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Old 20-05-2020, 14:21   #1
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Registering in one state, staying in another

Me and my boyfriend are from georgia and want to register our first boat in georgia. We are selling most of our stuff and moving aboard full time. Initially, we planned on docking for a month or two in Brunswick and sailing down the coast to florida but we aren't sure if we can live on our boat in florida full time while we are registered in georgia. Does anyone know the rules for this situation?
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Old 20-05-2020, 14:23   #2
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

Short answer, in general Florida will require you to register the boat in Florida if it is located and used in Florida for 90 days. There are some exceptions and exemptions, but that's the short answer.

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Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting vessel owners by other states for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector...

https://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/FFFVO.pdf
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Old 20-05-2020, 14:29   #3
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

You can live anywhere you choose on a boat registered in Georgia. The issue is whether you can prove to Florida that you paid taxes on the boat somewhere else and have a receipt. If you can’t/don’t and you stay in Florida, you are required to register it here and pay the relevant taxes.
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Old 20-05-2020, 14:33   #4
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

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You can live anywhere you choose on a boat registered in Georgia. The issue is whether you can prove to Florida that you paid taxes on the boat somewhere else and have a receipt. If you can’t/don’t and you stay in Florida, you are required to register it here and pay the relevant taxes.
Thank you!!!
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Old 20-05-2020, 14:38   #5
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

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Thank you!!!
That 90 day rule is easily solveable. On day 87 take the boat to the Bahamas or back to Georgia or to Alabama. Keep your docking, fuel and restaurant bills. Return to Florida on Day 92. That resets the clock.
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Old 20-05-2020, 16:11   #6
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

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That 90 day rule is easily solveable. On day 87 take the boat to the Bahamas or back to Georgia or to Alabama. Keep your docking, fuel and restaurant bills. Return to Florida on Day 92. That resets the clock.

That may not work if you're renting a slip for longer than that.

If your intent is to live in Florida, why not just register it there and skip the hassle? Sometimes it's easier to just be legit.
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Old 20-05-2020, 16:24   #7
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

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That may not work if you're renting a slip for longer than that.

If your intent is to live in Florida, why not just register it there and skip the hassle? Sometimes it's easier to just be legit.
We both have a lot family in georgia and would like to visit them on holiday's and birthday's but we found a spot in florida we love(Flagler beach) Ponce Inlet is pretty close and a bit cheaper than docking in Brunswick. We aren't trying to find some sort of loophole just figured since both of our families live in georgia, registering and docking there might be easier. I've also heard that slipping in georgia waters means more barnacle maintenance on your boat, is this true?
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Old 20-05-2020, 16:44   #8
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

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Originally Posted by Ghostrider421 View Post
That 90 day rule is easily solveable. On day 87 take the boat to the Bahamas or back to Georgia or to Alabama. Keep your docking, fuel and restaurant bills. Return to Florida on Day 92. That resets the clock.
Probably won't be going to the Bahamas for some time due to COVID-19. While it is easy to say take a trip to Alabama or Georgia every three months if you are in the Keys it may be cheaper to just register the boat in Florida. Depending on the boat registration is often less than $US100. If I remember right Georgia has a personal property tax so you may not be saving money in any case.

Bottom line is if you are living on a boat in Florida registering the boat in Florida is usually cheaper; not to mention the right thing to do morally.
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Old 20-05-2020, 17:14   #9
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

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You can live anywhere you choose on a boat registered in Georgia. The issue is whether you can prove to Florida that you paid taxes on the boat somewhere else and have a receipt. If you canít/donít and you stay in Florida, you are required to register it here and pay the relevant taxes.


Not altogether correct. If you purchased the boat outside of Florida, werenít a Florida resident when purchased or now and the boat was purchased more than 6 months ago then you will not owe Fl sales tax but will have to pay to register in Florida.
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Old 20-05-2020, 17:40   #10
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

Then there is always the Sojurner’s permit. You can register your boat in both states with Florida being temporary that way.
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Old 20-05-2020, 18:09   #11
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

Look at the total tax bill from both regions. Sales and property tax both. It may prove cheaper in one state than the other. And check neighboring states rules. You might find an even better option.

We were on the east coast (VA) for 9 months after purchasing our boat and registering it in Oregon. Never paid any sales tax. Had no hassles, partly because we had the Oregon Registration sticker.
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Old 20-05-2020, 18:14   #12
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

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Then there is always the Sojurnerís permit. You can register your boat in both states with Florida being temporary that way.


Didnít know that, always good to have new info!
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Old 20-05-2020, 18:33   #13
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

A “sojourner’s permit” is Florida registration. It just avoids Florida titling. It carries the same costs as registration because it is registration. Now you’re paying registration costs in two states. If you have plans to return to the other state or move on from Florida and prefer your other state then by all means...
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Old 20-05-2020, 19:09   #14
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

registration for old boats in FL is $6/yr. I think 25 yrs is cutoff. It's the best deal going. You have to ask for it, it is not automatic.



Also. if you are not continuously in one location, the 90 day time limit is essentially unenforceable. There is no border crossing or check-in, and unless a local Marine Patrol sees your boat in the same place with out of state registration for a long time, they have no cause to track you down. With all the out of state boats, particularly in winter, I expect it would be a monumental task to follow individual boats.
Same rules apply to car registration and all the snowbirds come here for months in winter without issue.
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Old 20-05-2020, 21:42   #15
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Re: Registering in one state, staying in another

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registration for old boats in FL is $6/yr. I think 25 yrs is cutoff. It's the best deal going. You have to ask for it, it is not automatic.



Also. if you are not continuously in one location, the 90 day time limit is essentially unenforceable. There is no border crossing or check-in, and unless a local Marine Patrol sees your boat in the same place with out of state registration for a long time, they have no cause to track you down. With all the out of state boats, particularly in winter, I expect it would be a monumental task to follow individual boats.
Same rules apply to car registration and all the snowbirds come here for months in winter without issue.
Truth be told it is more related to the value of the boat than anything else. Florida DOR does have agents that do track high value boats that try and evade paying taxes. I have seen rumors that marinas sometimes work with DOR. Not having the FL numbers on the bow or a current sticker on a documented boat will raise eyebrows in some marinas; especially if you have a six or seven figure boat. I always wonder about folks who spend hours trying to save a little money. It is so cheap to pay for a sticker for your boat in Florida unless you really spent big bucks on your boat that for most folks the hassle is not worth it. On the other hand if you wind up with a big tax bill you probably have a tax lawyer advising you given the value of your boat.

There is also the question of peace of mind. If your boat gets in trouble or there is an accident or similar event the LEOs will check things out in great detail and you may wind up with the short end of the stick. Even if you get off Scot free you still may wind up getting boarded and asked to prove you are legit in the under 90 day limit.
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