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Old 30-03-2005, 16:18   #1
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Post Value of USCG documentation?

Having just purchased our 36' Nomade, we are considering getting it documented. In talking to friends that have had their boats documented, they all agreed that the paperwork was a hassle .. but that it was well worth doing. When I asked why it was worth doing .. no one could cite a specific reason. I would like to hear some specifics from those of you that have documented your vessels.

Bob & Lynn
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Old 30-03-2005, 16:36   #2
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Biggest value is internation check in. Documentation is sometimes the only record of ownership accepted.

Other values depend on which state you live in and I don't have any clue as to the individual differences. Some states treat document boats differently.
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Old 30-03-2005, 20:25   #3
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Jon,
Thanks for the input ... but again "sometimes" ... OK .. as in what countries? We plan to sail from Florida to Venezuela, and I have cruising guides that cover every country between here and there ... have also talked to a number of people who have made this trip with an undocumented vessel ... and no one has indicated any problems clearing in, presuming you have title, current registration & insurance etc. So, from my standpoint, I'm still looking for someone to say "This is how having my vessel documented helped me".

Bob & Lynn
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Old 30-03-2005, 20:58   #4
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"This is how having my vessel documented helped me".
Well, look at the big picture, not the details:

If yer vessel is US Documented it is almost a part of the US.

If some banana republic wants to impound yer vessel, they may have to answer to the US Embassy and the US Navy.

Ya may carry weapons aboard with less hassle than state registration.

Ya may get easier financing and easier insurance.

The Key word is MAY.

The cost of documenting is about $450.00 for some agency to help ya with the paperwork,,After that, the USCG does not charge a dime to keep it up and to send ya renewals every year.

My boats have always been documented....Just like I go to the dentsist once in a while...I could probably get away with no dentist...And no documentation...But in the long run it seems fairly cheap...For a little bit added protection:

$450.00 into a $60,000 boat is a pretty good deal..After 10 years it is $45.00 per year..Not much per month.

Heck, if ya want to save money, rip out the bilge pump as well, ya may never need it and the boat floats just fine without it...

Good luck
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Old 31-03-2005, 00:24   #5
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We took offshore delivery of our boat and have it documented...got the number engraved and everything. This is quite common here in California. Saves a bundle on state sales tax. However, the small print says that the gov't can comandeer my vessel now if need to defend the coast of Calif!!! Well, if we ever come to the level of desperation they're welcome to it!!
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Old 31-03-2005, 03:51   #6
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Sue,
I'm guessing that the right to conscript a documented vessel was the original purpose for the whole process ... and I understand that the owner of the vessel can simply check "no" to prevent this from happening today.
CSY Man,
I'm not trying to be cheap about this, simply want to know that I'm getting something of real value for the money ... I mean, a lightning protector may help protect the boat as well, but their track record is so poor that I don't plan on investing in one of them either. Have no plans to carry firearms aboard, realistically none of the countries we plan to visit could be called a "banana republic" ... and the sales tax has already been paid ... so I'm back to being dubious as to the value of doing this for us.
As for the documented vessel being "almost a part of the U.S. government ... the very thought of it shivers me timbers! I mean ... have you seen what our government has been up to lately?
We're also considering staying in the Dominican Republic long enough to pick up 2nd citizenships ... what with the U.S. governments policies creating anti-American feelings worldwide ... the clearing in process may be much easier presenting a DR passport than by having USCG documentation!
I had asked for "specifics" and so far have only seen "sometimes" and "may" ... not a single specific ... exactly where I was when I posted this thread .... once again, can anyone say "this is how being documented helped me" ?

Bob & Lynn
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Old 31-03-2005, 04:21   #7
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Well, here is waht the Coast Guard says about documentation:

Vessel documentation is a national form of registration. It is one of the oldest functions of Government, dating back to the 11th Act of the First Congress. Documentation provides conclusive evidence of nationality for international purposes, provides for unhindered commerce between the states, and admits vessels to certain restricted trades, such as coastwise trade and the fisheries. Since 1920, vessel financing has been enhanced through the availability of preferred mortgages on documented vessels.
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Old 31-03-2005, 04:21   #8
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What are the advantages of coast guard documentation?
From: http://www.excelcredit.com/coast_gua...umentation.htm

... US Coast Guard documentation provides a history and record of build and ownership for the vessel owner. This history is maintained at the Coast Guard and is provided upon request in the form of an Abstract of Title, reflecting all recorded ownership transfers, mortgage recordings, claims of lien and releases. This allows a boater to sell his boat, and a buyer to buy that boat, and be assured it is free and clear of all recorded liens and encumbrances. When Financing Your boat, lenders rely on the USCG records of documented vessels to confirm their security interest will be perfected by a First Preferred Ship Mortgage recorded with the Coast Guard.

Boaters cruising in international waters often prefer federal documentation to attain certain protections afforded by the US flag, which include aid from the US consulate when you are in need. Foreign port officials easily recognize federally documented vessels and appreciate that the ownership is supported by a detailed Abstract of Title reflecting all recordings ...


HTH,
Gord May
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Old 31-03-2005, 04:40   #9
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Well, now we're getting somewhere. Were we to sell the boat, and the buyer wanted to finance the boat, the documentation would clearly be of value .... however ... the long term plans are to cruise the Caribbean & SA for approximately 4 years, then buy a little place somewhere in the islands ... somewhere with a dock! There are no plans to sell this boat .. short or long term. By the way, the boat was paid for ... cash ... and that is the same plan for for the property.

Bob & Lynn
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Old 31-03-2005, 09:11   #10
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Red face That's what you say now!

situations change..............finances, health, goverments, family and so on. Planning ahead is part of seamanship! And if someone steals the boat, who ya gonna call?........................_/)
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Old 31-03-2005, 11:18   #11
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Thumbs up Re: That's what you say now!

Very good point, Del.

I look at it like this: Someday when you are stuck in line at customs, very tired after a tough passage, the last thing you want is any delay or hassle. You want to rest... you want to eat.

While the state registrations are acceptable, customs officials often go by appearance. For instance, if you show up all stained and torn to clear customs, expect a more difficult time. If you have a spare set of "customs clothes" in a locker you can use upon arrival, presenting a professional and clean look, they will let you go through with less trouble.

Having the boat documented is something akin to the nice set of clothes. It's just one more thing on your side in what can sometimes be a difficult process.

I would highly suggest documentation. It shows a level of "professionalism" at sea. US Coast Guard officials seem to take this into consideration as well.




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delmarrey once whispered in the wind:
situations change..............finances, health, goverments, family and so on. Planning ahead is part of seamanship! And if someone steals the boat, who ya gonna call?........................_/)
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Old 31-03-2005, 15:21   #12
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Dear all,
We still have not decided on this issue ... and I will seriously consider the information graciously shared by all of you ... though I must admit, I find it most curious that every response has been of the "may, could, should or perhaps" flavor ... not a single solitary "did".
As for "what if the boat is stolen" question ... better to count on an adequete insurance policy than a governmental agency. If the boat were stolen right here in Florida, I have little hope that the USCG could do much of anything to help recover it ... remember, their new mandate is homeland security ... if the boat were stolen in ... let's say Trinidad ... would you count on the USCG charging to the rescue?
And yes ... I have a set of "customs clothes" hanging in a garment bag, just for the clearing in procedure

Bob & Lynn
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Old 31-03-2005, 17:00   #13
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Quote:
I find it most curious that every response has been of the "may, could, should or perhaps" flavor
Aye Mate, there is no guarantees in life, and especially not in boating.

I said ya may get better or easier financing if ya are documented.
I sure as hell could could not promise you that.

I know it worked for me however.

You may also get more protection from the US of A if you run into trouble down island, but again, I can't promise....

Sorry if I have to explain that...Just trying to help.
Been happy with my documentation over the years, and I MAY have done okay without it...Don't know for sure.

Good luck
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Old 01-04-2005, 09:31   #14
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I would agree with everyone that documentation is a good way to go. If you take it for what it is, it makes your boat registered in every state in the US. If you move around you won't have to be constantly re numbering your craft and paying annual registration fees each time you move.

Assurance of title is also better. It is a PITA to go through the first time and it takes a long time BUT many states do a poor job of registration and that can be a problem when proving title down the road. If a mistake is made you could be screwed.

An example is my dighy. It's an 8ft Montgomery sailing dinghy. I bought the sail boat it goes with in VA and it was documented but not the dighy. That was registered in FL, but was not properly registered as the owner did not use the correct hull ID number. Seems they went to the office in FL to register the dingy but forgot the number so claimed it was a home made boat with no number. They were issue a registration for it any way! I then had to clear the title in FL then re register it here in VA. Took many months. State registration is mostly a way to collect some more money it's not universally as reliable as even car registration.

Title is just one of those items we never worry about but it can be a very serious problem when it becomes one. With a boat of any sze with a loan you'll almost always be required to document the vessle or no loan. It's the solid title registration the bank wants.

If out of the country you just don't want any question about title to come up. If it is even questioned at all they impound the boat while it gets worked out just as a starting point. All it takes is any government official questioning some state certificate he has never seen before. They don't need to prove you are guilty because you fail to produce proper title. Just questioning it is enough.
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Old 10-05-2005, 18:31   #15
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You can read all the cruising guides that have ever been printed, but I will guarantee you that sailing in the Caribbean will NOT go according to the guides.

See, most of the folks who will be checking you in and out probably did not read your guide.

The writer of the guide most-likely based his or her statements in the book on stated rules and regs from the country being profiled and not on personal experience.

I have seen people refused entry into a country because they had no passport, and the rules and regs (and the guidebook said) that one was not necessary for US citizens.

In foreign ports, much is left to the discretion of the local officials. If they are used to seeing US documentation, then I'd sure as hell show up with some.

Why are you making such a big deal of this? It is the easiest way to go, provides the simplest documentation (no pun intended), etc. etc.

Do you want to spend half a day in some customs shack trying to provide Bill of Sale and the myriad other info to prove that you actually own the boat?

You are being pennywise and pound foolish, as the old saying goes.

If you want to discuss and argue everything - which you seem to be doing here, I'd leave that attitude on board before attempting to clear in and out of a lot of Caribbean ports. Attitude has everything to do on how easy or difficult this process can be.
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