is recognized around the world as a proof of ownership and it is the closest thing to a title in the US. State registration only has minimal proof of ownership requirement and so many loan companies will only loan against boats, over a certain price, that are documented. There are supposed to be other advantages, but these are the main ones. If you are just going to the Bahamas then it is probably not needed.

My boat was registered in Canada when I bought it. There was some additional paper work required to clear its title in Canada before the US documentation was issued. As with you, the duty was already paid by the seller. The total time from application to documentation was seven months! I was told that the USCG had a large backlog. I just kept a copy of the documentation application and sales receipt with me. I am not sure what a state agency would ask to see to prove ownership. I would assume that the receipt and the proof of duties paid would be all that is required. However, they may want some document to show that the sellers were authorized to sell the boat. You wouldn't want to find out that a bank in England had an unpaid loan due, or another vessel had a lien against them for unpaid damages they caused. You never know.

If you remove the boat from Florida within 90 days you should not have to pay the 6% Florida sales tax. You may have to pay your home state sales tax when you register it. You'll have to check on that. There is usually a form sent to your home state to inform them of the sale.
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Old 29-09-2005, 12:13   #5
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Documented Sailboat

Florida's sales tax does not apply to non-Florida residents IF they remove the boat from Florida within 90 days of purchase and keep it out (but within US territorial waters) for 180 days from the date it is removed from the state.
Taking it to the Bahamas does not start the clock. So Lane may want to be sure he stays in Texas for 6 months before heading to the Bahamas. That sounds like a good plan for avoiding hurricane season anyway.
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Old 29-09-2005, 14:39   #6
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lane,

exposure has a good point. Make sure you have proof that the duty has been paid. A friend of mine recently went to register his newly bought foreign built boat which has been in this country for quite a few years. The authorities claim duty was never paid for this boat and are after him for it. He bought it through a broker. The broker knows nothing, it was traded in. Nobody knows anything. My friend seems stuck.
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Old 29-09-2005, 21:53   #7
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I am curious about how US state registered vessels are handled by foreign authorities. I have heard stories of boats being seized as not registered because the foreign country would not recognize a state registration, and other stories to the opposite. I am at that point with the trimaran, and am wondering if I should document it or just leave it state registered. Lots of rumors out there, but only experience can answer this one.
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Old 30-09-2005, 05:32   #8
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Documenting a boat is neither rocket science nor so expensive as to break the bank. Just like the safety gear you choose before slipping the dock lines, if you think you will need it to protect your boat, do it. I think documentation is a matter of "better safe than sorry" should a foreign government decide to bust your chops over your ownership of the vessel. That's just my 2 cents.
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Old 30-09-2005, 21:01   #9
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I have owned, documented and returned to documentation a number of boats, but I have not been in a foreign port with a state registered vessel. one of the issues the Coasties brought up regarding the dockside boardings noted in my thread, is the fact that they were boarding documanted vessels I do not know if there are different rules for state registered vessels, but would like to find out. To limit the impact of the unbrideled power of the Coast Guard, it might be worth a few inconveniences.
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:27   #10
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Lane: I have my sailboat documented because I had always heard that many other countries did not accept State documentation as proof of ownership and I wanted to travel internationally on my own boat. The problem of foreign recognition of state registered boats, in my opinion, has been complicated by the fact that some states (or many) do not use the documentation process as part of a Title process. For instance Florida titles boats. Alabama does not title boats and Alaska does not title boats. (FWIW, there was a time when not all states titled autos either, even though you had to get the tags and license) This can frequently become a problem with financing and insurance when one looks outside a non-title state for marine insurance or yacht financing. So I must believe that the other countries are trying to make sure that they do not become havens for stolen vessels.

Kai Nui: Regarding having a documented boat or one that is state registered and likelihood of boarding by the Coast Guard. I don't think it makes any difference whether you are registered, documented or both whether they decide to board you. What follows is my experience. My sailboat is documented and homeported in Alaska. In Alaska, a federally documented vessel is not required to have State of Alaska registration. However, my boat is not in Alaska now. Most states in the lower 48 seem to require state registration if the boat is going to be in their waters more than 90 days. So my boat is registered in Alabama. If I go to Florida to cruise for 3 months in the winter then I also must get registered in FL. In AL I do not have to display a state number on my boat since it is Federally documented but I have to display the annual revenue sticker on both sides forward near the bow. My federal documented number is on the inside of my port lazerette where it is not visable except by inspection of that locker. I have been boarded more than once while on the water by the Coast Guard. They ask to see either my documentation (Federal) or registration (state). I usually show them my documentation. But so far they have never asked to see where on the boat I have put the federal number. They also demand that I show them some ID. (This ID thing is another subject that would be easy to digress to but I will not). I don't think they know before they board the boat whether it is documented or not. I also have a non documented motor boat that is State registered. The Coast Guard has boarded me on that boat a few times as well. They ask to see my registration not because they care or need to know from a Federal perspective but the States and the USCG have agreements that allow them to enforce each others laws. The Coast Guard has boarded me outside the three-mile state water as well as inside on State waters. Now for my rant. If it was only the Coast Guard that we had to deal with when the authorities go about enforcing water safety or other laws it would not be so bad. But in some parts of our country (Florida especially) there are a great number of agencies that can stop you while on the water and come aboard for a look. There is the State marine police in AL (but not FL), the State game and fish agency, city marine police, county sheriff marine police, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Customs, US Drug Control Admin., and on rare occassions the Bureau of A, T, & F. As an aside: Also, if sailing around the Caribbean an American flagged boat can be boarded by the US Navy or the US Coast Guard on international waters. This is part of the "War on Drugs" where the Navy has an active role in drug interdictions. I have seen all these guys zooming around the water or hanging out at marinas. At least the coast guard gives you a copy of their inspection report that you can present to other coast guard folks that may want to board and they will usually honor that for a certain length of time. A boarding on anything but a small boat usually takes at least 20 minutes while they check and see if you have all the required safety equipment, whether all the little stickers are posted (oil spill, plastic, etc.), and they also seem to get close enough to see if they can sniff you for alcohol on your breath. The closer you are to south FL the more likely you will be boarded by a multitude of agencies each looking for their own little item of interest but all apparently empowered to enforce the others regs. However, I must admit that when I am out in my fishing boat, the Coast Guard has not asked to inspect my catch. Only ask in a friendly way about how the fishing has been. But the State fish cops always are looking at my safety gear as well as measuring and counting my fish. And as I continue to rant. No similarity at all between what the PTB (Powers That Be) can do to you on the water as compared to a vehicle on the land where in most places there are not random road blocks and checks of you or your vehicle without probable cause. (although I have seen that in California a time or two but doesn't seem to happen in most other states where I travel.) Yeah, I believe that boaters are picked on but I also don't think that is likely to change.
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:37   #11
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Thanks for that Joe. I know about the title issues. I remember the days of cars not being titled in some states. I even a friend who got cited in Ca for no fron lic plate, even though the truck he had was licensed in a state that did not have front plates. But, I digress.
One of the many differences (on paper) between documented, and state titled vessels, is that the federal government may seize any documented vessel durring a time of war for use by the military. That may seem paranoid, but with the way things are going I think it is a legitimate concern. Over 200 vessels were seized by the US government durring WWII, according to what I have heard. Although I do not have anything to back it up beyond word of mouth, it sounds believable.
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Old 07-10-2005, 22:37   #12
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My car does not require a front license plate. And guess what else. From Janurary, to August this year. I was out in California. Had not one problem, with the police.

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Old 07-10-2005, 22:59   #13
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Must not be quota time
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Old 07-10-2005, 23:11   #14
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No Kai,

Arizona state law only requires the back palte only! No front plates.

California, used too only had back plates. But around what year, I can't remember when California, went to back. And front plates. But, it was not always that way!!

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Old 07-10-2005, 23:34   #15
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I believe it was the series before the black and gold plate. Maybe early 70's.
I wonder how long Ca has had CF #'s?
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