Other countries have different laws written to attract international business to spend money in their country.
Actually they don't. Those countries don't require the company owners to be citizens but do allow a local agent to act on behalf of the owners. Internationally it still is all the same. The agent collects a fee for the service
of course. On a small boat it's about the same as the taxes
and it has a renewal fee as well so you continue to pay.
In the US if the state wants to push that you only formed the corporation to dodge taxes
then they actually have you for criminal tax fraud. At that point they threaten you with jail unless you pay up with penalties and interest. Tax fraud is the only crime where you are guilty until proven Innocent. Attempting to Document a vessel and not being a US citizen would be a federal crime all on it's own and not tax related. They probably wouldn't let you go either assuming they caught you. You would then never be allowed entrance to the US with the Homeland Security
rules as they are now and they take your boat if it is still here.
This is nothing to mess around with and "gee I didn't know" is not a correct answer. Paperwork on your boat is 100% your responsibility and it is a huge deal if the authorities put you under the radar
in any country. For the most part it does not come up all the time, but once is all you need.