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Old 09-26-2015, 07:25 AM   #1
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Boat registration away from home

I just renewed my FL boat registration for the big boat and the dink. The boat is currently on the Chesapeake (Maryland) in a slip. It was on the hard on the Chessie last winter until we splashed her in April. I've been so busy with work we only used it once this season. I have always maintained a current FL registration. The boat is also documented.

However I'm retired now and we will start heading south from the Chessie in mid October. With my current FL registration, if I am boarded will I have a problem because I didn't register the boat in Maryland? We plan on taking a couple of months getting the boat home (Tampa) passing through VA, N.C., S.C., GA.
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Old 09-26-2015, 07:58 AM   #2
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I don't forsee a problem, at least not with the Coasties. I'd say you might have a bigger threat from the locals in Va., or the landlocked state taxing authorities:-(

Without researching your state's property law it's difficult to say, but
a quick search revealed these exceptions:

Quote:
"Exceptions:

Non-motorized vessels, US Coast Guard Documented Vessels, Vessels that are registered in another state*and are operated on Virginia waters for 90 consecutive days or less. Vessels with a temporary registration."
HTH?

Sail on and congrats on your retirement.

OD
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:03 AM   #3
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No. You're a Florida resident (right?) makes it even easier. Heck we were Texas residents when we were cruising, registered the boat in Rhode Island where we summered and Ann has an address, and nary an issue while cruising up and down the entire east coast, with long periods in NC and FL. The town of Westport Ma collected a little property tax when we moored the boat for a few months in the harbor.
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:29 PM   #4
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The issue is how long you use your boat in each state. You may be required to have more than one registration. Here is the Maryland requirement:

If your vessel was purchased elsewhere or previously registered in another jurisdiction, is now in Maryland waters, and will use Maryland waters more than any other single jurisdiction during the calendar year, you are liable for vessel excise tax and must register the vessel within 30 days of entering Maryland waters.

If your vessel is duly registered in another jurisdiction but remains in Maryland waters more than 90 days in a calendar year, you may be liable for vessel excise tax unless you can prove principal use in another jurisdiction.

What is "principal use?" 8-701 of the State Boat Act

“State of principal use” means the jurisdiction on whose waters a vessel is used or to be used most during a calendar year, which is the period from January 1 through December 31.

“Use” means to operate, navigate, or employ a vessel. A vessel is in use whenever it is upon the water, whether it is moving, anchored, or tied up to any manner of dock or buoy. A vessel is also in use if it is kept in any structure in readiness for use.


Now, as you go down the coast, each state has it's on rules. If you stay in them long enough you could end up with three or four registrations. I'd just look at each state's requirements.

It's your choice of what to do. But you'd have a difficult time for this year convincing Maryland that they aren't the state of principal use.

My understanding is that Virginia's rule is also 90 days but they don't require registering documented vessels. North Carolina requires registration at 90 days. South Carolina only requires 60 days. Georgia also is at 60 days.

Now I can't tell you how closely or when other states will check you or do anything. But theoretically you could be required to register now in Maryland, spend from October to January in Virginia and register, spend January to April in NC and register. May and June in SC and register. July and August in Georgia and register and keep your documentation and FL registration the entire time. The safest thing is to leave each state before the time, even if it's just to come back.
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
No. You're a Florida resident (right?) makes it even easier. Heck we were Texas residents when we were cruising, registered the boat in Rhode Island where we summered and Ann has an address, and nary an issue while cruising up and down the entire east coast, with long periods in NC and FL. The town of Westport Ma collected a little property tax when we moored the boat for a few months in the harbor.
Most people have no issues, even if they exceed the legal time. It's just an individual choice of whether to comply with the various state's rules or not.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:14 PM   #6
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Most people have no issues, even if they exceed the legal time. It's just an individual choice of whether to comply with the various state's rules or not.
That's the best info I've seen yet.
I'd skip it and if they figure it out, so be it.

Claim ignorance, pay the ignorance tax, and never go there over X number of day again. Spend you money elsewhere.

Seriously though, if you're just passing through from Va. to Fla., you shouldn't have a problem anyway. You probably won't spend over 30 days in any of those locations do you think?
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:42 PM   #7
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That's the best info I've seen yet.
I'd skip it and if they figure it out, so be it.

Claim ignorance, pay the ignorance tax, and never go there over X number of day again. Spend you money elsewhere.

Seriously though, if you're just passing through from Va. to Fla., you shouldn't have a problem anyway. You probably won't spend over 30 days in any of those locations do you think?
The closest we've ever come to a problem was Washington with their 60 day rule. The state we were in the longest was California but they aren't a problem. There you just have to deal with the threat of property tax but we filed documents in advance proving we weren't required to pay it.

We collected the information on every state we feel might potentially be a long stay for us. Easier to just do it at one time.
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Old 09-26-2015, 11:01 PM   #8
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Haven't researched it recently, but there was a provision in Maryland that a boat out of the water, decommissioned and not in a dry storage facility (building) does not have to count that time in Maryland. However, the principle state of usage would still apply. Usage being the time in the water.

I believe the Maryland Marine Police and checking boat yards is where they may catch you. I would get out of Maryland.
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Old 09-26-2015, 11:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Moonstruck View Post
Haven't researched it recently, but there was a provision in Maryland that a boat out of the water, decommissioned and not in a dry storage facility (building) does not have to count that time in Maryland. However, the principle state of usage would still apply. Usage being the time in the water.

I believe the Maryland Marine Police and checking boat yards is where they may catch you. I would get out of Maryland.
Yes, that provision still exists. The issue is that the OP's boat was back in the water in April.

That's another good thing to point out though that every state defines use differently. The only place I've ever personally seen out of state boats checked has been at marinas. I'm sure some get checked in routine checks while underway but I haven't seen it or been checked in that way.
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