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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....
 
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.
 
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.)
 
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.
 
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.
 
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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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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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.
 
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.
 
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.

There is in every state I have ever lived in...try and register it without paying sales/use tax.

No wonder you think your boat doesn't need to be registered.
 
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.

Stop using "home port" as just a term you have created. It's only on documentation and irrelevant to the rest of this. MA is important to you, only because it's your state of residency (it's your legal home) and it becomes the registration default since you don't meet the 60 or 90 day rule anywhere else. But it's not compelling because it's the home port on your documentation, it's compelling because it's your state of residency. Now I imagine that's then why you put it on your documentation.

We've been through a lot of interesting circumstances. Pick one boat, purchased in Washington, from a Washington builder. Documented. Registered in FL a year before ever reaching FL, but because that would be where we kept it. So, had to convince WA no sales tax or property tax and not overstay our 60 days there. Next was the fact it was in California on January 1, tax appraisal day. We filed with San Diego evidence that California was not the principle state of use and just passing through with dates of arrival and departure and we were exempted. Then it went through many countries and states before ever reaching FL but we'd paid FL use tax in advance and registered it there in advance. Since then, it has set in RI, MA and NY as well as Cayman Islands for extended periods but never long enough to kick any requirements off. We once were asked in NYC as it had been at the same marina earlier but we showed every where outside the state it had traveled in the interim.

Number 1 above, state of documentation "home port" is irrelevant to all registration discussions. The USCG only uses a home port for the purpose of identification to try to distinguish between dozens of boats with the same name. It serves no other purpose.
 
If your documented in state x and travel to state y. Why do you need registration in either state. Is there a law that says you must be registrated in at least one state. Who' law fed or state
 
If your documented in state x and travel to state y. Why do you need registration in either state. Is there a law that says you must be registrated in at least one state. Who' law fed or state


You aren’t documented in a state, you are documented by the USCG at the federal level. A state has the ability to collect sales/use tax and property tax if you are in that state. So if you are in state x long enough to trigger their particular laws, then you may have to register the boat in that state and pay whatever taxes they levy in the process. If you then travel to state y you have to comply with their laws. Most of the time, the states recognize that a boat is a moving object and allow you to pass through IF you have complied with all the requirements of your resident state.

It is the same with a car. Unless you display proper and current plates you will be stopped when you drive through any state. If you don’t, you will be required to register that vehicle or risk the state impounding it until they get it sorted. States are also jealous of folks who live in their state yet try to register their cars in a cheap state. It is the same with a boat.
 
You can be documented and not registered because you keep your boat (not reside) in a state that doesn't require it.

After so many days in a state that does require registration, you will certainly be required to by that state....and if you arrive from a state with no registration you may be required to immediately register and prove any taxes have been paid on the boat.
 
There can be an exemption for sales/use tax. California (surprisingly) is one of those states. If the boat is delivered outside of the state, and you can prove 180 days use out of the first 360 were out of the state, you are presumed not to have purchased it for use in California and are exempt from state sales/use tax. You must apply for this exemption, and it must be granted. After that, the exemption is permanent, even if you later bring the boat into California long term.

One problem with this is many (most?) states that collect use tax will give credit for sales/use tax paid in another state. If you've paid nothing in California, and are keeping the boat in Washington for example, after 60 days you will owe the entire Washington state sales tax, even if you intend to depart on day 61.

While the CG listed home port may be irrelevant, it may well trigger a tax demand letter from the jurisdiction at the home port - it certainly did in my case, even though the boat (10 years on) has never been there.

You must keep in mind, tax legislation is all about revenue generation, 'fairness' is simply window dressing to try to make it palatable.
 
If your documented in state x and travel to state y. Why do you need registration in either state. Is there a law that says you must be registrated in at least one state. Who' law fed or state

As stated, documentation has nothing to do with a state. As to requiring registration in at least one state, not if you only boat in a state not requiring it. However, most states do require it and the period of boating without it only applies if you're registered elsewhere. So if state x doesn't require registration and you travel to state y, you'll be required to register immediately in most cases. The 60 and 90 day periods generally apply only to registered boats.
 
In 2002 we bought a boat in Washington state. We kept it there until we ran it down to California. We were below the Washington state time limit and above the California time limit of 90 days (at that time it was 90 days). We did not have to pay Washington tax since we were moving it to California and did not have to pay California tax since we were outside the 90 day limit. We never had to pay sales tax on that boat. California tax authorities did make us prove that we kept the boat out of the state and used it for the 90 days. We home ported it in Tucson, Arizona since we lived there. Then Arizona tried to get sales tax from us. We had to prove that we kept it in California and it had never been in Arizona. It all worked out ok but now I don’t know if it would work or not.
 
Does this discussion mean "USA", should really be only be "SA"?
 
Does this discussion mean "USA", should really be only be "SA"?



Possibly, but you know Trawler Forum. These guys could make boiling water complicated. (and find a way to argue about it)
 
My understanding is that the most important point about state registration is to be able to show that sales tax was paid when the boat was bought. This is why I keep a copy of the sales tax receipt with my boat documents.

I understand that a boater who got his boat through a private sale, when stopped by a state LEO was asked to prove that the sales tax on the boat was paid. Since he could not prove it, the state impound the boat until he paid the tax to that state in accordance with their assessed value. Sales tax is usually big bucks when compared with other potential costs in these situations.

Moral of the story: Always carry a sales-tax paid receipt with your boat documents.
 
My understanding is that the most important point about state registration is to be able to show that sales tax was paid when the boat was bought. This is why I keep a copy of the sales tax receipt with my boat documents.

I understand that a boater who got his boat through a private sale, when stopped by a state LEO was asked to prove that the sales tax on the boat was paid. Since he could not prove it, the state impound the boat until he paid the tax to that state in accordance with their assessed value. Sales tax is usually big bucks when compared with other potential costs in these situations.

Moral of the story: Always carry a sales-tax paid receipt with your boat documents.

My dog ate it and died, many years ago.
 
I understand that a boater who got his boat through a private sale, when stopped by a state LEO was asked to prove that the sales tax on the boat was paid. Since he could not prove it, the state impound the boat until he paid the tax to that state in accordance with their assessed value.

Just tell 'em you bought it in Oregon or RI or any other state with no sales tax. Therefore the tax was fully paid.

Of course, it isn't that simple. Many states will give you credit for tax paid in another state (though this makes no sense at all). So if from Oregon, or given The California exemption, you're still on the hook as far as they are concerned. I note that if you bought in a 10% jurisdiction and enter an 8% jurisdiction, they don't offer a refund.....
 
Don't need a lawyer to know what you say doesn't float. Rules are very specific. You keep the boat in FL and are required to register it in Florida and have a decal. Furthermore, you're also required to register your dinghy in FL and have numbers on it. Documented boats are still registered in most states. You home port has absolutely nothing to do with where it must be registered.

You are absolutely correct with one caveat! If the dingy does not have any sort of mechanical propulsion, either electric or internal combustion, it does not need to be registered! Only thisexwith some sort of motor need registration in Florida!
 
You cannot have a motor of any type on the dink in Florida and not register it.
 
You are absolutely correct with one caveat! If the dingy does not have any sort of mechanical propulsion, either electric or internal combustion, it does not need to be registered! Only thisexwith some sort of motor need registration in Florida!

Yes, if you use oars you're ok. Don't think that applies to many here but might to some. Doesn't apply to the person I was responding to.
 
Registration lettering on the hull does not have to look bad.
 

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Keep it Documented

I would leave it documented. For the sake of $26/year your going to have undisputed chain of ownership and lien status.....Not so with state registered vessels. I would question a vessel that was previously documented, removed from doc and then appears in federal documentation again right before a sale. UCC filing against it? Maybe, maybe not... Continuous Documentation disarms any question about ownership and liens. Why raise a potential flag for lenders,Doc companies or potential buyers? $26/year isn't worth it IMHO only.

I couldn't agree more. For all of the reasons you noted.
 
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