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Old 30-12-2017, 06:08   #31
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

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That is quite odd. In researching this issue for an overseas CF member last year I called the headquarters of FL FWC to ask about sales tax, title, etc and was told quite specifically that a foreigner purchasing a boat in FL and not removing it within the 90 day deadline would be required to title and register and pay sales tax in FL. Obviously in FL the left hand and right hand at the FWC have a failure to communicate.
Our experience over the last year has shown that the right hand, the left hand and the approximately 50 CPB members we have dealt with don't have a clue about their rules or what their other members are saying.

I want to re-state that in the decades of crossing the border by boat and cruising US waters I have never experienced anything like this. To complicate matters, many local cops have been given the power to operate under CPB for on water enforcement. Surely I don't have to detail the intelligence or attitude of small town local cops ( they now have bigger badges).
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Old 30-12-2017, 08:07   #32
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

We have done this a few times and it's really easy. We never had the previous owner delete the documentation, we did that ourselves. Once you receive a bill of sale the vessel is yours and your able to complete the de-documentation process. After the vessel has been de-documented you are able to state register at which time you will pay the sales/use tax.
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Old 30-12-2017, 08:20   #33
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

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Thanks for your concern, boat was sold and registered out of USA since 2012. Just interesting stuff how the agent was able to do it if the regulations have not changed. The agent was recommended by a major brokerage firm in the US. Well, now I suppose I'm in the FBI's most wanted list..
But seriously good to know that USCG documentation is only for US citizens/entities, in case I ever buy a boat in USA anymore.
There are a lot of laws that you could break years ago and not get caught, that information sharing technology between federal and state agencies is making harder and harder to get away with now.

There are guys who rob banks and don't get caught, too. But, not many.
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Old 30-12-2017, 11:55   #34
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Chris-
Technically, a vessel can be federally "registered" with the USCG. But here in the US, we all pretty much refer to this as "USCG documentation" and the term "registration" is reserved for registration with one of the US states. The words are used specifically to clarify which type of paperwork is involved, state or federal.
Now, as an alien, you are not allowed to federally document a boat. You must document ("Flag") a vessel in the country that you are a citizen of, or some country of convenience that allows (typically through a corporate shell) other arrangements. The US does not allow this.
That's the bottom line on "documentation" and flagging a vessel.

A second option--and problem--for you, is that all US states and territories require vessels of most types to be registered in some way with SOME state, unless they are foreign flagged and have entered the US through a cruising permit.

Florida will require you to pay sales tax, and also to have the vessel registered with some state, typically within 90 days of purchase. After that they will get nasty and impose fines or seize the boat. There's no work-around on that. If you are a Florida resident and you try to avoid the Florida state sales tax and vessel registration, you may find yourself being charged with things that lead to revocation of your resident status and a deportation order.

So if you want to stay in the US? Without fear of being arrested for this? You register the boat with the state of Florida, or you document it with your home country. (Keep it simple, don't use those "flags of convenience.) Registering it with Florida may break the chain of title, making it harder (or requiring more paperwork) to document it again elsewhere, but it also means you will not need a US cruising permit for a foreign-flagged vessel. Those are always optional--not certain--and after 1 year in the US, the vessel must leave for 15(?) days while you re-apply, again with the next application not guaranteed to be accepted.

"Render unto Caesar."

We've got many of them. All you have to risk is money, jail time, and deportation. In Florida? They play very serious about vessels being properly registered (or documented) and taxed. The watercops (FWC and others) have seen and heard it all, they won't cut you any slack.
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Old 30-12-2017, 13:38   #35
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Thank you hellosailor and all of you for all the information and advice.

We will not take any risk and certainly not take any illegal solution.
The previous owner is in the process of removing the boat from the Coast Guard documentation so I can register the boat in Florida. We should be done when we move the boat to her new location in 2 weeks time.

I have the bill of sale available and the previous document that the boat was (and still) register in the state of Florida. Once the boat is undocumented again I should not have any issues to register it.

Lessons learns of all this:

1. Administration is always more complicate that you think
2. I should not postpone again and again our citizenship

Chris
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Old 30-12-2017, 13:57   #36
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Chris-
While you are at it, make sure that your intended future plans won't need a *notarized* bill of sale. I have no idea of whether that might be required to process a "state" boat back to flagged status, either in the US or otherwise. But it will be much easier to ask the seller "Can we stop at the (bank, realtor, drug store) so I can get this notarized while you're here? I may need it in two years."
Or at least make Real Damn Sure you won't need that. FWIW.
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Old 30-12-2017, 14:06   #37
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Our experience over the last year has shown that the right hand, the left hand and the approximately 50 CPB members we have dealt with don't have a clue about their rules or what their other members are saying.

I want to re-state that in the decades of crossing the border by boat and cruising US waters I have never experienced anything like this. To complicate matters, many local cops have been given the power to operate under CPB for on water enforcement. Surely I don't have to detail the intelligence or attitude of small town local cops ( they now have bigger badges).
I have to confess, based on your reports and experiences by friends from overseas cruising the US our regulations sound like some of the most difficult and annoying of any democratic country. Also, based on the same and my own personal experiences, enforcement and lack of understanding by the US authorities might be even worse than the official regulations. I still find it outrageous that USCG, border patrol and others can board and search my boat without cause or warrant, even docked in a marina.
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Old 30-12-2017, 14:12   #38
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

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@skipmac

Thank you very much and sorry for the wrong terminology.
Hi Chris,

No need at all to apologize. There are lots of boaters born and raised in the US and boating for years that still don't know the difference and don't use the correct terminology.
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Old 30-12-2017, 15:02   #39
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

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Chris-
While you are at it, make sure that your intended future plans won't need a *notarized* bill of sale. I have no idea of whether that might be required to process a "state" boat back to flagged status, either in the US or otherwise. But it will be much easier to ask the seller "Can we stop at the (bank, realtor, drug store) so I can get this notarized while you're here? I may need it in two years."
Or at least make Real Damn Sure you won't need that. FWIW.
I have it notarized !
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Old 30-12-2017, 21:06   #40
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

If you or any agent acting for you, checked this box on US Coast Guard form CG-1258 and executed this document with your signature, you have committed a felony. Your boat may be subject to confiscation and you may be subject to prison time.

ONE OR MORE INDIVIDUALS
I (WE) CERTIFY THAT ALL OWNERS OF THIS VESSEL ARE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES

You need to immediately correct this situation, preferably by employing the services of a maritime lawyer. This will not be cheap. Do not attempt to unwind this situation by yourself. Retain competent legal representation.

In following this forum for several years I am frequently shocked by the legal entanglements that otherwise smart and educated people put themselves into when it comes to their boats.
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Old 31-12-2017, 01:36   #41
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Best way to approach a sale from documented to state registered is to fill out Coast Guard Bill of Sale form 1340. It provides for notarization which can be done for free at your local bank branch. The seller will use a copy of it to undocument with CG and the buyer can use the original to register with the state. Any state.

Also in Florida, if the boat is over a certain age (check with the state online info) the annual registration fee is very small, something like $7-12, provided it still has its original engine (I've been told they never actually check that).

Another issue rarely understood is the separate value of "boat stuff" as compared to the hull and engine. This is important for state tax purposes as all the personal belongings on the boat are not part of the boat's value for sales tax/annual excise purposes. Similar to say your valuable golf clubs in the trunk of your car would not and should not add to the value of your car for tax purposes.

So it is always a good idea to make a separate list and a separate bill of sale for all such personal items and deduct their FMV from the hull/engine bill of sale. You'd be surprised how quickly they add up, especially on well equipped older boat. Say if you're buying 20-30+ year old boat with lots of newish electronics, cushions, sails, dodger/bimini, tools, etc. their value may well come close to the selling price. But check the state's rules regarding paying sales tax on these separately listed items. It may or may not be a wash but most states do not chase "craigslist" bought stuff for the sales tax purposes.
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Old 31-12-2017, 12:35   #42
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

" It provides for notarization which can be done for free at your local bank branch."
Nice theory, but it works more often on the mainland than in Floridia.
Some banks, contrary to state law, will only allow their notaries to notarize "bank business", because they wouldn't want to give the notary a paid day off if they were called into court over something else. (You can't make this **** up.) Some only have one notary, who is out sick or on vacation or just off on that day. Some banks offer their notary to anyone (not just bank customers) others don't. Your odds get much better with plain notaries, at drugs stores or realtors, who just charge the ten-ish bucks and say thank you.

On splitting off personal goods? Be careful with that. Yes, you can strip off the sails and cushions and electronics but unless they are fairly new and expensive, it may not pay, because the tax men will now scrutinize your papers. And, unless you have something like a photograph showing all that stuff was piled up separately, off the vessel when the transaction occurred? They have the discretion to just say "Nah, we don't believe you." Followed by "And we think the book value of the boat really was...."
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Old 31-12-2017, 12:45   #43
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

skipmac-
You're right to be upset. Too few US citizens have read "The Federalist Papers", a series of public letters among several of the founding fathers back when the second American nation was being discussed. Among the things very explicitly discussed were warrantless searches and seizures, and that (take the children out of the room) topic of militia and arms. And from these and other contemporaneous sources, it becomes pretty clear that these warrantless "hobnail boots" tactics are being performed under color of law. They are NOT legal, despite any court rulings or others to the contrary, and they cannot be legal without a constitutional convention, a can of worms that is so big and terrifying that no one in Congress for the last hundred years has even broached the idea of calling for one.
Meanwhile...lots of gung-ho's with heavy weapons are a fact of life. Which is why another one of the founding fathers actually said that the most horrible thing would be the need for *another* revolution, without having the necessary arms to do it again. Yes, that was openly discussed and documented.

Problem being, I don't think any of them--or many of the revenue agents of the time--would have been terribly interested in "yachts". The entire concept of private citizens, so rich that they could own perfectly good vessels without putting them in trade, might have boggled their minds.
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Old 31-12-2017, 18:20   #44
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Our bank requires $10,000 minimum balance for free services such as a notary. Some are as high as $50,000. And you can't put $10,000 in, get your document notarized, and take it out the next day, that is a daily minimum balance. You could try that I suppose.
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Old 31-12-2017, 18:45   #45
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

I've never been refused notary service at any bank, Florida or elsewhere. Even out of state when traveling, stopping at a bank I had no account.

I guess YMMV.
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