Personal property taxes
in Virginia are administered and the rates are set by each county. Several years back Hampton lowered their rate on boats owned by individuals to that mentioned above to attempt to attract boaters from the surrounding areas for economic reasons. It must have been successful since they have left it that way. The rate is not zero, but is so low they do not collect it. I can only assume that they did not just repeal the tax so they could increase the rate at some later point if they wanted to without instituting what would be perceived as a "new" tax.
If you register your boat in the name of a trust or LLC it would not be owned as an individual and subject to a 1% personal property tax in Hampton, I don't know about VA Beach, but I would bet it's similar. I know this because I just bought a boat which I am moving from Baltimore
to Hampton later this month so I just checked. I live in Gloucester County, VA and our car that is registered in the name of our family
trust is taxed at several times the rate of the one titled in our personal name, which is what caused me to check about Hampton before titling the new boat.