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Old 23-01-2012, 16:22   #1
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Documented or Titled?

I just put an offer in on a 34' Sabre and read on the contract that the boat is titled and not documented.

Assuming an area of operations of S Florida, and perhaps the Bahamas- what is the downside of being titled and not documented? Is there an advantage to going through the pain of subsequently documenting the boat?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Old 23-01-2012, 16:32   #2
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Documented means you don't have to have ugly registration numbers on the hull, only on the tender maybe. Ours was documented from new and we chose to keep it so, even though because I'm a Brit it had to be in my American wife's name. I don't think it will affect Bahamas trips at all either way but it might be better for some of the Caribbean islands. It might also help when you come to sell if the new owners wanted finance?
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Old 23-01-2012, 17:26   #3
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Re: Documented or Titled?

It used to be that in time of war the US military could take possession of a documented vessel. Though
"EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990
allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports". FEMA can take possession of any vessel at any time they deem a "national emergency" .
FEMA* Executive Orders
So now that the disadvantage of documenting applies to all vessels and it is also no longer a one time payment (plus you still have to pay the state)....what are the advantages of documenting.
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Old 23-01-2012, 18:15   #4
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Re: Documented or Titled?

There's a very important difference in the way liens are recorded.

Documented vessels do not have liens. They have "Claims of Lien." Since these are only "Claims", they are very easy to file and do not require any proof or review by someone with a pulse. The USCG simply takes anyone who sends in the form at their word and duly records the claim. They will not remove even a patently fake claim without a court order. So a naer-do-well (disgruntled crew) could place a claim on your vessel and then extort you for it's removal. Removing the claim requires going to court, which takes months and thousands of dollars if the person who placed it fights you.

Titled vessels have liens, which require a court order to be recorded, and thus there is a burden of proof on anyone who would file it. So the hypothetical disgruntled crew would have to at least make a believable fake invoice to justify the lien, serve you notice, and you'd have an opportunity to defend yourself before the lien is recorded.
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Old 23-01-2012, 18:22   #5
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Quote:
Originally Posted by msponer View Post
There's a very important difference in the way liens are recorded.

Documented vessels do not have liens. They have "Claims of Lien." Since these are only "Claims", they are very easy to file and do not require any proof or review by someone with a pulse. The USCG simply takes anyone who sends in the form at their word and duly records the claim. They will not remove even a patently fake claim without a court order. So a naer-do-well (disgruntled crew) could place a claim on your vessel and then extort you for it's removal. Removing the claim requires going to court, which takes months and thousands of dollars if the person who placed it fights you.

Titled vessels have liens, which require a court order to be recorded, and thus there is a burden of proof on anyone who would file it. So the hypothetical disgruntled crew would have to at least make a believable fake invoice to justify the lien, serve you notice, and you'd have an opportunity to defend yourself before the lien is recorded.
Good info... didnt realize that. I think a document would be easier checking in in the Caribe, but not absolutely necessary...
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Old 23-01-2012, 18:26   #6
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Re: Documented or Titled?

I really appreciate this good info. But Brain Hurts!!!

So given all the negatives, why would someone document? Not to fly numbers?

Thanks

Bill
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:18   #7
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Theoretical question: Do you need to be documented to clear into country xxx?
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:18   #8
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Re: Documented or Titled?

It used to be that documenting was a one time/pay deal not like the annual state stuff you have to go through..but the federal govt decided they wanted an annual fee and some states also want their share.
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:21   #9
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Most folks who document these days do it because the banks demand it if you want a mortgage.
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:22   #10
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Re: Documented or Titled?

So once again, whats the value of a doccumented vessel??
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:24   #11
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Mortgageable, I guess. Good thing I own my boat outright!
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:31   #12
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Re: Documented or Titled?

There is no annual fee to renew your CG documentation--it is still free. However, many states still require you to also register your boat with them, which will surely have an annual fee. Massachusetts does not require a documented boat to be registered, but Rhode Island next door does. Florida requires all boats to be state registered, even if you are documented and from out of state. Go figure. Big advantage of documentation is that it is instantly recognizable in any foreign port and will garner the least scrutiny. If you pull out some battered, wallet-sized state registration you will instantly arouse suspicion in some other countries. New York's state registration is such a cheapo print out on crappy paper that it looks worse than something you dreamed up on your home inkjet printer. Another advantage is that you don't need to put numbers on the bow of your boat.
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:34   #13
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Quote:
Originally Posted by msponer View Post
There's a very important difference in the way liens are recorded.

Documented vessels do not have liens. They have "Claims of Lien." Since these are only "Claims", they are very easy to file and do not require any proof or review by someone with a pulse. The USCG simply takes anyone who sends in the form at their word and duly records the claim. They will not remove even a patently fake claim without a court order. So a naer-do-well (disgruntled crew) could place a claim on your vessel and then extort you for it's removal. Removing the claim requires going to court, which takes months and thousands of dollars if the person who placed it fights you.

Titled vessels have liens, which require a court order to be recorded, and thus there is a burden of proof on anyone who would file it. So the hypothetical disgruntled crew would have to at least make a believable fake invoice to justify the lien, serve you notice, and you'd have an opportunity to defend yourself before the lien is recorded.
I want to look into this as it has been my understanding that it was more difficult for a lien to be executed against a documented vessel. This is something I recently had confirmed in a brief article I read on the matter. I will find that article and post here.
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? I would love the chance to make the best decision before I renew my documentation a bit later this year.
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:38   #14
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Many states (or local authorities) will require some form of tax payment or user fee on a documented boat, and sometimes they require a sticker on the boat as proof of such payment, but they cannot ask you to register your documented boat. Effectively it's already registered with the Federal government.
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:44   #15
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Re: Documented or Titled?

Quote:
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Many states (or local authorities) will require some form of tax payment or user fee on a documented boat, and sometimes they require a sticker on the boat as proof of such payment, but they cannot ask you to register your documented boat. Effectively it's already registered with the Federal government.
Good post, living in NY I am required to register my boat that is already doccumented. NY has a special division of the sales tax dept that just deals with finding unregistered boats that should be registered, don't ask me how I know this.
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