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Old 13-12-2007, 13:47   #1
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Registering Small Boats with the Coast Guard

I figure that at some point in the future I might want to take my boat, as small as it is, out of the country. Maybe Coastal Cruising to Canada or Mexico, or maybe a hop over to the Bahamas. In any case, I keep hearing that it's better to have a coast guard documented vessel if you intend to leave the country but from what I hear they don't document boats smaller than 5 tons. My measly little 2.5 tons falls way under that and I don't think any amount of cruising equipment I put on board will be able to bring that up without sinking her.

Any idea if this is a problem, if I can get this done or if my Florida Registration will be good enough for those places I plan to go to at least at this point in time? Who knows, I may decide to cross the Atlantic and take her back to her home to visit, but that'll be a ways off.
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Old 13-12-2007, 14:04   #2
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Actually, the 5 tons is an arcane measure that has nothing to do with weight. It has to do with the interior volume of the vessel. It's an old way of measuring cargo carrying capacity.

From Wikipedia:
Tonnage is a measure of the size or cargo capacity of a ship. The term derives from the taxation paid on tuns of wine, and was later used in reference to the weight of a ship's cargo; however, in modern maritime usage, "tonnage" specifically refers to a calculation of the volume or cargo volume of a ship. The term is still sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the weight of a loaded or empty vessel.
There are formulae on Wikipedia for calculating it at Tonnage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia but you're head will likely hurt if you try to figure it out.

Are there others with a sistership to yours who might be able to provide you with the tonnage?

Generally USCG documentation is better, but it's still doable with Florida registration if it turns out you're too small.

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Old 13-12-2007, 14:31   #3
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sluissa,
I've always been under the impression that one must show all ownership of the yacht since construction to obtain USCG documentation, not such a simple thing; though you can pay professionals to do a title search.
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Old 13-12-2007, 14:51   #4
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It's not all that hard. The USCG Vessel Documentation Service website has the info, forms and other stuff. It's at NVDC Home

There is a statement that vessels over 25 feet will normally qualify for the minimum tonnage requirement... Sluissa, I don't know if you'd qualify. There is a calculator for net tonnage on the USCG website so you might want to poke at it and see.
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Old 13-12-2007, 16:20   #5
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The measurement rules for documentation have nothing to do with the boats actual weights/measures. For example, my Cape Dory 25D, is documented. It's 25' LOA, 8'6" beam, draft 3'6". displ 5150lbs.. CC Docs it at 6tons, 6' draft, etc...

You just might be able to do it
Good luck
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Old 13-12-2007, 18:11   #6
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Ships are measured in all kinds of ways...no one method is considered THE method.

A vessels Displacement Tonnage is it's mass...the same as the weight of the water that it displaces.

There is also Deadweight Tonnage, Gross Tonnage, Gross Registered Tons, Net Tonnage, PC/UMS Ton, Thames Measurement Tonnage and Lightship.

Weight can be measured in either long tons or short tons.
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Old 14-12-2007, 09:30   #7
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There are plenty of sisters to my boat. According to the Kingfisher Yacht Owners Association more than 400 were built. I'm sure I could ask them, however from your description, I don't think I'd fit the bill anyway. 21 feet is a quite a bit less than 25 feet. As for cargo space, I have no idea. These boats can be found all over the world though, and they were all built in England, so I really don't think size was much of a factor as far as their travel ability was concerned.

I'll just stick with my Florida registration for now. I was just curious about it. Thanks for all the info.
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Old 14-12-2007, 09:49   #8
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sluissa, What I was trying to say in my last post was that I think to get USCG documentation, you must prove the chain of ownership since origin. If your boat has had many owners and you don't have any clue who they were, you will have to do a title search.
Here are two links for you about your kingfisher you might not have seen. One is a kf for sale that includes the specs, the other is about the boat's designer and its history.
http://www.yachtbroker.com/sailboats.../-/1367085.htm

http://www.kyoa.org.uk/westfieldspage.htm
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Old 14-12-2007, 13:10   #9
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Originally Posted by sluissa View Post
Any idea if this is a problem, if I can get this done or if my Florida Registration will be good enough for those places I plan to go to at least at this point in time? Who knows, I may decide to cross the Atlantic and take her back to her home to visit, but that'll be a ways off.

As mentioned before, the vessel tonnage is a measure of volume. I don't believe that the Coast Guard is too concerned with the accuracy their records for small, recreational boats. For example if Randy's boat is 5 tons and 25 feet and my boat is 9 tons and 27 feet, that might indicate a little wiggle room. I also know of some other C&C 27 owners with 5, 7 and 9 tons on their docs. (My calculation was 5.8 tons) A number of Flicka 20s have USCG documentation so you should be OK. Also, I documented my boat based on the Texas title and provided no information on past owners. They may come to get me at some point.

Finally, a salesman I worked with out of West Palm used to take his fishing boat to the Bahamas on his Florida state documentation fairly frequently. It may not be an issue.

pv

http://homeport.uscg.mil/cgi-bin/st/...f94339ef9e9fda
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Old 14-12-2007, 22:15   #10
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littleboat:
What it seemed like on the coast guard page, was all you needed was a title or other proof of ownership to the boat, to be a US citizen, and for the boat to meet the requirements. I've got a clean title on the boat and I COULD prove if I had to, ownership all the way back to when it first came to the US, but I have no idea about previous ownership before that.

Pura Vida:

That sounds promising. Again, not something I"m going to worry about right away. I don't plan on leaving the country for years, except maybe to the bahamas which you say and i hear from other sources, probably won't be a problem.


Again, thanks.
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Old 16-12-2007, 15:36   #11
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You are a little small for documentation. But do not worry, the coast guard is watching you cross and you are just as safe as a bigger boat if not safer as your goods have less resale.

In Abacos Bahamas with a 26 footer.
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