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Thread: getting my boat investigated

  1. #1
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    Default getting my boat investigated

    Due to the strange twists of law and racing, my 1964 GP-14 Dinghy has never been titled or registered. She started off as part of the Race fleet down here in Stone Harbor NJ. NJ law states that boats used in One design Racing do not need to be titled or registered. After she was retired from racing, she moved to Bensalem Pa where she was used on the local lakes. Again, PA law says that any boat without an engine used only on non-tidal fresh water bodies does not need to be titled or registered.

    Stored in 1985, I want to use her here in NJ for pleasure sailing, due to this I need to title and register. The NJDMV is losing their minds how a boat built in 1964 was never issued a HIN, was never titled, and never ever registered. Tomorrow I get to take her to the NJ State Marine Police so they can investigate if my poor little wooden boat was ever stolen. Once they finish, they will issue a HIN, and then I can title and register.

    I have been told that the local DMV office is "Special" when it comes to boats. It only took me 4 trips to get the trailer registered even though I had all the properly signed and notarized paperwork. It's pretty bad when a worker there suggests I go to the DMV in a different county.
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Glad you like paying taxes to buy civilization.

    My boat is documented and a couple of years ago it had always been free to renew the doc., just fill out the CG form and send it back. Then they added a $25 fee to do this. I don't mind paying the fee, but I hate writing checks anymore, I pay almost everything by card and didn't even have printed checks for my account. But a check was the only way the CG would accept the documentation fee. So by the time I got some checks and sent in my fee, I was late. As a result, they cancelled my boat's documentation and I had to pay $80 and re apply. Then I accidentally left my wife's name off the form (it had been there originally) so they sent it back to redo, claiming that my boat evidently had new owners. All in all it took almost a year to get the documentation straightened out.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Maybe registering it as if you built it yourself would work. Or have a family member in a freer state that doesn't need to see the boat to issue paperwork register it. If is registered in your name but out of state you can get hassled but if you are 'borrowing' it from a family member that lives elsewhere you are probably good to go.

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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    So, I really don't want to seem like I'm being too much of a smart aleck, but has one other has already pointed out, the irony of your post and your signature block is somewhat sublime.
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Yea, registration is an even bigger PIA. I've been towing around a Flying Junior on its trailer for close to thirty years. That's amounted to two moves. It lives behind my shop, where it hasn't moved in the last twelve years. Sigh... All the expensive go-fast hardware has been removed and I have that stored away, together with the sails and rig. The hull has always needed a prep and repaint and the trailer has always needed tires and a sandblast and paint, but I got it for free and one of the joys of fiberglass is that it is relatively impervious to the weather.

    It was given to me and so the price was right. The former owner was moving away and I didn't know her much at all. The usual "friend of a friend." She was parts unknown a couple of days after I got the boat. She gave me a CA DMV Bill of Sale and said she didn't know where the registration papers were but they'd have them at the DMV. I knew that drill and wasn't concerned. So I go to the local DMV and I have the "CF" number off the bows and they tell me the boat's registration hasn't been paid in several years and to register it I will have to pay the back registration with penalties. How much can it cost to pay the back registration on a thirteen foot sailboat and trailer? Right?..... Well the registration and the penalties on the boat and the trailer came to close to a grand! So I said, "Thank you very much." and left. Then they started sending me notices that I owed them the back registration and the penalties. I sent them a letter back telling them that the boat and trailer weren't going to be used so I didn't see how I needed to register it. They said it had to be registered, which required the payment of back fees and penalties, and then I could get a 'certificate of non-operation" for five bucks a year on each. So I sent them another letter telling them to forget it because the cost was beyond the value of the boat and trailer (I didn't count the value of the hardware in that assessment.) and I was just going to take it to the dumps. Another letter comes back telling me that I can't take it to the dumps without a "demolition permit," which... you guessed it... requires that all the back fees and penalties be paid in order to get one. I then explained to them that, in fact, I was trying to register the boat and trailer, but was never the registered owner of them, so I didn't think I owed the DMV anything, and suggested that they contact the last registered owner and get tell them to deal with the registration. Fortunately, I suppose enough time passed that they left me alone. Does anybody know a state where you can bring a boat and trailer that's been "off the books" for thirty-something years all restored and register it as a "new" boat? Sheesh! You'd think the DMV would have been happy to see that somebody was going to register and start paying fees on an abandoned boat, but apparently not.
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 04-12-2018 at 02:20 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    Glad you like paying taxes to buy civilization.

    My boat is documented and a couple of years ago it had always been free to renew the doc., just fill out the CG form and send it back. Then they added a $25 fee to do this. I don't mind paying the fee, but I hate writing checks anymore, I pay almost everything by card and didn't even have printed checks for my account. But a check was the only way the CG would accept the documentation fee. So by the time I got some checks and sent in my fee, I was late. As a result, they cancelled my boat's documentation and I had to pay $80 and re apply. Then I accidentally left my wife's name off the form (it had been there originally) so they sent it back to redo, claiming that my boat evidently had new owners. All in all it took almost a year to get the documentation straightened out.
    The Vessel Documentation Office had a major "personality change" when the Coast Guard was taken over by the Department of Homeland Security (Which always seemed to me to sound rather Orwellian.) It starting losing its marbles when they centralized the local Documentation Officers and sent it all to Falling Water, VA. Before that, they actually had vessel inspection officers that would come out and actually inspect a vessel to be newly documented and if you called the local Documentation Office, they'd walk you through the process. After that, it was a signature on a pre-paid postcard once a year and that was that. When Homeland Security started running the show, they first started charging a $5 renewal fee, IIRC. Now you say that's up to $25 bucks. I'm not surprised. The whole damn Federal Government is turning into a "pay as you go" operation. Once upon a time, we got something for our taxes. Next thing you know, they will be installing pay toilets in every federal building.

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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    I have had similar problems. It's all very "planned obsolescence". I am just not sure who/what is being phased out. Me, the government, or fun?
    Quote Originally Posted by isla View Post
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    So, I really don't want to seem like I'm being too much of a smart aleck, but has one other has already pointed out, the irony of your post and your signature block is somewhat sublime.
    It's not the money I would have to pay to have it registered that bothers me.. it's the run around I am getting in having it done. I will hopefully get to sail it this year
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    The sublime irony is that the two are related.

    The system is designed to collect the money. This one is outside the system. Therein lies the sin.
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    The whole damn Federal Government is turning into a "pay as you go" operation. Once upon a time, we got something for our taxes. Next thing you know, they will be installing pay toilets in every federal building.
    Bob, I really wish you'd stop giving them ideas...
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    It actually was not that bad. The State Police took all of an hour, charged me nothing. I took the lot over the DMV, they issued me a HIN, title, registration, plus collected taxes.. cost me all of $90. The Trailer took me 4 trips to the DMV because NJ is paranoid about stolen trailers.
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Haberland View Post
    It actually was not that bad. The State Police took all of an hour, charged me nothing. I took the lot over the DMV, they issued me a HIN, title, registration, plus collected taxes.. cost me all of $90. The Trailer took me 4 trips to the DMV because NJ is paranoid about stolen trailers.
    The thing I've found about bureaucracies is that there's usually some workaround or easy way to do something, IF, and that's a huge IF, you know the right way to go about it. Getting the information is usually a bear, to put it mildly. The first person you talk to will tell you about so many forms, fees, and regulations that you're often tempted to just shoot yourself or torch the boat/car/motorcycle... whatever. If you go by what's on the basic state or town forms, you'll definitely feel that way. Then, after wasting innumerable hours of your time trying to peer through the fog, you are told of, or stumble upon, something just like you described. I had this happen with a house I was trying to get clear title to (encroachment etc) and the final step had to do with the planning board. It took me a few days of pulling my hair out to be finally directed to "form 20, section A, attachment 3, Request for Approval of a Change Thought Not To Need Approval" --actual title. Who said bureaucracy's don't have a sense of irony. The person who told me of the form looked at me like I was from mars, like, how could I not have known?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    So, I really don't want to seem like I'm being too much of a smart aleck, but has one other has already pointed out, the irony of your post and your signature block is somewhat sublime.
    Not at all - there is no connection between being happy to pay taxes, and needing a small boat registered. Here in Australia we are well to the left of the USA, but a boat like a GP14 does not have to be registered anywhere. I believe it's the same in the UK, NZ and possibly Scandinavia and Germany.

    Perhaps it's the other way around - perhaps countries or states where there is more opposition to tax have more registration requirements? It would be interesting to see some state-by-state comparison.


    PS- I may as well add that when we take our un-taxed un-registered small craft to the water, we have almost completely unrestricted access to the waterways and the shoreline. Where we have our yacht there's (AFAIK) something like 2km of private shoreline in a bay with about 80-100km (very, very roughly) of shoreline. The rest is free for the public to access and almost all of it is free for small craft launching and use. You can launch an un-registered un-taxed small boat for free within a mile of our national parliament. Since we appear to have freer boating access than much of the USA (and no one who can treat us like the US Coast Guard treats boaties) it appears that there is no correlation between having a small government and having freedom to use the waterways.
    Last edited by Chris249; 04-15-2018 at 06:54 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Here in VT, no registration is needed if the boat has no engine. A trailer does have to be registered to drive it on the road, but that's $15/year. The state has at least 100 launching ramps available to the public at no charge.

    Most of the Coasties are absolutely fine. Are there some that are too big for their britches? Sure - but most are courteous & truly concerned about boater safety.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Here in VT, no registration is needed if the boat has no engine. A trailer does have to be registered to drive it on the road, but that's $15/year. The state has at least 100 launching ramps available to the public at no charge.
    That was the problem I was having. Pennsylvania does not require registration for boats without an engine not used in tidal waters. NJ does. The people at the NJDMV were insistent that PA does require registration and they could not wrap their heads around how a boat built in 1964 would not have been registered at least once. They were also insistent that ALL boats have a HIN. The paper work the State Police gave me had this checked off for why the boat was never issued a HIN. "Built prior to 1972".
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    We don't have to do any of that in Canada.

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    Default

    Question: in the countries and states where no registration is required, what happens when your boat is stolen? Specifically, how would one prove ownership?

    Kevin


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  18. #18
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Question: in the countries and states where no registration is required, what happens when your boat is stolen? Specifically, how would one prove ownership?

    Kevin


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    Good question. I registered one kayak I built so I was given a HIN for it, but I never bothered to apply it to the boat. Where does it go on an SOF boat anyway? The other two I didn't bother and just get launch permits for them. But home made boats are so unique that a photo is probably the best ID anyway. This is in Pennsylvania.
    -Dave

  19. #19
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Question: in the countries and states where no registration is required, what happens when your boat is stolen? Specifically, how would one prove ownership?

    Kevin


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    Good question! As said, probably a pic is best. How does one prove ownership of a generator or chainsaw? Pic of the serial #, I presume. With a "different" wood boat, I'd think a pic would be the only route.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  20. #20
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Oh, bother. And I was really trying to keep this out of the bilge.

    Limited Government? We haven't had that since at least the Wilson Administration...

    But to be clear: This is what I believed to be the irony. The thesis is that taxes buy civilization. Fair enough. I can almost see how that works. But I think in this case, we've better proved the thesis that taxes bought not civilization, but bureaucracy. Kind of like thinking you're actually buying nutrition at a fast food place.

    In fact, the Bureaucrat, whose salary is paid with your tax dollars, did not even know his own bureaucracy's rules. You had to go see the man who carries a gun to prove you didn't steal it. Fortunately, he knew his job (better training?). But all your tax dollars simply added to your burden. And you got to pay for it, too. You got to pay the fees, and time out of your day to go see the man, then go back to DMV, and gas... etc. Is that what is meant by civilization? Were we uncivilized before there was a DMV, that didn't follow it's own rules, anyway? That's the irony to me.

    I understand that not all may believe the same politics. Reasonable men can, after all, disagree.

    Back to Chris' point, I don't know how to answer. I've never heard New Jersey as described as being in opposition to tax. I don't have the statistics for the whole country, but in all the states where I've lived (at last count seven... but I may have missed a couple), all have not required registration for a boat that did not have a propulsion system. Hang an outboard on the dinghy, pay the man. The Luders 16? Nope. Not until you bring an engine of some sort aboard. In Maryland, thinking I'd use an engine, I registered it. Seeing the build date, they didn't ask for a HIN, or a serial number. They needed to put some number on the form, so they used the sail number: 173. Now, I don't think Maryland ever met a tax they didn't like. I mean, they tax the rain there. But no HIN. They understood the boat was built in 1955. When I took the boat to Texas, they didn't even bother with a form. No engine yet, not sure when/if it will have one. They were happy to register the trailer though. I can promise you, I will NOT be taking the boat to New Jersey.

    And to think, we haven't even begun to discuss state registration for boats that are federally documented. There has to be a Libertarian lawyer someplace that wants to take up that exception to the commerce clause. Also interesting in that discussion: When I document a boat, they give me a documentation number, which seems to be more important in that case than the HIN. But the state wants the HIN, not the Official Number. But I digress.

    To Kevin's question: Again, I don't know. I suppose the same way I'd file the police report if someone stole my furniture, or the family silver, or my watch, or any one of a myriad of things that are not regulated for me. Heck, your TV set has a serial number, but is it registered? Can you prove you own it?

    From all this I conclude that the desire to be civilized leads me much closer to civilization than taxes. The Egyptians taxed. That's how they built the pyramids. I guess they were more civilized than the guys next door, but were they more civilized than the guys who were upset over a ha'penny per pound of tea? Were those guys less civilized than the numerous 20th Century examples I could give you where taxes were paid, but UNcivilized behavior was rampant (c.f. 1914-1950. And that is by no means an exhausted list). I mean, it's tax dollars that pay for atomic bombs, right?

    Yes, I know. Too close to the bilge, too close to being Scot-ed, and not socially acceptable to most on this forum. But I still see a sublime irony in the whole thing. I didn't say wrong... I just said ironic.
    Last edited by Don Z.; 04-16-2018 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Saw an auto-correct that changed the meaning to something that made no sense. It was poor grammar, too.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    I understand that not all may believe the same politics. Reasonable men can, after all, disagree.
    <sigh> If only they weren't so few and far between.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    To lighten up and return to topic: I have only ever bought one new boat and one new car. I have had some adventures, including buying a car that had been off the road for years, from a guy who bought it from the son of the deceased owner. There's a form for that. Buying a boat and trailer at a charity auction in Maryland and having NY pursue me for taxes and registration fees. The most interesting and amusing was buying a 1961 boat on a home-built trailer. Both were previously registered, but the DMV guy couldn't believe that the trailer had been issued VIN #1. It was on the reg, I asked him to run it. He did, and renewed VIN 1.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Not at all - there is no connection between being happy to pay taxes, and needing a small boat registered. Here in Australia we are well to the left of the USA, but a boat like a GP14 does not have to be registered anywhere. I believe it's the same in the UK, NZ and possibly Scandinavia and Germany.

    Perhaps it's the other way around - perhaps countries or states where there is more opposition to tax have more registration requirements? It would be interesting to see some state-by-state comparison.


    PS- I may as well add that when we take our un-taxed un-registered small craft to the water, we have almost completely unrestricted access to the waterways and the shoreline. Where we have our yacht there's (AFAIK) something like 2km of private shoreline in a bay with about 80-100km (very, very roughly) of shoreline. The rest is free for the public to access and almost all of it is free for small craft launching and use. You can launch an un-registered un-taxed small boat for free within a mile of our national parliament. Since we appear to have freer boating access than much of the USA (and no one who can treat us like the US Coast Guard treats boaties) it appears that there is no correlation between having a small government and having freedom to use the waterways.
    Yes, same in NZ. As long as the boat is not being used to carry passengers for a fee, no registration or documentation is required to own or use the boat. Trailers? Just rock into the local vehicle agency, pay a modest fee, they hand you a set of plates and a receipt and you bolt it on. Get your safety inspection done at the same place and you're away. You can renew the annual fee on line.
    Easy peasy.

    John Welsford
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Question: in the countries and states where no registration is required, what happens when your boat is stolen? Specifically, how would one prove ownership?

    Kevin


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Manufacturer's serial numbers for production boats, pics and description for custom craft.

    The only boats I've had stolen are tenders, and I'll accept issues with tracing them in exchange for not having the hassle of registering a 6 foot dinghy.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    a boat like a GP14 does not have to be registered anywhere. I believe it's the same in the UK, NZ and possibly Scandinavia and Germany
    Here in Sweden no boats require registration until you're considered to be a ship, which, from the top of my head, occurs when LOA > 12m and WOA > 4 m.
    If your leisure craft is bigger than that, you need all the merchant fleet paperwork including a tonnage certificate.

    There are a proposed change to the law stating that a ship be defined as LOA > 24m and smaller boats boats LOA > 15 m will have to registered but not needing the rest of the paperwork.

    No taxes on leisure craft, a small trailer just for launching the boat need no registration or taxes, but can only be towed in 30 km/h.
    A regular boat trailer is just like any other trailer, you buy it registered and that registration never changes during the lifespan of the trailer.
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: getting my boat investigated

    Manufacturer's serial numbers for production boats, pics and description for custom craft.
    The thief has these same things. So how would I prove it was mine?

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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