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Old 29-07-2020, 11:22   #1
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New owner - temporary registration in MD

Hi all,

Finally, we were able to get our boat deal through despite of the COVID pandemic and now own a nice Beneteau sailboat.

The boat was documented with the US coast guard by the previous owner, and there was still a loan on the boat. Since this is our first boat and we were inexperienced in these things, we let the broker company do the paperwork and paid a fee for that.
The documentation with the USCG was removed since we are not US citizens, and the registration documents were sent to the Maryland DNR by the broker's office.
Initially, we had a temporary registration issued by the broker's office, but that was only good for 20 days, which meanwhile has run out.
I have talked to the broker's office and asked for another temporary registration until I will get the paperwork from the Maryland DNR. They told me I would just be okay with the one I have and the bill of sale.
Meanwhile, the Maryland DNR has sent me access to their COMPASS system. When I log into Compass DNR Maryland, the boat is shown under "vessels" in my account. All information seems to be correct.
There is a "Vessel" #, which I assume is the one I need to put on the bow, and there is an expiration date 12/31/2021.

So far, so good. To make sure I do it right, I called the Maryland DNR and talked to the boating department. They found my information and told me the paperwork and the registration sticker should be on their way soon. However, when I asked them if I could use the boat while the temporary registration has been run out and I don't have the paperwork from them, they said it "should" be OK.

Now I am wondering if the officers who check on boats on the water will also find this OK?

Any thoughts?

Thanks
Christoph
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Old 29-07-2020, 14:48   #2
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Re: New owner - temporary registration in MD

Quote:
Originally Posted by miraculix View Post
Hi all,

Finally, we were able to get our boat deal through despite of the COVID pandemic and now own a nice Beneteau sailboat.

The boat was documented with the US coast guard by the previous owner, and there was still a loan on the boat. Since this is our first boat and we were inexperienced in these things, we let the broker company do the paperwork and paid a fee for that.
The documentation with the USCG was removed since we are not US citizens, and the registration documents were sent to the Maryland DNR by the broker's office.
Initially, we had a temporary registration issued by the broker's office, but that was only good for 20 days, which meanwhile has run out.
I have talked to the broker's office and asked for another temporary registration until I will get the paperwork from the Maryland DNR. They told me I would just be okay with the one I have and the bill of sale.
Meanwhile, the Maryland DNR has sent me access to their COMPASS system. When I log into Compass DNR Maryland, the boat is shown under "vessels" in my account. All information seems to be correct.
There is a "Vessel" #, which I assume is the one I need to put on the bow, and there is an expiration date 12/31/2021.

So far, so good. To make sure I do it right, I called the Maryland DNR and talked to the boating department. They found my information and told me the paperwork and the registration sticker should be on their way soon. However, when I asked them if I could use the boat while the temporary registration has been run out and I don't have the paperwork from them, they said it "should" be OK.

Now I am wondering if the officers who check on boats on the water will also find this OK?

Any thoughts?

Thanks
Christoph
If you're stopped by a MD DNR officer they should be able to check the same thing and you'll be fine. If you're stopped by a Coast Guard crew they might give you a ticket that you could get out of when you took your registration to court, although they're typically pretty reasonable (I'm biased though as a retired Coastie). I took the risk and transited from FL to MD in a somewhat similar situation, the Coast Guard documentation was complete but I didn't have it in hand. Didn't get stopped but wasn't terribly worried about it either.

Risk of being stopped and checked by the CG also depends what kind of boat you have and who you are. If you're over 40 in a sailboat in the Chesapeake Bay off Maryland it's pretty slim to none. If you're under 30 in a bow rider it's relatively high.

You might also check if you can just go into the DNR office and get tags. They issue them on the spot, not sure what they do in the situation where they're already in the mail, but I've done the whole registration in person and they gave me the tags right there. I was just at the MVA last week where they now have MDE booths and they were all manned, so they appeared to be doing in-person appointments despite COVID.
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Old 30-07-2020, 11:18   #3
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Re: New owner - temporary registration in MD

Hi all,


@redneckrob

Thank you for your comprehensive input, that is very much appreciated.

Even though I hear that the risk might be low, we are a sailboat and over 40 ... I am not sure if I am going out with the boat this weekend.
But, since we are in Rock Hall I will try to go to the DNR in Centreville tomorrow, maybe they will give me the registration stickers.


Thanks
Christoph
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Old 30-07-2020, 12:17   #4
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Re: New owner - temporary registration in MD

"Should be", "could be", "maybe", "probably", "I assume ..." are incredibly annoying answers, especially from Civil servants who are paid to know this area of jurisdiction. Why don't they just say "I don't know".
I'd suggest asking whoever you talked to at DNR to put in writing their advice/opinion and then you've something to show some alternate authority that wants to check you are legal.
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Old 30-07-2020, 15:54   #5
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Re: New owner - temporary registration in MD

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Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
"Should be", "could be", "maybe", "probably", "I assume ..." are incredibly annoying answers, especially from Civil servants who are paid to know this area of jurisdiction. Why don't they just say "I don't know".
I'd suggest asking whoever you talked to at DNR to put in writing their advice/opinion and then you've something to show some alternate authority that wants to check you are legal.
Just like an employee at an Apple store in Topeka isn't able to bind Apple the company to a particular course of action, a low level registration clerk at the DNR isn't able to bind their law enforcement bureau to something and no-one at DNR can bind a federal agency to something. So please, don't be a belligerent jerk to some poor front desk or call center person at DNR and insist they "put their opinion in writing" when they're not only not allowed to do so but it wouldn't be binding if they did. If you did call up the enforcement division and insist on that when it's something that isn't clear in law the answer would be so simple - no, you can't use your boat until you have the sticker. Why would they go out of their way to get to yes when you just threatened to hold anything they say against them? Basic human interaction doesn't change just because the person you're dealing with works for the government...you still always get more bees with honey than vinegar.
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