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Old 08-03-2008, 08:31 PM   #1
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Coast Guard inspection site

Take a look at http://www.safetyseal.net/what_is_vsc.asp*and see what you think. I read it and got stuck on item number 1 which states you MUST permanently affix registration numbers on the bow of your boat. As I understand the rules, if your boat is documented you cannot place your registration numbers on the bow of the boat. I understand that documented boats permanently affix their document number inside the boat but at no time display state registration numbers.

As I understand the meaning of the words, registration is what you do with States that require you to register your boat with them. Not all states require this but many do, Washington for example does. Document is a federal program which is administered by the Coast Guard. Is this the commonly understood arrangement?

Ken
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:53 AM   #2
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

In Washington State "resident" boats are required to be registered with the state and the annual registration sticker must be affixed to the boat in an approved location and visible at all times. The boat will be assigned a Washington registration number--- "WN number"--- when it is registered.

If the boat is not documented, the registration number must be affixed to the boat in an approved location. If the boat IS documented, the annual colored registration sticker still must be displayed but the registration number itself does not have to be displayed (or should not be displayed, I can't remember which).

Documented boats must have the documentation number affixed to a permanent, structural component of the boat in such a way that any alteration or removal will be very obvious. Most people chisel the number in a floor beam in the engine room overhead. Our boat has the documentation number carved deeply into a large teak plank that is solidly fiberglassed to the inside of the transom in the lazarette.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:32 AM   #3
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Same for Texas!
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:14 AM   #4
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

The site says: "Online Vessel Safety Check - This fun, interactive program lets you find out if your boat or personal watercraft would pass a Vessel Safety Check, before you have one. It's easy and convenient to use!

(clipped)
Item 1 - Display of Numbers:

The boats registration number must be permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the boat They must be plain, vertical, block characters, not less than three (3) inches high, and in a color contrasting with the background. A space or hyphen must separate the letters from the numbers. Place State tax sticker according to State policy.

(e.g. FL 1234 AB or FL-1234-AB)


So, if I start at number one with my documented boat will I pass or fail? I do not have my Washington state registration numbers on the bow. I have my document numbers permanently affixed as required in #2, but I don't have my State Registration numbers on the bow.

Washington state law says: "308-93-145
Vessel registration numbers Display, size, color.
(1) What vessels are required to display a vessel registration number? All vessels registered under chapter 88.02 RCW are required to display the vessel registration numbers. Vessels documented by the United States Coast Guard are prohibited from displaying the registration number.

So it appears if I follow state law, I don't put the numbers on. (which is what I've done for the past 17 years that I've owned documented boats) But, if I have a voluntary inspection done it appears as if I will fail.

The webmaster of the USGC site insists that Inspection point #1 is correct as written. I questioned this and he replied that #1 is a direct quote from the Nav Rules. I asked for clarification of which Nav Rule, since I am required to carry a copy on my boat and he could not state which rule it was. He could not identify the Nav Rule.

He says it is clear that when Point #2 says that when document numbers are put on a permanent part of the vessel that it is obvious then, the registration numbers don't need to be on the bow. I can't see where the two connect at all. Since documented boats have two sets of numbers, at least in WA, Point #1 says put the state numbers on the bow, and Point #2 says put the USCG document numbers on a permanent part of the boat. Pretty clear they are talking two separate actions to me.

Now, why is this important? Because when the CG does an inspection I don't really want to be in violation. I'd just as soon have everything in order. If I am reading this wrong maybe I've been lucky for the past number of years. I got the big hairy eyeball from the Cutter Osprey going thru Pt. Townsend a week ago, with no numbers on the bow and they didn't see the need to tell me about it. Maybe they were just busy with all the other small boats they were boarding and decided not to bother with me, but you never know.

Speaking of that event, virtually every boat they boarded had a violation. The most common seemed to be no registration papers on board. That was followed closely by no type IV throwable device. Several boats in the 2 hour boarding session I listened to on the VHF were "pulling in lines and returning to port immediately".

For the record I support the enforcement effort, I don't want to be the one needing enforcement.

Ken
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:48 AM   #5
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Ken,

As Marin said, if you have the documentation numbers, which were assigned to your vessel years ago, perminently attached (carved into wood or whatever) inside the boat, you won't have any registration numbers assigned to the boat at all, and therefore would not display such.* It's an either-or situation.*

Personally, I've owner two documented boats in California, and just paid the small cost of the owners name change for the documentation papers when I bought the boats.* Neither was ever registered in California; thus never had any numbers displayed on the outside of the boat.

Just for grins I called the Chetco Coast Guard station*in Brookings and asked them your very question.* They verified that you and I have been doing it right.* You have EITHER registration numbers on the boat OR documentation numbers affixed to some perminent part of the boat inside.

Looks like you're cool for a boarding!* Bring on the Coasties!

Mike Wiley
34' CHB
ChristyLee
Brookings, Oregon
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:21 AM   #6
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Ken, here is a site that may be useful to you:
http://www.dmv.org/boat-registration.php
just click on your state for its rules.

If you are in Florida here is a site that will definitely interest you:
http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/vslfacts.html#2c
It is a Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles site. Just scroll down to the "numbering" section, where it says:

"The registration number issued to an undocumented vessel is to be painted or permanently attached to both sides of the bow (forward half) of the vessel and must be in block letters and numerals at least three inches high. The registration number must read from left to right, must contrast in color with the hull and be maintained in legible condition."

I would think that by stating "...to an UNDOCUMENTED vessel..." that the state is implicitly saying that documented vessels are exempt from this numbering requirement (though the boat is still required to be registered by the state).

Gary

-- Edited by gns at 11:28, 2008-08-04
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:02 AM   #7
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Quote:
coyote454 wrote:

Ken,

As Marin said, if you have the documentation numbers, which were assigned to your vessel years ago, perminently attached (carved into wood or whatever) inside the boat, you won't have any registration numbers assigned to the boat at all
In Washington State, at any rate, this is not the case.* Even if your boat is documented the state WILL assign a registration number to the boat.* The state does not use documentation numbers to keep track of resident boats, they use their own WN numbers, so every boat (above a certain size or hp) is assigned one.* We have one--- I can't for the life of me remember what it is and we don't have it displayed on the exterior of the boat--- but it's on our annual state registration form and is how Washington state "knows" our boat.

We have been boarded twice (so far) by the USCG.* The first thing they looked at was the boat's registration and documentation papers.* When they saw the boat was documented they wanted to see the "permanently affixed" number on the boat.* The USCG could care less about the Washington State registration number---- even if a boat isn't documented that number is a state deal, not a federal deal.* They'll want to see the registration document*because it's further proof of the legal ownership of the boat, and if you are not documented but don't have the registration numbers displayed on the boat they may point this out to you.* But I was told by a USCG person that they aren't going to issue a violation for not complying with a state law to display the registration number (if your boat's not documented) because it's not their problem.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

A little further clarification concerning Washington State.* According to Tony Ford, Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 130-01-08 in Everett, Washington, here's what the Coasties want to see when they board you.* IF your vessel is documented, you will not have any state numbers affixed to the outside on the hull (or anywhere else).* You DO have to have the blue sticker showing you paid the Washington excise tax for the year, but that's all your boat will show.* You also DO have to have the documentation papers as well as the documentation number affixed to something permanent inside the boat, as Marin previously said.

According to Tony, there won't be any registration numbers assigned to your boat when you pay the tax each year, but you will get the sticker.* I forgot to ask him where this is affixed, but I'd imagine in the normal spot where the registration numbers would have been.

Clear as mud....right?*

Mike Wiley
34'CHB
ChristyLee
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:49 AM   #9
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Quote:
coyote454 wrote:
According to Tony, there won't be any registration numbers assigned to your boat when you pay the tax each year, but you will get the sticker.*
Tony is wrong on this point I'm afraid, unless Washington has recently changed its requirements.* Our GB was documented when we bought it in 1998 and we had it documented as soon as we acquired it and were assigned the same documentation number.* But when the boat arrived in Washington we had to register it with the state, and we got not only that year's colored annual registration sticker but were assigned a "permanent" WN number as well.* When we pay our WA registration fee every year, the form has that WN number on it.

The WN number is permanent to the boat as long as you own it.* We bought a 17' Arima in 1987 and when we registered it it was assigned the number WN71727LD.* We pay the registration fee every year and get the annual sticker, and yes, the state does not issue a new WN number with the sticker each year.* If that's*what Tony was saying, then he's*correct.* But the boat (and our Grand Banks) most definitely have Washington*WN numbers assigned.* The only difference is that we have to display it on the undocumented*Arima, but we don't on the documented*GB.* But both boats will have these WN numbers assigned to them as long as we own them and they're in this state.


-- Edited by Marin at 12:52, 2008-08-04
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:06 PM   #10
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Looks like my info was in error according to Marin's first hand experience with Coasties in Washington.* Seems like the reason people started documenting vessels in the first place (have more protection in foreign ports as well as avoiding paying additional fees to the state) has been halfway eliminated.

Kind of scary when the people who actually do the boarding for inspections*aren't on the same page.*

Now here's one I hadn't heard before.* A friend just had a courtesy inspection done in Brookings and the Coasties only found one thing he overlooked.* That was to have a written plan for getting rid of the trash on your boat when you leave the boat after docking.* Hadn't heard of that one before.* They told him it could be as simple as a one-liner, and even handwritten.

You mean we aren't supposed to throw all the trash overboard as we enter the harbor?*

Mike Wiley
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ChristyLee
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:45 PM   #11
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

This requirement has been around for quite awhile. The USCG Auxilliary folks who do the courtesy exams probably want to see it but the USCG regulars who boarded us didn't seem to care. But you can buy a ready-made placard with a "plan" on it if you don't want to create one yourself.
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:45 PM   #12
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

There we go Mike, you've hit the nail on the head. The people doing the boarding don't actually know what is or isn't required. So, when the Auxilliary does a courtesy examination and the #1 checklist point says the state registration numbers have to be on the bow, they will fail you if they aren't there. (see the website, and the actual form linked to it)

Now, you and I (I think) agree that when the WA state law (quoted in my post above) and the 33CFR regulation are put side by side it is apparent that a documented boat does not put state numbers on the bow. Why wouldn't the USCG auxilliary website be willing to amend their statement and checklist to be clear?

Your friends boat is over 39.8 feet long. A written trash plan is required to be POSTED on board the boat. The web has several examples which can be used as boilerplate for his plan. At least that's what I did. I can send you an electronic copy of mine if he's interested.

As a follow up to Marin, I'm pretty sure that the document number is issued to "the boat" and every subsequent owner will have the same number. Hence the number being permanently attached to the boat. If I understand correctly an owner can opt to not keep the boat documented during his/her ownership and another subsequent owner can re-document the boat and have the same number as the original document person had.

Ken
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:21 PM   #13
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Quote:
2bucks wrote:

As a follow up to Marin, I'm pretty sure that the document number is issued to "the boat" and every subsequent owner will have the same number. Hence the number being permanently attached to the boat.
That I don't know.* I recall being told by the insurance broker we use when we were arranging for insurance and documentation that we would have the same documentation number "....because the previous owner had documented the boat."* The implication was that if there was a break in owners documenting the vessel, a new documentation certificate and number would have to be obtained if a subsequent owner wanted to document the boat.* But I could be mis-remembering that.......
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:30 PM   #14
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

As I stated previously, my two documented boats were in California and I simply paid a small fee (about $70 as I remember) for the new documentation paperwork, showing the owner's name change.* The number remained the same in both cases.*

Of course I was never boarded by the Coasties, so I can't attest to the same experience Marin has had.

I certainly don't know if it is 'permitted' to change the number when ownership changes, (mine was never changed), but I can't imagine why someone would want to do that, especially as the number has already been affixed to part of the boat.* Maybe if the vessel had a dubious past............

I'm glad we had a chance to kick this around, as the issue isn't as cut and dry as I thought it was.* Different people boarding; different things they're looking for.

Mike Wiley
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ChristyLee
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:31 PM   #15
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

The states requiring registation will issue you a number anyway, but it's against federal law to put it on the outside of a federally documented boat. The states are just insuring they know where to come tax you at.

The garbage plan is boilerplate (posted in another thread) and just has to be on board, not posted anywhere. Mine is in my "legal" book, which is a three ring binder that has doc paper, insurance, FCC licenses, state registrations, fire extinguisher inspection, yada yada yada. Available any time, and the guys love that it's kept up neatly with everything in one place. Also, easy to remove from the boat when a storm is coming, like today!
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:01 PM   #16
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Hi folks,
** Whoa! With all due respect, we have been cruising outside of the US for about 7 months now. No Homeland Security, no Coast Guard, no Sheriffs department, no DNR, no Fish and Wildlife, no dink or boat registration, no marine or poop police, no EPA. (Can I go on?). Notanothing! (Well I did take a picture of the Bahamian Navy once). Got to have a passport and documentation (or proof of ownership)thats it! No problem mon! How simple is that? And somehow it ALL works out just fine!
** I* spoze I am just trying to convey (Rant?) how anal things are getting* in the good old US of A, with all* the stupid rules and different federal, state and local agencies, stumbling* all over themselves with regulations that we cannot even understand or figure out, as mentioned above! It boggles my mind sometimes how things have changed just in the last year. Geezewe are just trying to steer a stupid boat around hey?
** Well I will pour one more glass of wine *and shut the heck up now, but I am really sorry that you have to pay so close attention to the rules and regs back home. I hope you dont get your boat taken away, or fined for not abiding!
Respectfully,
Ken
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:38 PM   #17
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

I dunno.... we've had our GB for ten years now and have been able to do everything we've wanted to do and go everywhere we've wanted to go. Other than clearing customs and a couple of routine Coast Guard boardings (because we live where there is extremely active trafficking in drugs and people from OUTSIDE the US) we have seen nothing of any of the agencies you list. We've not been hassled by anyone from the port, city, county, state, DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA Secret Service, Interior Dept, Parks Dept., EPA, BLM, EU, UN, NATO, SEATO, Interpol, Solar System, Galaxy, or Universe.

Doesn't seem much different than what you've been doing.....
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:40 PM   #18
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Quote:
2bucks wrote:
As a follow up to Marin, I'm pretty sure that the document number is issued to "the boat" and every subsequent owner will have the same number. Hence the number being permanently attached to the boat. If I understand correctly an owner can opt to not keep the boat documented during his/her ownership and another subsequent owner can re-document the boat and have the same number as the original document person had.

Now that the USCG is getting to the paperwork from the week we bought our boat it is time for me to figure out where/ how I am going to afix the documentation number.* I googled it and found this thread...* I hadn't thought of carving it into the floor beam.* Excellent!* Exactly what I shall do.

I have quoted Ken as I have found what he states to be true.* The original owner of our boat documented it and the second owner did not.* We are getting the same USCG number for it as the original owner had.*

Interestingly enough, we have yet to find where the original owner "permanently" mounted the number.**There are lots of places with screw holes where things have been taken down, so maybe his "permanent" mounting was not quite up to par ("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 12-09-2010, 03:48 PM   #19
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

My number is down in the engine room.**
Made by drilling little holes in the bulkhead

SD
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:25 PM   #20
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RE: Coast Guard inspection site

Quote:
Pineapple Girl wrote:

Interestingly enough, we have yet to find where the original owner "permanently" mounted the number.**There are lots of places with screw holes where things have been taken down, so maybe his "permanent" mounting was not quite up to par ("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.")???



*
Also interesting is that my builder is going to install a board with the documentation number engraved in it, attaching it to the bulkhead between the pilothouse and saloon.*

*
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