It's simple, and you don't seem to get it. The state of California
most likely has in it's regulations
, a statute claiming jurisdictional authority over any vessel which names a Hailing Port within it's borders the Hailing Port associated with the process of that vessel being Documented by the Federal Government
(aka: USCG). This would be regardless of anything in the Federal codes, but the authority for which IS backed up by the Federal codes.
If you had documented the boat yourself, not a third party service
, you should have seen the multitude of links on the documentation
center's website. These tell of the authority of federal, state and local jurisdiction and so on.
Specifically read everything you can in 46 CFR Parts
67, 68, and authority definitions in 46 USC, chapters 121 and 125; 46 USC APP. 802 & 883
In your case CFR Title 46, Section 67, Subpart K, Code 67.119 (c):
"The hailing port must include the State, territory, or possession in which it is located." I had an officer of the Coast Guard tell me in a voice communication that "IT" is the vessel.
And SURE, it can be anywhere, but that's not the issue here, the issue is what authority that location has once you've named it as the Hailing Port. You should have checked that before you named it.
I was also told by more than one officer, in more than one communication prior to the completion of our latest application, that you basically have two choices for your Hailing Port, and this can be changed on you by their authority... Where YOU are, and where the boat is supposed to be.
I drove those guys crazy the first time with requests they explain about half the presiding codes. They were nice, but I could hear the stress in their voices, plus the mix of admiration that I was making every possible effort to do things absolutely correct.
You'll get no dispute from me that you can name anywhere, but by the rules, that named place is where the boat is "supposed" to be primarily based, as in PHYSICALLY THERE. At least by intent if nothing else.
The Coast Guard Documentation
Center (presiding legal
authority at the federal level) told you, based on the code I just listed, to name your hailing port - even if there isn't even a lake to put the boat in, and/or where the boat is moored, docked, anchored, or sitting on blocks. Did you do this? I quoted the actual code for you... And even gave you a link so you can go see that I made no typo.
As far as California
is concerned, they took you at your sworn word on that application, that if, filled in correctly, would mean exactly what they think, the boat is in California somewhere near the city of Hollywood (which is land-locked, by the way).
CFR's and USC state that making a statement on a federal application carries the same validity as a court sworn statement, thus incorrect statements constitute perjury or fraud. Based on your only two legal
choices (per Coast Guard rules), you've declared that the boat resides or is based in their state.
From there, we go back to the CFR's, which state that once you declared California the Hailing Port, you have given them jurisdiction over your vessel, for state and local registration
, plus any OTHER state where the boat may be actually located at the present moment.
The cover letter that accompanied your COD states: "STATE REGISTRATION
: State and local officials have the right to board documented vessels for law enforcement purposes. Many states require registration of documented vessels for tax or other purposes. You may be required to place a decal on your vessel showing that you have COMPLIED WITH STATE REQUIREMENTS. CONTACT STATE AUTHORITIES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION."
Complying with state requirements goes a lot farther than just registration, as referred to in this passage
. The USCG cannot list each and every code in their communications
, nor do they need to, because by law, you were supposed to go read them yourself before initiating action.
Here is a quote from the COD application you signed to get you COD: "Potential penalties for FALSE STATEMENTS or representations by owner or representative: civil, monetary, vessel forfeiture (46 USC 12151), fine and/or imprisonment (18 USC 1001)" I touched only briefly on this my last post. I think it is self explanatory.
You have freely admitted on this forum that the boat is not in Hollywood, and you had done so for the sake of novelty, not out of fulfilling the intent of the Hailing Port listing requirement.
Do you REALLY believe the Federal Government
just wants you to arbitrarily throw out "any" location name, just for giggle sake? If you owned an aircraft you would already be dealing with the FAA, Homeland Security
, and potentially the FBI for not clearly declaring the location of the "craft", and trust me, you'd already be feeling some pain in your backside.
The question was, and is, a serious one, and a legal one, and you treated it like a joke, and apparently believe it to be one if you think there to be no intent in requiring the information in the first place, nor ramifications for such an action for making a mockery of it.
Based on what I witness daily down here where drug runners are using these boats to move their illegal cargos, I expect that some time soon, just as it happened recently with aircraft, we will all see some newly re-worded codes, and even more codes added to account for vessels and their whereabouts.
Every time I sail to the end of our island, I enjoy a game
of spotting the spotter... This is where we use our powerful binoculars to locate the land based surveillance team keeping an eye on what we're doing just off shore... you got it... where the small planes drop the drugs! This stuff is getting more and more serious by the minute. Been to the airport
We can't ride the local ferry
any more without being put up against a fence and run past by drug sniffing dogs
while our bags and purses are removed from us and laid out on the port's dock
. No matter if it's raining cats and dogs
And the rest of you who've been criticizing California for doing what they're legally entitled to do, had he been telling the truth... You should do some homework of your own.
Sure, you can criticize their laws that you think are extreme or without merit, I've no problem with that. Heck, I'm a native and had done so myself the whole time I was there. But to say they are "wrong" in this issue is ignorant. The OP was wrong in his action. Then again when he ignored California's first attempts at communication and collection. Who else out there "ignores" something as important as that, and thinks it will just go away?
Being one who does pre-buy inspections and helps folks through the purchasing
and registration and documentation processes, I'll give you an example of how some of this really works...
You could be in Idaho, and the boat in Florida
, and you say it is a St Thomas based boat by naming Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI as the Hailing Port.
For 90 days Florida
has no claim on her even though she's there. And St Thomas... they actually won't even allow you to register the boat in the USVI and take any money
from you unless the boat is physycally there at St Thomas or St John at the time of making their "state" application for registration. So your first 90 days are free.
But... after 90 days, per THEIR local statutes (backed up by the "terms" of vessel Documentation), you either need the boat to leave their waters, or pay Florida registration, AND be subject to their use taxes
, and/or Personal Property Tax (I've seen that get ugly). If the boat was purchased outside the USA, then you can add Duty to the tally as well... Ouch!
Reverse this and Florida will demand registration, sales and use taxes immediately, and Duty if due, even if the boat were physically in St Thomas! And because it is a Documented vessel, you've granted the Federal Government the authority to rub the state's authority up your rear if they want to. YOU NEEDED TO DO THE LOCAL HOMEWORK TOO.
Based on CFR's, if a state's laws say they have authority over you because you made some formal or legal declaration they say constitutes or grants said authority, like naming your boat's home port: Hollywood, California, then guess what, both state and federal law say that they do have that authority over you and your boat. But enforcement ends up being a whole other matter, doesn't it?
Now, since you aren't there, and I no longer study California law, I personally do not know what legal remedies they have available in this particular case, as to domestication of their claims in your actual home jurisdiction, so you may actually be able to ignore them and get away with it indefinitely.
In your case though, I'd be more worried about if California made a complaint to the Coast Guard that you have not complied, as their codes say you must do.
Haven't looked up the specifics to enforcement nor potential penalties for non compliance of the state level, when it comes to the COD. There may not be any, or it may be too "muddy" for the USCG to get in the middle of it. But what "may" be at risk wouldn't let me sleep at night.
On the flip side, if you fight California by admitting the boat is not, was not recently, nor will be in California, you've possibly opened yourself up to a formal complaint by California to the Coast Guard of falsified statements on a legal federal application, with penalties already described.
Good luck! I think you'll need a lot if it.