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Old 05-21-2014, 11:23 AM   #1
City: Newport, RI
Country: United States
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42'
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 5
Boston, Taxes, Slips, etc.

Hello all,

I've been a longtime reader of these forums and decided to hop in and join the fun, prompted by some questions for the knowledgable people here on TrawlerForum.

A bit of background: I'm in the early stages of getting transferred to Boston and would love to liveaboard year round rather than spend money on an apartment or commute from RI. Timeframe is end of summer, possibly later depending on how work schedule goes. I'm quite partial to the late 80's Albin 43 trawlers, so all my following questions assume this boat or something fairly similar.

Most of the research I've done says that the Constitution Marina is a great place to berth, but I'm completely open to staying somewhere else provided it doesn't require me to have a car (so close to downtown or near a T). Is the general consensus that this is the place to be? How hard is getting a slip for a 43 foot boat? Should I hop on a waiting list now?

Next we have the question of registering the boat. I currently live in RI and own some property there. It is also my legal state of residence. Owning a boat and registering it in RI is exceptionally easy, you fill out some forms and send them along to the DEM. There's also no sales tax for boats sold in RI (a huge plus). Is it feasible to register a boat in RI then live on it in Boston? I have a riparian mooring in RI that I'll spend lots of time on during the summer months.

Next we come to the "Mooring Permit". Is it true that Boston requires a mooring permit to berth at a marina in the city? The City of Boston website mentions such and also claims an excise tax of 1% ($10 per $1000). Is this excise tax yearly (I assume it is) and what is the valuation based on? Finally, can I keep the boat registered in RI but also get a Boston mooring permit? Here is the link to the City of Boston site: Boat Excise | City of Boston

Thanks all,

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Old 05-21-2014, 03:45 PM   #2
Veteran Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 44
Just a thought. keep your live aboard in Wickford, ride the T and "visit" Boston when you like. Bill Jamestown

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Old 05-21-2014, 04:22 PM   #3
djmarchand's Avatar
City: Essex, Ct
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bella
Vessel Model: Mainship Pilot 34
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,998
Where you keep your boat is the only thing that matters, not where you live. In many states marinas are required to report to the state all boats docked there on Jan 1 of each year. Even if you have a federally documented boat, you get a tax bill.

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Old 05-21-2014, 05:01 PM   #4
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Capecodder's Avatar
City: Cape Cod, MA or Fort Myers, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Osprey
Vessel Model: Her Shine. Newburyport
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 198
Boston officials will walk the docks the 1st of July and send excise tax bill. I was billed by both my home Mass town and Boston. Because I was docked in Boston 7/1.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:21 PM   #5
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City: Slicker?
Country: Bumpkin?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 7,850
Welcome aboard.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:46 PM   #6
caltexflanc's Avatar
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,436
Can't comment on your marina questions, only been there to visit. However on the tax and fee side I did basically what you did. Registered in RI as we summered in the area and many members of wife's family lived there. During the prime summer months we kept the boat in Westport Harbor, MA, right across the line from RI. The town of Westport gave me a prorated property tax bill, nominal I'd say. This was in addition to harbor fees; we were on a mooring and there was also a town fee that covered the mandatory pump out boat and harbor patrol. The mooring rental was paid to Tripp's marina and boatyard, who maintained and managed the moorings and provided the launch and dinghy dock. Everyone, RI, MA, NC, FL (we spent a fair amount of time each year in the latter two) seemed happy with this, and most importantly, monetarily, MD, where I bought the boat and never got dunned for sales tax.

Though it has been a few years now, Westport still faithfully sends me a tax bill each year and I faithfully send them a copy of my slip rentals elsewhere and a note from Tripp's.

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
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Old 05-23-2014, 04:28 PM   #7
City: Newport, RI
Country: United States
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42'
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks George (and everyone else),

Any idea what the valuation for the purposes of taxes is based on? The NADA bluebook for a late 80's Albin 43 is $182,000, substantially higher than the ~$100K average asking price.
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Old 05-23-2014, 07:49 PM   #8
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City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,041
I don't remember the number, but there is a value cap for the excise tax on boats. I paid $315 last year for my Grand Banks based on the capped value.

I never realized Boston had a mooring permit system that includes marina slips. It appears to be nothing more than a convenient mechanism to enforce collection of excise and use taxes. They just walk the dock and look for boats without a permit sticker.

But.....the Constitution Marina is in Charlestown, not Boston, so the permitting might not apply.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #9
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City: Merritt Island,Fl
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Sue Marie
Vessel Model: Prarie 29
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 239
Lived on my boat in Boston, 1994 through 1997. Kept the boat there in the winters moved her back to Westport for summer. My legal residence was still S. Dartmouth, thus never got a bill/tax from Boston.

Rented a berth at Shipyard Quarters just north of the CG . Very nice spot, well maintained. Constitution is as well. Good spot for the mass transited hook uppity has been 20 years, wow.

Good luck.


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