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Old 07-29-2018, 06:17 AM   #21
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Be careful using the term "home port" with a documented vessel as it can be anyplace. So the home port on the transom requires no state relationship unless you picked your domicile and that may or maynot have further tax implications....but not necessarily registration implications.

Registration is supposed to be in the state of principle use, but as those 60/90/180 day windows in various states close, you must register there also.

Floridas sojourner permit seems to be nothing more than a registration (90 day allowed for non Fl boats) with a special name, it varies from county to county and county employee experience.....
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:49 AM   #22
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Be careful using the term "home port" with a documented vessel as it can be anyplace. So the home port on the transom requires no state relationship unless you picked your domicile and that may or maynot have further tax implications....but not necessarily registration implications.

I agree that the documented home port can be anyplace. But I think you then need to be in full compliance with that place. If that means state registration in that state, then that's needed. I say that because when visiting certain states, their rules for visitors are that you must be properly documented and/or registered in your "home" location, whatever that is. If it says Gloucester, MA on the back of my boat, I figure that means also complying with MA registration requirements. Now is MA, no registration is required for documented boats, but I have had to explain that having no registration is in compliance in MA.


Now I suppose if you documented boat says "Houston, TX" on the transom, and you principally use it in FL and have a FL registration, then take the boat to GA as a visitor, you might be in compliance since you are registered where you principally use the boat. But I think it woudl be a much easier conversation to show a TX registration vs a FL registration when your documented home port is Houston.
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:02 AM   #23
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Home Port for documentation purposes is just a fantasy visual for recreational boats. The USCG has no jurisdiction over registration matters.

States only have jurisdiction within their borders so unless you cant or they can prove your length of stay in their state exceeds their registration rules, only then do they have any registration authority over you. Doesnt even matter what your domicile is and basically could care less.

Its not like drivers licenses where your license, registration and home state (domicile) all have to match.
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:41 AM   #24
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Another consideration is that states can and do check the documentation records for boats with hail ports in their state. When they find you on the rolls they will often send you a tax bill.
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:54 AM   #25
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Another consideration is that states can and do check the documentation records for boats with hail ports in their state. When they find you on the rolls they will often send you a tax bill.
Good point....and amplifies tax and registration are 2 different animals but often channeled through whomever handles the registration.

But in the long run you often don't have to pay tax just on that info if you show the boat is or has been used elsewhere.

Again, can be totally separate issues...tax and registration.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:36 AM   #26
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Appreciate your message....but I agree with Olddan. I'm sure the Coast Guard does not actually require you to register in your hailing state, and I can't see how the state can require registration if you follow the 89day rule. ( legally speaking not spirtuality speaking)
Dan does not follow the 89 rule.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:47 AM   #27
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As Psneeld pointed out, "Home Port" is a fantasy for recreational users. Now, it does occasionally backfire by getting you inquiries or bills from that state, but if the boat isn't in that state enough to require registration then it doesn't matter. Registration is required in most states you use a boat, but you're generally exempt from registration then if you use it there less than 90 or 60 days depending on the state.

In the case of Old Dan, his boat is in Florida and he's legally required to register it there. He may or may not be required to register it in other states, depending on how long it stays in them. His Home Port is irrelevant.

As to being in compliance with the 'home port" state, you must be in compliance with every state in the US. You're in compliance if you don't keep the boat there and don't live there. Beyond that, each state has their own rules. But basically you are automatically in compliance with a state your boat never sees and with each state you go to you must have further compliance. What you have in letters on the back of your boat is irrelevant as to whether you're in compliance of not.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:07 AM   #28
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Be careful of the word compliance too...make sure it's in the right context....

There's compliance for...
Documentation with the USCG and the boat can be anyplace

Registration and taxation with the state and county and may or may not be totally where the boat currently is

Safety gear and operating regulations/safety certification at the Fed, state, and local levels where the boat is located usually unless exempted for a period of time.

I have a hard time keeping up as boating interstate is no longer free and simple as yesteryear....
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Old 07-29-2018, 02:17 PM   #29
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Interesting. Our home port state is and has always been Maryland. Current boat has been there for 7 years. We bit the bullet and paid their taxes and have a current MD registration sticker.

However the home port on the documentation is NJ. With a painted hull we didn't feel like removing the painted home port (and the name of the boat was actually acceptable to us).

The boat spends 99.9% of its time in MD waters and has current MD sticker so MD doesn't care. Have never heard anything from NJ. No idea what would happen if we traveled extensively.

We'll change the name and home port when we repaint, which has been "next year" for the past 6 years. The 12-year-old paint still shines up nicely.
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:44 PM   #30
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Home Port for documentation purposes is just a fantasy visual for recreational boats. The USCG has no jurisdiction over registration matters.

Agreed, and don't think I said otherwise.


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States only have jurisdiction within their borders so unless you cant or they can prove your length of stay in their state exceeds their registration rules, only then do they have any registration authority over you. Doesn't even matter what your domicile is and basically could care less.

I agree here too, but there is a practical issue when visiting other states. To be valid and exempt as a visitor, you are typically required to be correctly registered in your home port state. In other words, you need to be correctly registered somewhere else to gain reciprocity. So no, your state can't make you register your boat when the boat is not within their boarders. But most states require that it be registered somewhere if you want visit and be granted visitor status. You could probably dance around this and maybe even convince an authority that you are in compliance, but why put yourself through that. But if you want to knock yourself out.
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:57 PM   #31
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Agreed, and don't think I said otherwise.





I agree here too, but there is a practical issue when visiting other states. To be valid and exempt as a visitor, you are typically required to be correctly registered in your home port state. In other words, you need to be correctly registered somewhere else to gain reciprocity. So no, your state can't make you register your boat when the boat is not within their boarders. But most states require that it be registered somewhere if you want visit and be granted visitor status. You could probably dance around this and7 maybe even convince an authority that you are in compliance, but why put yourself through that. But if you want to knock yourself out.
Registration is state of principle use, home port can be where the boat is normally based or what the documentation says....just depends on how you are using the term.

I guess we are in agreement but I have experienced that no one cares WHAT your home port state is, as long as the boat has a valid registration someplace....it doesnt HAVE to match any other document because yhe way the laws are written.

In my case, I live in NJ and the homeport for documentation is NJ. But if I move the boat to MD on the Chesapeake, I am required to register it there...and not change my domicile or home port for documentation. When I go to FL for the winter, after 90 days they want a sojuorners permit or FL registration and could care less where I live or where the boat is registered as no where in the law that I know of requires a connection. In fact it specifically discussed state of principle use, not where you live.
If you are from a state where it doesnt require you to be registered if documented, I am guessing any state that requires it, you must immediately register within that state as you are not "exempted" for 60/90/180 days.

I am just doing a lot of repetition so newbies get the terminology and theory straight....
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:06 PM   #32
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To be valid and exempt as a visitor, you are typically required to be correctly registered in your home port state. .
No. Home port state isn't mentioned in any state law I'm aware of.

Here's how FL reads as to the exemption:

Vessels issued valid registration certificates and numbers by other states, provided the vessel is not stored or operated in state waters more than 90 days.


Here's GA:

If a boat is fully registered and valid in another state, the boat may be used in Georgia. However, after 60 days of continuous use in Georgia, the boat must have Georgia registration.

Nowhere do they discuss home port. Nowhere do they even mention your home state. They simply say valid registration in another state.

I have never seen the term "home port" used in any state's rules or mentioned anywhere in registration requirements.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:32 PM   #33
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Registration has nothing to do with homeport......

Taxation often has nothing to do with registration and the 60, 90 or 180 day location rule and EVERYTHING to do with intent of use/domicile.


Anfs the tax guys have llittle srnse of humor when they find you pkaying such gsmes as often suggested.


Two thoughts.

First psneed is exactly right. USCG documentation and state registration have nothing to do with each other, except for the requirement to display numbers on the hull. Most states require registration. If you keep your boat in one of those states then you are legally required to register the boat.

Secondly, tax evasion is, IMO an ethical lapse. Frankly, I won’t shed a tear for any boater that is evading taxes they are legally required to pay. (Note that is different than avoiding taxes where the law allows.)
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:53 PM   #34
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To sum up, for the OP:

Documentation really conveys two significant advantages: it is required if one is to secure a preferred marine mortgage on the vessel, and it's the only sort of legal status recognized if you navigate to countries outside North America.

My blue-water cruising sailboat was documented for both of the reasons above. My current vessel is not and has no reason to be.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:37 AM   #35
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No. Home port state isn't mentioned in any state law I'm aware of.

Here's how FL reads as to the exemption:

Vessels issued valid registration certificates and numbers by other states, provided the vessel is not stored or operated in state waters more than 90 days.


Here's GA:

If a boat is fully registered and valid in another state, the boat may be used in Georgia. However, after 60 days of continuous use in Georgia, the boat must have Georgia registration.

Nowhere do they discuss home port. Nowhere do they even mention your home state. They simply say valid registration in another state.

I have never seen the term "home port" used in any state's rules or mentioned anywhere in registration requirements.

"home port" is my own term, coined because I've seen nothing else to describe it.


But anyway, I concede that there is no law that says you need a registration from the same state as your documentation home port. As I said earlier, I think it's a practical issue when convincing locals that you are indeed ligit in some other state. I imagine, and may be wrong, that it would be a lot harder to convince an official that you are ligit when you have a documentation state of X, and registration from state Y. But maybe not. Fortunately I haven't been challenged anywhere other than Washington. It just seems so much easier and clearer to tell an official that "I am documented with home port in state X, and I also meet the registration requirements of state X". Done, end of conversation. Now this may be more important to me since I don't have any state registration because MA is one of the states that doesn't register documented boats. This is where I think it could get really sticky. Say you are documented with home port in a state that requires registration, but you habitually keep your boat in a state that does not require registration for documented boats. Now you go visit a third state and need to convince an official why you don't have any registration.


So I agree there is no law that says you need to have a registration from the same state as your documentation port. But there are laws that say you need to be registered "somewhere else", and I think in practice it makes life a lot easier and simpler when traveling around if your registration compliance and documentation port are the same state. It's a simple inoculation. For me, this made for a short conversation when visiting a state that is aggressive about collecting on visiting boats that they think have overstayed their welcome.


In contrast, perhaps others can share stories of being challenged and then demonstrating out of state registration compliance when their documentation port and registration states are different? Maybe it's widely accepted and not a problem.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:22 AM   #36
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If I did not have a registerred boat because it was kept in one of those few states, then I would have a copy of that states documented boat exemption printed and stapled to a copy of the tax bill from whatever state I paid sales tax in.

Because thats about the only thing that is motivating local law enforcement that I can think of.

Now, whether they would let you go as a transient without immediate registration in that state I am not sure, but no proof of ever paying sales or use tax....thats a big fish to bring in.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:53 AM   #37
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If I did not have a registerred boat because it was kept in one of those few states, then I would have a copy of that states documented boat exemption printed and stapled to a copy of the tax bill from whatever state I paid sales tax in.

Because thats about the only thing that is motivating local law enforcement that I can think of.

Now, whether they would let you go as a transient without immediate registration in that state I am not sure, but no proof of ever paying sales or use tax....thats a big fish to bring in.
I THINK the sales tax exemption is for a sale between two private owners, at least in many states.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:46 AM   #38
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If I did not have a registerred boat because it was kept in one of those few states, then I would have a copy of that states documented boat exemption printed and stapled to a copy of the tax bill from whatever state I paid sales tax in.

Because thats about the only thing that is motivating local law enforcement that I can think of.

Now, whether they would let you go as a transient without immediate registration in that state I am not sure, but no proof of ever paying sales or use tax....thats a big fish to bring in.

I guess if nothing else this discussion illustrates how many possible combinations of situations there can be, and that it can't be reduced down to one statement or rule. Considerations are:


1) State of documentation port


2) State of residency, and their rules



3) State where boat is "principally operated", if any, and their rules



4) State you are currently in, and their rules



5) How long you have been in the current state


6) How much sales/use tax you have already paid to some state, somewhere, at some time.


7) Possession of a current registration is some state.


8) probably a bunch more that I haven't thought about.


Assuming one complies with all the regs, that's still a lot of combinations that make up a particular person's situation.


For example, I don't have any location where I "principally operate". So I choose to use my documentation port state, and comply with their rules. It is also my state of residency. My tender is registered there, but my boat is not because they do not register documented boats. My boat has never been in that state, but neither has it ever been in any other state long enough to trigger registration requirements. So of the states to pick from, my "home port" state is the most compelling, and it doesn't require any extra explanation when asked.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:18 AM   #39
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I THINK the sales tax exemption is for a sale between two private owners, at least in many states.
What sales tax exemption?
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:24 AM   #40
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What sales tax exemption?
If I, as the owner, sell my boat or car to you as a private individual, there is no sales tax. exemption from paying sales tax.
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