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Old 11-02-2022, 11:11 AM   #1
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Change from State Registration to CG Documented

So my boat has been in St. Thomas last two years and is registered in Delaware . I am bringing the boat to Florida and want to change the Delaware registration to coast guard documentation. I know that even with CG documentation I have to register in Florida. That is not a problem.

It's the paperwork.

Has anyone made the change from state to Coast Guard? The coast guard documentation instructions are not clear on what is required. There is no change of ownership, no change of name. Coast Guard seems to be asking for a bill of sale. But I bought the boat more than three years ago. Can I just use the back of the Delaware registration form to list the change of status as no longer registered in Delaware?

Before I bumble off sending out paper work I thought I would reach out and get some clarity from someone who has done it before.
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Old 11-02-2022, 12:32 PM   #2
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I'd just call the National Vessel Documentation Center and talk to them. They're usually pretty helpful. 800-799-8632.
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Old 11-02-2022, 01:05 PM   #3
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If the boat was never documented, it may be tough. The USCG usually requires a certificate of origin from the manufacturer to document a boat.

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Old 11-02-2022, 01:11 PM   #4
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And I think you have to get a sign off from any/all previous owners. They have to make sure it was never stolen and has no open liens. This may be a case where one of the documentation broker services would come in handy.
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Old 11-02-2022, 01:52 PM   #5
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I documented a well used boat and it couldn't have been hard because I'm not terribly bright. Although I confess that I don't remember the process. I did follow the written instructions found on the website.

I agree with calling them if you have a specific question. For a government agency, they are surprisingly helpful. On my boat, I did have a bill of sale, but I had to complete the initial request (which required some educated calculations of various measurements). Before you hire someone, give it a shot yourself by downloading the initial documentation forms and calling if you have a specific question (such as what you could use in lieu of a BOS).

I know they didn't require me to have a sign off from any prior owners.
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Old 11-02-2022, 03:32 PM   #6
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Does Delaware not title boats? Thatís ideally what you would send in to show proof of ownership. Otherwise I expect itís the registration if thatís how you transfer ownership in DE.
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Old 11-02-2022, 06:18 PM   #7
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In Washington State at least, you can add CG documentation but you are still required to pay for state registration every year. The documentation substitutes for the title.

I think there are other states with similar requirements …
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Old 11-02-2022, 08:21 PM   #8
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What are you having trouble with? The state registration or the documentation.

State registration is generally easy.

Homeland Security for documentation can be troublesome.

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Old 11-02-2022, 08:33 PM   #9
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I've done it. Really not a problem. Mine was on a boat that had been previously documented but last owner had dropped it from the system and done state registration. I just had to send a copy of the last registration and bill of sale. In your case shouldn't be a bill of sale necessary since it is in your name. But to be on the safe side just call them, they are very helpful.
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Old 01-05-2023, 10:26 PM   #10
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I just had my secretary do it online for USCG renewal and renewed for 5 years. Address change and initial should do it if you have the original reg and bill of sale.
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Old 01-06-2023, 12:55 AM   #11
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And I think you have to get a sign off from any/all previous owners. They have to make sure it was never stolen and has no open liens. This may be a case where one of the documentation broker services would come in handy.
No. If you have the current title you will have to admeasure the boat to determine the net tonnage and fill out the required forms. It isnít hard to do if you have the measurements of the boat. I had line drawings of a previous boat and scaled them up to get the necessary measurements. You could also take it to a documentation company and have them do it for you.
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Old 01-06-2023, 03:55 AM   #12
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This is the people I use and they make it painless.
Just give Connie Crews a call and it can be handled over the phone

https://allyachtdocumentation.com/services
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Old 01-06-2023, 10:50 AM   #13
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https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/D...kthNEOvg%3d%3d

The Simplified Method will use a state title. In Non-Title States the registration is generally used as the title. The Registration itself includes a form on the back to transfer the ownership. The owner is implied by the registration, unless that registration shows as having ownership transferred.

There are 16 states which don't title boats. People document their boats all the time. If this were really a problem, it would have been discussed ad nauseum on this site and our sister site Cruisers Forum.

Best bet would be to contact the USCG. You could pay fees for a 3rd party documentation company to handle it for you. Despite popular belief, they are not 'scams'. They are paid a fee (albeit high) to provide services such as navigating the bureaucracy and paperwork for you.

Good luck.
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Old 01-06-2023, 11:11 AM   #14
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It is difficult to retroactively get a vessel documented, especially if it is older.

Why do you really want to do it. There is very little advantage to having a documented vessel. In fact, about none, as far as I know. Just more paperwork and fees.

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Old 01-06-2023, 11:44 AM   #15
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It is difficult to retroactively get a vessel documented, especially if it is older.

Why do you really want to do it. There is very little advantage to having a documented vessel. In fact, about none, as far as I know. Just more paperwork and fees.

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Because it's saltier -- more nautical -- and has cache'. That's really the only reason we've maintained the fed documentation our boat. I'm being facetious of course, but I think for most purposes Pete is exactly right. I've sometimes heard that federal documentation is helpful if you leave US waters, but then I've heard just as many boaters say that state registration works just fine for most purposes in Canada and Mexico, and it's not required transiting the Panama Canal for example, if you're doing the "Big U." And then others say it gives you a rock solid ownership history for insurance and financing, but I'm not sure that really makes much of a difference either. I've never seen a percentage quoted but I'll bet the vast majority of recreational boats are financed and insured with just state titles. In fact, our local county registrar and bank and insurance company here (State Farm) didn't even know what federal boat documentation was, they required a state title. Now of course I know it's improper (illegal?!) to state title a federally documented boat, but good luck telling that to the boat cops, banks, counties and insurance companies around here, and I'll bet in lots of other "landlocked" states that aren't familiar with bigger boats and other nautical stuff.
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Old 01-06-2023, 12:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
It is difficult to retroactively get a vessel documented, especially if it is older.

Why do you really want to do it. There is very little advantage to having a documented vessel. In fact, about none, as far as I know. Just more paperwork and fees.

pete
It is actually pretty easy to do. Just fill out the forms and submit them to the CG NVDC in West Virginia.

As to the benefits, they may or may not apply to you. Some financial institutions require it because it gives them a stronger title to the boat than a state registration. It is better to have a federally titled vessel if you are going out of the country. You donít have to display state registration numbers on the boat.
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Old 01-06-2023, 12:05 PM   #17
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One of the biggest reasons is financing....preferred mortgage.
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Old 01-06-2023, 12:18 PM   #18
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...It is better to have a federally titled vessel if you are going out of the country. You don’t have to display state registration numbers on the boat.
Dave -- For all the times this has been discussed on the forum, I'm still not sure what the benefits are though. Do you know how or why it's better? Easier to check through Customs and border patrols? I've chartered in the PNW a number of times (San Juan Charters and Nanaimo Charters), and Mexico once. Passports, fruit and other deadly foods (!!) were heavily scrutinized especially trying to get back into the US, but I don't recall any official asking anything about boat documentation or ownership. But maybe you're talking about beyond North America, although that's very rare for most of us I'll bet.

You also mentioned not having to display state registration numbers on the bow. That's actually one reason we do keep up the federal documentation. Relatively trivial, just aesthetic reason I know, but it's worth $26 to me for a clean-looking bow. And the salty cache'. Makes me feel like Joshua Slocum to explain the federal regs to the state Fish & Game water cops, ha!
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Old 01-06-2023, 12:47 PM   #19
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Can't confirm this but I have heard that if USCG Documented and you get into issues in some foreign countries, the state department will get involved. I would bet even if state only registered, they would too as a citizen of the USA.

..... but with documentation they have more leverage..... might be something to do with more directly "flagged" in the USA.
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Old 01-06-2023, 12:52 PM   #20
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Can't confirm this but I have heard that if USCG Documented and you get into issues in some foreign countries, the state department will get involved. I would bet even if state only registered, they would too as a citizen of the USA.

..... but with documentation they have more leverage..... might be something to do with more directly "flagged" in the USA.
That is my understanding too.
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