Don't forget your vessel renewals

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Jan 13, 2005
If your boat is registered with the state, you should receive a renewal in the mail (at least that's the case in California). If your boat is documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, you will also get a renewal in the mail (vessels are usually either documented or registered, but not both). All that's needed for the USCG renewal is to sign and date the form they send you, verifying that nothing has changed. If you don't receive the USCG renewal, make sure you call or it could turn out to be an expensive omission.

A few years ago we were on a trip down the coast and were asked for our documentation by a harbor office. When I produced it, the lady said "do you know it's out of date?" Gulp, I hadn't noticed. When I turned it over, there was a statement that each day without valid documentation is considered a separate occurrence and the fine is $10,000 for each occurrence. I was on the phone at 6.00am PT (9.00am at the USCG documentation office in West Virginia).

A helpful lady did some research and found that they had accidentally removed our boat from their database instead of another boat and that was why we hadn't received our renewal notice. The lady immediately reinstated our vessel, issued new documentation and, since it was their error, waived any fees or fines. Phew! Let's see, $10,000 x the number of days = a big ouch!

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