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Old 23-01-2012, 19:54   #16
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Ah, I see. Thanks, CBurger. This is from the USCG website: "States may require documented vessels to be registered (but not numbered) and to display state decals showing that they have complied with state requirements." - Colin
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Old 23-01-2012, 20:07   #17
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Re: Documented or Titled?

My County here in the U.S. still gets it's little slice, Documented or not. This thread has me thinking about the benefits of Documentation and really I'm not sure except perhaps it might save me money and hassle over time. Cali DMV registration fees fluctuate more and usually not to our benefit. I also believe (right or wrong)that DMV codes are more "mecurial" than the USCG "registration" codes... as in the fed moves a bit more ploddingly.

Also, here in L.A. I can notice the county that I am leaving their jurisdiction and taxes will no longer be levied and never have to be bothered with the local authority again. When I am far from home I'd rather take my chances with the USCG as I have always found it so simple, easy and fast to renew my documentation and I have not always had the same experience with our DMV.
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Old 23-01-2012, 20:14   #18
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Re: Documented or Titled?

I documented my boat in 2002, and have been annually renewing since then at no additional cost. The renewal is more of a verification that the particulars have not changed, but you do need to fill out and return the forms every year. If you plan to be away from home and without mail access, you can pay someone for an annual renewal service.

I have no California registration for this boat, but do have for my outboard-driven tender.

The biggest gov't-related expense is the annual California property tax.
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:19   #19
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Re: Documented or Titled?

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Originally Posted by Butler View Post
Meanwhile can you cite the source for your info? What is the real value of a "claim of lien" and is a mere clain of lien enough to take a persons boat w/o any evidence of cause?
Well, it's a long story, but I had a bad crew person in 1999 (repeat after me, "There's nothing worse than bad crew. There's nothing worse than bad crew. There's nothing ...") that I kicked off of the boat before we even left the dock. He filed a "Claim of Lien" on my boat that I did not know about until ~2008, when I went to sell it.

This guy has serious mental health problems, and I found the original paperwork that he filed through the documentation agent. He'd written some huge number in big crazy letters, then crossed it out and wrote an even huger number in bigger and more crazy letters, with "For services rendered" underneath. That's all it took. No requirement to even notify me, make an invoice, contract, or any other proof of anything. A homeless guy could literally walk the docks and put "Claims of Liens" on every Documented vessel in the marina. He'd have to skip the boats with state Titles.

So what I wrote is my layman understanding of what the marine lawyer I hired to sort this out told me.

I believe the "Claim of Lien" is worthless except that is shows up in a title search. It is not actionable in any way, because it's just a claim, after all. But it does make it nearly impossible to sell a boat, since few buyers would want to buy a boat without a clear title. It does make it impossible to get a "Deletion Certificate", for a buyer who wants to register the boat in another country. This is of course my laymans understanding.

That said, I do not think it's a big enough risk to justify not registering a boat. I am now more cautious with other people, especially ones that I get a weird feeling off.
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:27   #20
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Re: Documented or Titled?

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..but the federal govt decided they wanted an annual fee and some states also want their share.
You are misinformed. The USCG documentation is a one-time fee unless you're changing something. Annual acknowledgment consists of the cost of envelope and stamp. State registration requires an annual or bi-annual payment, whatever. Unlike some states, California doesn't require state registration and related fees if the boat is USCG documented (strangely, for a high-tax state.)
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Old 23-01-2012, 21:30   #21
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Re: Documented or Titled?

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The biggest gov't-related expense is the annual California property tax.
That's for sure. Expect the property tax on my new boat will exceed that for my house.
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Old 23-01-2012, 23:11   #22
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Thanks you guys for the no fee clarification... I have renewed once already and should have remembered... duh!
re the danger of losing a vessel to a "national emergency", I'll take that chance. Seems it would take quite a threat to get the wheels turning on that but maybe I have too much faith.
I remember reading somewhere about U.S. yacht owners during WWII being "conscripted" to combine their recreational sailing with sub watch off our coasts and internationally I think of the British evacuation of Dunkirk involving recreational boaters.
Were Aussie boaters called on in similar ways during WWII?
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Old 23-01-2012, 23:18   #23
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Re: Documented or Titled?

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Mortgageable, I guess. Good thing I own my boat outright!
In other words to make it easier for the bank (or anyone else for that matter)to put a lien on the boat.
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Old 23-01-2012, 23:23   #24
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Re: Documented or Titled?

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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
You are misinformed. The USCG documentation is a one-time fee unless you're changing something. Annual acknowledgment consists of the cost of envelope and stamp. State registration requires an annual or bi-annual payment, whatever. Unlike some states, California doesn't require state registration and related fees if the boat is USCG documented (strangely, for a high-tax state.)
Washington state requires that documented vessels pay just like the others, documented boats often have thier sticker at the base of the mast (just no #s displayed anywhere)
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Old 23-01-2012, 23:55   #25
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Re: Documented or Titled?

There are many good reason to have your boat documented if you travel to a different country...DVC
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Old 24-01-2012, 01:15   #26
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Re: Documented or Titled?

The reasons for documenting are that the chain of ownership since construction are proven and that the ownership is free of encumbrances unless otherwise recorded. (Thieves prefer to register, not document, stolen boats for that reason.) Also, should the owner skip out on the bill a boatyard or chandler can attach that Claim of Lien. I don't know the details of the procedure, but I do know that the mechanism can be used to get the boat seized for non-payment anywhere the CG can find it. Otherwise enforcing judgements in different states can be expensive. Thus lenders, marinas, and chandlers prefer, or at least used to prefer, documents. Personally I would be reluctant to buy a cruising boat without documentation, partly as assurance of clear ownership and partly because it can be very difficult to document later (since the chain of ownership has to be established from the Master Carpenter's Certificate provided by the builder through Bills of Sale to present).

As I noted in another thread, most but not all foreign authorities can be convinced to take state registration, but it may waste some time to accomplish. A few years ago Guadeloupe (a department of France) was fining US state registered boats because they couldn't produce a document. After paying the fine they were free to go. Merci.
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Old 25-01-2012, 14:59   #27
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Thanks again to all for continuing my education. As this boat will be used in US waters and perhaps the Bahamas, I will leave it titled..... But the next one!

Bill
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Old 25-01-2012, 15:21   #28
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Re: Documented or Titled?

While it is true your vessel can be appropriated by the US govt. your vessel also carries protection of the US govt. into other countries. I have filed a lien for wages on a vessel that I was operating and when the vessel went up on Marshal's auction, I got nada, not even a notification of the auction. A documented vessel, is not as easy to seize.
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Old 28-01-2012, 19:26   #29
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Don't forget to renew, five bucks if you catch it soon enough. If not, in the hundreds.

I fax renewals, Falling Waters loses the phony mailers.
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Old 28-01-2012, 19:38   #30
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Re: Documented or Titled?

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Don't forget to renew, five bucks if you catch it soon enough. If not, in the hundreds.

I fax renewals, Falling Waters loses the phony mailers.
There is no fee for timely renewal. Late renewal costs $5.

USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Fee Page
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