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Old 01-11-2018, 10:14 AM   #1
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What do you cruisers do with important papers?

Hi all, we currently live in the forest and every summer there is fire danger, so we keep our important papers, (vehicle titles, deeds, wills, financial, etc) in what we call a "go box" that can be grabbed and taken on a moments notice. We are looking at moving aboard this spring and beginning our cruising life. We've thought about safety deposit boxes but what happens when we are 2000 miles away and need a document? We've looked at installing a safe, but if the boat were to sink, our papers would be at the bottom of the sea. We've had several "Why didn't we think of that?" moments reading here, so here goes...What do you do?
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:34 AM   #2
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Keep copies on board, or in many cases a pdf of them on your computer is better. Then keep the original in a bank safety deposit box.

In my experience the only reason you need the original is if you die (your will and the subsequent probate process) or in litigation where you have to show the original. Hopefully neither of these will happen to you while cruising.

Otherwise a copy or pdf works fine for all other purposes.

David
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:20 AM   #3
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I've gone fully paperless. Everything is scanned, PDF. Stored in the cloud available on any device of the moment, as well as a local HDD copy.

I actually don't know of anything I own that I would need the original-original for except for the will stuff as dj said, and relatives have copies of that.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:31 PM   #4
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Everything was duplicated and put in a safe deposit box in a bank.
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Old 01-11-2018, 02:19 PM   #5
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My important originals that copies wouldnt work for are all in a zippered 3 ring binder in my go bag.

If the boat sinks while I am off it, the boat is in a marina or at shallow anchor and the bag will float around inside the cabin till recovered.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:59 PM   #6
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I guess I'm a little more lax. I just keep the documents stashed on the boat in one location so I could grab them if needed, although we're mostly paperless. I keep digital copies of Certificate of Documentation and insurance for the boat. If the boat sinks I'll have bigger things to worry about..
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:23 PM   #7
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We digitalize all documents, boat or otherwise, so have access to them at all times. Anything we need the original for on the boat, we keep it in vacuum sealed pouches or in some form of protective plastic. Anything we need the original for but don't need it on the boat is in a safe deposit box. That's mainly deeds, titles, licenses.
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:47 PM   #8
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We did as described above, both digital and hard copies. But one exception is passports, those we kept in the waterproof "ditch bags" on boars as well as having scanned copies available.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:44 PM   #9
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Think of what you REALLY need originals for....

Really nothing, but

What would be inconvenient is: (but you can recreate)
Passports
Titles to vehicles
Birth certificates

You don't need:
Deeds (when you sell, the deed is a non issue)
Contracts
Financial stuff (all on a drive or in a bank or brokerage account)
Wills (would be nice if you croak, but most states don't even need them notarized)

For "me", I'm all paperless except for the first three things. There might be something else there, but can't think of it.

Non issue for me.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:20 PM   #10
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I scan everything I can to a directory on the home office computer, backed up to a thumb drive kept at my work office, then the remaining paper goes in a gasket sealed file box kept on the boat while it's in the water, and at home when the boat is a popsicle on jack stands. Like this:

http://m.sterilite.com/mobile.html?i...ry=0&section=0
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:13 AM   #11
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We join the club of digitalizing everything. Boat papers I keep both a digital copy and the originals on board. Some countries demand to see originals. I risk the digital copies being stored in the cloud along with a complete back up of my computer a separate portable hard drive also has a copy which is hidden on board.

We are more likely to suffer a loss by theft then a sinking. Had that happen to a few friends. Thus multiple copies.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:24 PM   #12
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If your boat is sinking or on fire, I think documents will be the last thing on your mind.

I would suggest a safe deposit box or something similar on land and copies stored in the cloud.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aboatman View Post
If your boat is sinking or on fire, I think documents will be the last thing on your mind.

I would suggest a safe deposit box or something similar on land and copies stored in the cloud.
there are 2 kinds of important papers...

those related to the boat and cruising...where originals are the ONLY option...

and all others that can be anyplace.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:25 PM   #14
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I carry paper copies on the boat PLUS scanned copies on my phone. I also send scanned copies of titles, documentation, insurance, passports and credit cards to our kids so we can get copies should all others be lost.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kthoennes View Post
I scan everything I can to a directory on the home office computer, backed up to a thumb drive kept at my work office, then the remaining paper goes in a gasket sealed file box kept on the boat while it's in the water, and at home when the boat is a popsicle on jack stands. Like this:

Sterilite Product Catalog
I think that a Pelican case would be a better solution for something you want to protect from water immersion. Like this:

Waterproof Storm hard cases | Pelican Professional
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:39 AM   #16
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Would the USCG accept a scanned certificate of documentation on your phone when boarding your boat?

I carry the original on the boat. If the boat sinks, I'm not going to need it.
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:10 AM   #17
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documentation is easy for a boarding team to check, also a replacement is free if the boat sinks.

so why not carry it?
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:47 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by boathealer View Post
I've gone fully paperless. Everything is scanned, PDF. Stored in the cloud available on any device of the moment,
I'm probably the only guy in the world who does not store things on the cloud. I figure if the NSA's computers can get hacked, what can the security be like on the cloud?

boathealer, do you have any anxiety over storing important docs on the cloud? Would you put your banking or investment info on there?

Just curious.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:58 PM   #19
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Just noted that the public list of uscg documented boats does not include owner's address anymore.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:34 PM   #20
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Just noted that the public list of uscg documented boats does not include owner's address anymore.
Huh, what do you now, that's right. Hadn't noticed that. Maybe it's an attempt to make the database harvesting a little more difficult for third party - well, technically not scammers I suppose, but at least shady, with their faux official letterheads and insignias.
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