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Old 16-12-2015, 14:27   #31
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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Originally Posted by LeeV View Post
I might be misunderstanding the sentence above, but this is from Maryland DNR: "Decals must be affixed on each side of the vessel within three inches of the vessel number and may be placed in front of, behind, above, or below the number.If your vessel requires registration, it is illegal to operate it or allow others to operate your vessel unless it is registered and numbered as described above"
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I think what's confusing me is the "..documented boats cannot show state registration numbers." According to the CG doc office this is not accurate. The key to this statement, "States may require documented vessels to be registered (but not numbered)..." is the word "may." If the state doesn't require numbering, then that's it, but if the state requires a decal and numbers then it's required and the law has been followed.

In the MD instructions, look for the for the "Application for a Documented Use Decal." I only have my follow-up version of that one handy just now, and FWIW it's the "Application for Renewal of Documented Use Decal." MD DNR form B401. The renewal fee is $10, and the sticker is good for 2 years.

Anyway, those instructions will detail use of State registration numbers. The short version: You don't have to display them (if documented and displaying the Documented Use Decal).

I don't know if that means you MAY NOT display State registration numbers, nor if the USCG prohibits said display.

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Old 16-12-2015, 14:43   #32
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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Sorry Skipmac and Dsanduril, I must beg to differ...our USCG documentation Certificate has prevented foreign agents from boarding us on at least three separate occasions. Once in Manila Bay(by the Philippine Police), once in Subic Bay(by the PI Coast Guard), and once off the Turkish coast(Fetyie Harbor Patrol). In each case they came along side, asked who we were and where we were going, and asked to come aboard. I produced the Documentation Certificate, they asked to see our passports.....and then they left.....Without boarding. When I querried the local Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary later, THEY told me it was my Cert of USCG Documentation and the fact that it made my boat equivalent to US "soil". Right or wrong.....they did NOT board us. Just saying!
The official in PI might have had that impression but legally that is not the case. Legally, USCG documentation does not convey status like that given to an embassy. Your vessel is not US soil in any way.

I have heard of instances in Europe where US documented boats were approached by French, Spanish CG or other maritime authorities who decided not to board after confirming the vessel was a US documented vessel. However the reason was the authorities were looking for local smugglers, refugees and such and the US vessel wasn't part of the profile.

I can promise you that in the Caribbean or Latin American if the locals want to check you out you will be boarded, period, no question, regardless of how your boat is registered.
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Old 16-12-2015, 15:02   #33
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

I believe that a Documented Vessel is not supposed to be boarded but I wouldn't press the point. You might end up in jail just because they feel like it.
I have never seen the official number on the outside of the hull but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Mine is in the anchor locker:

The official number assigned to documented vessels, preceded by the abbreviation "NO." must be marked in block-type Arabic numerals at least three inches high on some clearly visible interior structural part of the hull. The number must be permanently affixed so that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious and cause some scarring or damage to the surrounding hull area.
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Old 16-12-2015, 16:02   #34
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

'When I querried the local Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary later, THEY told me it was my Cert of USCG Documentation and the fact that it made my boat equivalent to US "soil". Right or wrong"


Nice myth, but contrary to pretty much every law in every country. Sounds more like some ignorant Auxiliarist thinks that makes you a MILITARY or other government vessel, as opposed to a civilian one.


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Old 16-12-2015, 23:41   #35
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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States cannot require a documented boat to display registration numbers. States can require a documented vessel to display the registration decal (the decal that is usually placed next to the numbers and shows that the registration is current). If you walk around the marinas in these states (FL is one of them) you'll see many boats with numbers and decals, and some boats with just the registration decal - those are the documented vessels.
Alaska is one of those states too. No numbers or decal. In fact if you are documented, no state registration required. Now where did I put that USCG documentation renewal........
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Old 17-12-2015, 00:19   #36
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

In WA my tender has numbers and a decal but my documented vessel has no numbers; just a state registration decal with an annual expiration date. Commercial fishing boats have permit numbers.
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Old 17-12-2015, 00:56   #37
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

I can only tell you what worked for us.
Bought our Jeanneau DS40 in Conn and had to pay sales tax someplace and because I lived in Miami and the boat would be in Florida I chose to pay it in Fla.
I did not register with FL numbers but did get CG documentation. Once a year I had to pay some type of registration, like a car license fee, for about $25 or so and got a little sticker that we put on the starboard side and it would get checked every once in a while.

We have not been in Fla in over 7 years and been to a bunch of countries and when you pull out the USCG documentation there is no question.

And I do not like the look of numbers on the front of the boat.
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Old 17-12-2015, 02:15   #38
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

What I have found is that USCG requires a $26 a year fee and for that they send me a new Certificate of Documentation. I also have to pay a fee to the state of WA and get a decal that must be affixed to the starboard bow.
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Old 17-12-2015, 04:38   #39
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

We bought our boat in early August in Florida, were issued a temp COD from the USCG, and are still waiting for the official COD. More than four months. I called earlier this week and they said they were getting closer to our filing date, so maybe five months is now the norm.
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Old 17-12-2015, 05:13   #40
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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We bought our boat in early August in Florida, were issued a temp COD from the USCG, and are still waiting for the official COD. More than four months. I called earlier this week and they said they were getting closer to our filing date, so maybe five months is now the norm.
About five month is indeed the current lead time. I filed my application for renewal in August and have been checking status on the USCG website for the last two months. My file disappeared from the system yesterday so I called to find out what happened and was told the new documents had been mailed the day before. So, you might see yours soon.

If you want to check status, get the previous documentation number or hull ID number from your boat and go to this link USCG CGMIX National Vessel Documentation Center Documentation Status Search Page

If you find nothing either they lost your paperwork or it's completed. Can't tell which since completed applications just seem to go away with no notification.
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Old 22-12-2015, 23:05   #41
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

Do they go away even after the money is taken?


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Old 23-12-2015, 04:28   #42
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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Do they go away even after the money is taken?
In my case, the files stayed active on the USCG website until the day the actual documentation was completed and the paperwork actually in the mail which was almost five months after the application was received and the check cashed.
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Old 23-12-2015, 07:15   #43
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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Do they go away even after the money is taken?


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We mailed ours in mid-September. The check was cashed approximately ten days later and the information is still there. Probably another five weeks to go.
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Old 23-12-2015, 07:56   #44
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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I might be misunderstanding the sentence above, but this is from Maryland DNR: "Decals must be affixed on each side of the vessel within three inches of the vessel number and may be placed in front of, behind, above, or below the number.If your vessel requires registration, it is illegal to operate it or allow others to operate your vessel unless it is registered and numbered as described above"
The decals are little state of Maryland decals which shows you paid your fee to the state of Maryland. The go on each side of the mast on a sailboat. They are not registration numbers. I think our fee was $20 and the decals are good for 2 years. Not bad really.
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Old 23-12-2015, 09:31   #45
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

In WA state you have to register your boat and pay a sales tax if purchased here, or a use tax if purchased elsewhere. Here are the details, with the exceptions:

"
You must title and register your boat in Washington State:
  • Within 60 days of moving to Washington with the boat.
  • Within 15 days of buying the boat, if you live in Washington and bought the boat in another state.
Registration requirements

Unless specifically exempt, you must meet all Washington state registration requirements when using a documented vessel on Washington waters. This means you must register your boat in Washington:
  • Within 60 days of moving to Washington with the vessel.
  • Within 15 days of buying the vessel, if bought it in another state and you live in Washington.
Exempt vessels

  • Military vessels
  • Public vessels of the United States or the American Red Cross.
  • Vessels owned by a state, county, or city and used for governmental purposes.
  • Vessels with a marine document as a vessel of the United States that are primarily engaged in commerce, including:
    • Tugs
    • Barges
    • Charter vessels (bare vessel charters or timeshare vessels)
  • Vessels issued a United States Customs Service Cruising License or registered in another country.
    • Vessel is exempt from registration only for the first 60 days of use.
    • On or before the 61st day of use on Washington waters, the owner must obtain a vessel visitor permit as required under RCW 88.02.610.
  • A vessel primarily engaged in commerce that is owned by a resident of a country other than the United States.
  • Vessels registered in another state.
    • Vessel is exempt from registration only for the first 60 days of use.
    • On or before the 61st day of use on Washington state waters, the owner must obtain a nonresident vessel permit as required under RCW 88.02.620.
    • If the principal place of use changes to Washington, the vessel must be registered in Washington.
  • Canoes, kayaks, or vessels that don’t have a motor or sail (strictly human powered).
  • Vessels owned by a nonresident in Washington exclusively for repairs, alteration, or reconstruction.
    • An employee of the repair facility providing these services must be on board the vessel during any testing.
    • The owner must file an affidavit with the Department of revenue by the 61st day to verify the vessel is being serviced.
    • The affidavit must be filed every 60 days thereafter, as long as the vessel is located upon the waters.
  • Vessels less than 16 feet long with a motor of 10 horsepower or less, if used on non-federal waters only.
  • Tenders used for direct transportation between a registered vessel and the shore and for no other purpose. The tender must display the number of the registered vessel followed by the suffix “1”.
  • Vessels 30 ft. or longer purchased by a nonresident that has purchased a use permit issued under RCW 82.08.700 or 82.12.700.
  • Vessels held for sale by a licensed dealer.
  • Vessels used exclusively for commercial fishing must be listed with Washington State Department of Revenue."
I have to pay a "use tax" every year after the first year of registration. This is based on the "value" of the boat and depreciates every year for about 10 years I have heard. It is not cheap. I paid 9.5% sales tax in Seattle and paid over $600 for the renewal. In the past people would register their boat in OR or another state without a sales tax and then leave them up here. Now you have to provide the marina with proof of registration and they walk the docks occasionally to check on boat registrations. If you paid a sales tax in another state you don't have to pay it again but you do have to pay the use tax after 60 days in WA.



Our boat is USCG documented so we do not (can not) display WA state registration numbers but we do have to display the annual registration sticker.



On our last boat we were routinely boarded both at the Customs docks when checking in to a country and a few times by the French navy and the Vanuatu navy. They ask to see your documentation (and passports, etc.). If you do not allow the boarding they will arrest you and seize the boat. At the very least you will pay a substantial fine, be subject to criminal proceedings, and could lose the boat. We never got boarded in Mexico but numerous friends have. The USCG documentation helps you in these situations but does not confer on you any privilege to not accept a boarding.
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