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Old 12-08-2014, 15:16   #1
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Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

This is an unusual question and I haven't found a specific answer to it anywhere.

I have a Grand Banks 42, Shutterfly, and her dinghy, Shutterpillar. (Shutterfly is named after my predilection for butterfly photography, and so Shutterpillar is the caterpillar ). Shutterfly is USCG documented and registered in the state of Florida. The dinghy is a West Marine 10.5' RIB with a 3 hp equivalent Torqeedo electric motor. I have paid all applicable registration fees and taxes for the boat and dinghy, so for a change this question has nothing to do with money, dodging fees, etc .

I was planning to paint my dinghy in the spirit of the Wynwood Walls district of Miami (do a quick Google image search if you're curious), and so I do not want ugly registration numbers on my dinghy. I don't mind the registration sticker and will leave room in the design to put that up. So understand that this is strictly a question of aesthetics, not finance.

If I paint a big "Shutterpillar T/T Shutterfly" on the side of the boat as part of my artwork, and show my registration sticker to prove that I have paid all applicable fees, is this legal, and would it be likely to have practical consequences if I did things that way?

Certainly there is no question that there would be any ambiguity introduced about ownership of the vessel. I am looking forward to the somewhat sneaky thought that nobody would be likely to steal an inflatable boat that is so conspicuously painted since they would have to do a lot of work to make it sellable, and of course it would be directly traceable back to the owner until they laboriously got rid of the paint. Perhaps I could start a trend of art dinghies?

Your thoughts are, of course, greatly appreciated.

David
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Old 12-08-2014, 15:29   #2
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

I think technically you need the registration numbers on it. I never put mine on... instead I put them on those plastic placards they sell and put clips on the placards to clip on the dingy when I use it.
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Old 12-08-2014, 16:08   #3
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

You have to display the big ugly numbers, I have see the TF for ______ without registration numbers, but only assume they have just gotten lucky. I got pulled over by FWC last weekend and had to show my life vests, I feel sure if I wasn't displaying registration marks I wouldn't have been waved on like I was.
If Hypalon, how are you going to get the paint to stick?
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Old 12-08-2014, 22:16   #4
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

In Florida, a boat is a boat as long as it can move faster than walking speed or somesuch. This means you need all same navigation lights, safety equipment (flares and lifejackets for everyone aboard, dewatering device, etc.),and you registration stickers and numbers.
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Old 12-08-2014, 23:45   #5
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

The numbers are required but like Cheechako, I've never put mine on and never even put the sticker on. As I deflate my dinghy I don't think the sticker would stay on the fabric. I've thought about making boards like Cheechako describes but I've never bothered.

I like your idea for painting the dinghy. As a Miami resident I'm familiar with the Wynwood walls. Will you do the art yourself? Maybe you could incorporate the numbers into the art?

I put a vinyl wrap on my store that looks like a giant salt water aquarium. We've even got a very sexy mermaid on one end of the building.
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Old 13-08-2014, 07:48   #6
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

Short answer: No. It is not legal. Clearly spelled out here: Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

As others have said, though, the likelihood of getting fined and/or into any trouble is pretty slim.

Of course, if you choose not to display the numbers, happen to run into an over-zealous officer of the law, and get a ticket... No fair whining about it, and no sympathy from here. Just suck it up and pay the fine.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
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Old 13-08-2014, 08:01   #7
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I like your idea for painting the dinghy. As a Miami resident I'm familiar with the Wynwood walls. Will you do the art yourself? Maybe you could incorporate the numbers into the art?

I put a vinyl wrap on my store that looks like a giant salt water aquarium. We've even got a very sexy mermaid on one end of the building.
I think integrating the numbers into the art is what I'll have to do.

I recently bought a Raritan Elegance marine toilet and some LED lights from you and was very pleased with both price and service. Not to mention the mermaid .

The toilet is working great, it is a big relief not to have to pump the handle and wonder if the toilet is really flushed or not.

My friend Eva Ruiz, a really great artist, is doing the art. We're working on my boat's logo and name boards right now, and after that we will tackle the dinghy. She is researching the type of paint that would work. I wonder if it makes sense to do a vinyl wrap? Can that be done on an inflatable if the boat is always kept inflated?

David
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Old 13-08-2014, 08:12   #8
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
If Hypalon, how are you going to get the paint to stick?
An excellent question, and I don't know the answer. Anyone got suggestions?

Zboss: At a top speed of 4 knots, I'm not sure if my dinghy can go faster than walking speed, but I think it's actually any power-driven vessel that needs registration. Darn .

David
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Old 13-08-2014, 08:32   #9
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

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Originally Posted by David Dennis View Post
I think integrating the numbers into the art is what I'll have to do.
At least on aircraft, and I think it's the same for boats, the numbers have to be clearly visible, and a contrasting color to the background, a certain size etc.
Hard to work that in.
For what you want seems the boards make the most sense, at least you could flip the boards inside the dink when it wasn't underway?

I've vinyl wrapped a couple of aircraft, I don't think the glue used on that kind of vinyl will stay stuck for long on a dink, at least not Hypalon, that stuffs seems very non-stick. When I painted my numbers on I buffed the area no covered in stencil with a little acetone saturated scotch brite pad, has worked so far
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Old 13-08-2014, 08:47   #10
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

The reg number display requiments are quite specific in location and size state to state, with most being equal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I put a vinyl wrap on my store that looks like a giant salt water aquarium. We've even got a very sexy mermaid on one end of the building.
Hoppy...
Pictures Please!
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Old 13-08-2014, 09:01   #11
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Re: Florida Dinghy and Registration Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dennis View Post
I think integrating the numbers into the art is what I'll have to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
At least on aircraft, and I think it's the same for boats, the numbers have to be clearly visible, and a contrasting color to the background, a certain size etc.
This is something that you can easily look up yourself. Just about every marina and chandler has been visited by a friendly USPS or USCG Aux member who left a rack of pamphlets. One of them is a guide to the federal requirements, which includes info on numbering.

Your state registration documents, probably on the back of the sticker, will also explain the details:

- Numbers and letters must be on each side of the forward half of the vessel where they can best be seen.
- They must be at least 3" high.
- They must be in a contrasting color to the hull or background.
- They must be block letters.
- There must not be any other numbers or letters on the forward part.
- The numbers and letters must be separated by a space at least the average width of a letter or number, not counting "i" or "1".
- They must read left to right, as viewed from outside the boat.

There should be no mystery, the rules are clear and well publicized. It amazes me how many people, including yard workers, don't bother to look them up before applying registration numbers. You can walk into West Marine and buy stick-on letters and numbers, advertised for this use, which aren't legal to use. Go figure.
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