Originally Posted by Nicholson58
Consider geting boarded by locals who have no idea what Indiana is. Their usual question goes like this, "What country are you from?" You say USA. He says, "Your docments say Indiana - must be the same". Following this is hours of trouble and some bribes.
Nicholson 58 makes a good point but I think it problem with state registration is more serious than that when you go further away from the US. When you go and look at the actual documents that define how to get your boat into country X for a few weeks of cruising without paying duty/VAT/etc, *most* of the times (at least in my experience) the regulations
of that country require your boat to be registered in some other COUNTRY, just like you need to show a passport issued by some other COUNTRY. Therefore your state reg is not really valid in most places and you could be in trouble even if they know what Indiana is because they may know that Indiana reg does not let you clear your boat without doing a proper permanent importantion on the boat that is expensive.
I am sure that in most places you can count on officials either a) believing that Indiana/California/etc are countries or b) not knowing that they need to require docs issued by a country in order to give you a crusiing license/temporary import/etc. Best example of that is Uruguay, where from the same place you can both read a poster of the rules that specify that country registration is required and see several dozen boats registerered in Delaware without a country registration..
All that said, why do you want to run the risk when in the US the coutnry registration (aka "documentation") is cheap
and easy to obtain for US citizens?