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Old 22-04-2013, 15:39   #1
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Documented Boats Lapsing Renewal

I am looking at two different project boats. Both curiously have been documented but show on USCG site that renewal has lapsed. Both owners seem to know nothing about documentation paperwork and both were unable to produce titles. The one guy seems legit, but the other guy claims Virgin Islands does not give ownership titles.
Anybody here can give some clarity to issue. I would like to know I am getting legal boat and can document again with USCG without any issue. As far as I understand the prior owner must send release form to USCG to allow new owner to carry new document paperwork. What gives?
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Old 22-04-2013, 15:47   #2
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Re: Documented Boats Lapsing Renewal

In many states there is no boat title if the boat is US Coast Guard documented. The Coast Guard document serves as the title. So, if the document looks legitimate and can be produced by the seller, and it is in the name of who you are buying it from, I don't believe there is a major issue if it hasn't expired. I don't know what the situation is if the document is expired. I would definitely want to get at least a Coast Guard bill of sale and have the previous owner hand over the old document, expired or not. You should be able to do a title search with the Coast Guard:


Quote:
HOW DO I OBTAIN TITLE INFORMATION FOR A DOCUMENTED VESSEL?
You may obtain an Abstract of Title which will show all bills of sale, mortgages, and notices of claim of lien filed and recorded by the Coast Guard. You may request the Abstract by fax if you pay by credit card or may mail your request with the appropriate fee to the NVDC. To get accurate information you must supply the name and official number of the vessel.
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Old 22-04-2013, 16:07   #3
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Re: Documented Boats Lapsing Renewal

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
In many states there is no boat title if the boat is US Coast Guard documented. The Coast Guard document serves as the title. So, if the document looks legitimate and can be produced by the seller, and it is in the name of who you are buying it from, I don't believe there is a major issue if it hasn't expired. I don't know what the situation is if the document is expired. I would definitely want to get at least a Coast Guard bill of sale and have the previous owner hand over the old document, expired or not. You should be able to do a title search with the Coast Guard:
Agreed. Neither has been yet to produce any document or title, which puzzles me as to why they have boat yet no paperwork, as I would never take possession of a boat as they seemingly have without knowledge of prior ownership and legal documents or paperwork in hand. As far as I understand the USCG requires form filing for release of document by prior owner. If they did not do that, I wonder if it prevents me from documenting as both boats already have documented hull numbers.
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Old 22-04-2013, 16:12   #4
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Re: Documented Boats Lapsing Renewal

You can use that CG document number to search for ownership details. If this is the Virgin Islands a lot of boats are damaged in hurricanes there or elsewhere in the Caribbean, and they end up being "salvaged" by someone without any formal paperwork, etc. I strongly suspect there would be a way of registering it in the USVI if you were to fix the boat up there. Look around the cruising fleet for some longterm VI liveaboards/boatyard workers and ask them about the boats and the person.
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Old 22-04-2013, 16:28   #5
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Re: Documented Boats Lapsing Renewal

Talk to the USCG office. They are not a monolithic bureaucracy, but a friendly small office. They will have a ready solution for you. I was unable to get appropriate paperwork from my befuddled and lazy PO so the USCG had me sign a form guaranteeing title. It makes a somewhat imperfect title, but the intent of the chain of ownership is clear.

Give them a call. Be straight with them. Do what they say. They've seen it all before.
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Old 22-04-2013, 20:11   #6
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Contact the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) and they can answer your questions authoritatively. I have always found them to be responsive and easy to work with.

Lapsed docs can be renewed for an additional fee, but there are some time limits which I dont recall exactly. NVDC web site has this info.
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Old 23-04-2013, 04:39   #7
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Re: Documented Boats Lapsing Renewal

In order to protect your interest, I would suggest using a Marine Title Company, should you choose to purchase one of these boats.

They will insure the proper paperwork is filled out and that there are no leins or other problems with the title.
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