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Old 20-07-2009, 11:54   #1
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Dinghy Registration Required in the US?

Up in the great white north here you don't need to register a dinghy that has less than 10 hp, you can but it's optional. Ours isn't. Lately I've seen a bunch of dinks like ours (8 feet, 3.5 hp outboard) sporting Canadian licence numbers. One guy had the same licence number on the dink as on the sailboat. Was wondering why they are doing this and I am suspecting that possibly it is a requirement on the US side of the Great Lakes that a dinghy has to have a licence number on it? If so does that requirement apply to a foreign vessel?

We were planning on crossing Lake Ontario this summer to cruise the US side and don't want to upset the LEOs in New York State. We are also planning a trip south to the Bahamas for the winter so it would be good to know in advance what regulations apply along the way.
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Old 20-07-2009, 12:22   #2
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Laws vary from state to state and it's a lot better if you do have some numbers on your dink. There's no charge for licensing in Canada so do it. Years ago I got hassled by the sheriff in Cape May for not having any numbers on my dink. You don't need the numbers under 10 hp but it makes life easier.
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Old 20-07-2009, 13:00   #3
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In California any boat that is powered must be registered (or documented). Any sailboat over 8 feet must be registered. Human powered boats do not need to be registered.
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Old 20-07-2009, 13:25   #4
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I was kind of leaning that way but am always reluctant to visit the halls of the bureaucracy even when they aren't going to lighten my wallet. Better this way than with a summons to some court though.

But that begs the question what will stick to a PVC dink? I wouldn't expect that vinyl lettering would stick for very long if at all. The last two I saw looked like they'd been hand-lettered in red lettering on a wide yellow background. Is the colour mandated down there as well?
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Old 20-07-2009, 13:26   #5
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NY has the same rule - if it has a motor it has to be registered. if not then you are OK. So my inflatable is registered - it has an outboard. My hobie cat isnt since it doesnt. Rowboats also dont need to be registered.

Basically, if it is a MOTOR vehicle then you have to go to DMV and register it. No motor? no registration
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Old 20-07-2009, 13:45   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoe71 View Post

But that begs the question what will stick to a PVC dink? I wouldn't expect that vinyl lettering would stick for very long if at all. The last two I saw looked like they'd been hand-lettered in red lettering on a wide yellow background. Is the colour mandated down there as well?
They sell stencil kits with paint that'll stick to pvc but a sharpie will do just as well. I touch up my numbers every so often with a black sharpie. I used a stencil set originally. Colour doesn't matter but black usually looks good.
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Old 20-07-2009, 13:49   #7
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In California the law says the letters must contrast with the background.
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Old 20-07-2009, 13:49   #8
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When I had my inflatable aboard the Corsair 36, I did the name with Boatnumberplate.com and was really happy with the results. Photo below. It came with a little tube of adhesive, and I was able to choose the colors and font.
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