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Old 25-09-2016, 16:13   #1
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Non-resident Wishing To Register In Florida

As a Canadian non-resident of Florida, I am purchasing a Florida registered boat and I want to keep it in Florida. I have no problem paying the taxes and the registration fees as I will be using the boat in and out of Floridian waters. I was looking at the government form to register a vessel in Florida and there is a line on the form that asks for a Florida Street address and says it is mandatory. Is it possible to use a lawyer's office address or a re-mail address as I don't wish to chase around for other state registrations?
Thank you for your help in this matter.
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Old 25-09-2016, 16:30   #2
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Re: non-resident wishing to register in Florida

Since you will be storing the boat in fl, put down the address where it is stored. There should also be a mailing address which can be your Canadian address. I stored a boat in Fl while I lived in NC and I got my tax bill (registration fee) every year at my NC address. They want to know the Fl address so that the correct county gets their share of the registration fee.
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Old 25-09-2016, 16:31   #3
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Re: non-resident wishing to register in Florida

FL address is mandatory. That's really odd since it is also mandatory for visiting, non resident boaters that spend more than 90 days in the state to register in FL. Don't you just love government red tape.

Where will you be docking the boat? Maybe use the address of the marina?
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Old 25-09-2016, 16:42   #4
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Re: non-resident wishing to register in Florida

Or St Brendan's Isle ?

Sent from my STUDIO 5.5 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 25-09-2016, 19:19   #5
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Re: non-resident wishing to register in Florida

I have my answer and I always like to know why!! so I got more than I hoped for thank you all so very much. The people on this site are amazing.

Not St. Brendan's, Skye.
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Old 21-10-2016, 14:44   #6
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Re: Non-resident Wishing To Register In Florida

I am finding many layers to foreign nationals (Canadian) owning a Florida registered boat.
It is possible to register a boat in Florida without residency but customs, immigration, and the coast guard make it legally impossible to use it without having a lawyer present. Does anyone know a lawyer who can navigate all the visa and immigration requirements.
I believe it is easier just to register the boat in the Bahamas and purchase a yearly cruising permit for the US.
Has anyone gone that route?Thank you for all help.
BobV.
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Old 21-10-2016, 15:39   #7
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Re: Non-resident Wishing To Register In Florida

If you Federally register your boat as Canadian flagged you don't need to register it in Florida and you'll pay no fees except a US Cruising licence good for 1 year. Sail across to the Bahamas every year for a couple of weeks and you're good.
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Old 22-10-2016, 14:37   #8
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Re: Non-resident Wishing To Register In Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olorin View Post
If you Federally register your boat as Canadian flagged you don't need to register it in Florida...
No offense, but this is just completely wrong. If you keep the boat in Florida for more than 90 days then you must register it with the state. The registration fee is very reasonable. You need not re-title the boat. But you do need to register it.
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Old 22-10-2016, 15:34   #9
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Re: Non-resident Wishing To Register In Florida

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
No offense, but this is just completely wrong. If you keep the boat in Florida for more than 90 days then you must register it with the state. The registration fee is very reasonable. You need not re-title the boat. But you do need to register it.
Read the law again, it clearly exempts foreign flagged boats operating under a cruising permit from this requirement.
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Old 22-10-2016, 18:26   #10
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Re: Non-resident Wishing To Register In Florida

I don't see any reason to register in Florida. Registering in Canada is very cheap as is the cruising permit. You do need to leave the US for 15 days before getting a new cruising permit on your return. One other wrinkle is that if you are on the hard you can get your cruising permit extended. So if you are out of the water for two months the permit gets extended for two months. To do this you need to hand in your Canadian reg'n and cruising permit at the local customs office. They will give you a receipt. One thing to be aware of is that some ICE officials do not know the many laws and regulations that exist - it is along story.
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Old 24-10-2016, 06:41   #11
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Re: Non-resident Wishing To Register In Florida

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Read the law again, it clearly exempts foreign flagged boats operating under a cruising permit from this requirement.
Well, I did read the law and now I'm more confused than I was. Here is what it says...

328.56 Vessel registration number.—Each vessel that is operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state must display a commercial or recreational Florida registration number, unless it is...
(8) A vessel from a country other than the United States temporarily using the waters of this state;

You can see the full statute here: Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine

So, clearly there is an exception for vessels from other countries. But what exactly does "temporarily using the waters of this state" mean? The law does not define that. In other areas of the statute they do specify "temporarily used... not in excess of 90 days" and elsewhere "temporary authority... invalid after 30 days..." So does "temporary" mean 30 days, 90 days, or something else?

Now, in the brochure that they publish, the DMV says "vessels from a country other than the U.S., temporarily using the waters of this state for not more than 90 days" are exempted from registration. That brochure can be found here: https://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/FFFVO.pdf

Of course, a brochure does not carry the weight of law, but clearly the DMV thinks "temporary," at least in this case, means 90 days.

So then the question is, if it goes to court, how would a judge/jury interpret the law? I did a search for a case on this matter and was not able to find one, leaving things still up in the air.

Bottom line here is that the DMV thinks "temporary" means 90 days. So there is a very good chance that they would ticket and/or fine you if you did not register within 90 days. You would then, of course, be entitled to argue the issue in court where you might--or might not--get it overturned.

Who knows? Like so many things about the law, it is unclear until a court ruling has been made (and maybe one already HAS been made, but I couldn't find it). If you want to take your chances, you might win. If you want to be safe you should register your boat within 90 days. And, again, unless you own a mega-yacht, the registration will be less than $200. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth the risk?

Oh, and, just to be clear... I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Just the results of my research into this particular matter, and my conclusions based on what I found. As they say, YMMV.
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