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Thread: Documented Vessel vs. regular registration?

  1. #1
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default Documented Vessel vs. regular registration?

    Does anyone know why the bank would want to register our boat as a documented vessel?
    It's a 7 year old 27' Wooldridge pilot house (bought from Sportdrifter). (It is right at 7 gross tonnage so it is in the grey area, under 5 tonnage=no need, over 10 tonnage=mandatory)
    From what I gather, it costs $450 extra at closing on the loan.
    Is there any advantages or disadvantages to doing so, both for the bank and myself as the owner?
    Are other pleasurecraft boats that you guys run registered federally as a documented vassel?
    Am I required to do this or is it my choice? Bank really wants it documented....there must be a reason and I'm pretty sure it not cause they are looking out for my best intrest, just a gut feeling.
    Thanks,
    BK

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Title. A Documented vessel has a Title, where as a registered boat simply has a registration - if in the event you were to default on your loan
    the bank already has possession of the title as collateral, and it is much simpler to reposses. To underwrite a loan on a registered vessel the bank has to do some kind of paper work at certain expense to create paper work making it possible for them to repo the boat if needed. Some banks are much easier to deal with in this matter than others. It's been some time since I obtained a boat loan and I've forgotten what the terms and technicalities are that were involved in that process. but the key word to your question is TITLE.

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    Here's what BoatUS says on their website:

    How it benefits boat owners:
    Provides Recordation of Ownership and Liens
    Aids in Theft Recovery
    Eliminates State Numbers on Hull
    Buyers Prefer Documented Boats
    Required by Most Marine Lenders

    I read this to benefit lenders more than boat owners. One of my previous boats was documented but it was 38' so reasonable. It was a pain. Find another lender. A 7 year old 27 Woolridge shouldn't need documentation.

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    AlaskaUSA? They wanted us to document our 26-ft Hewescraft, saying it was mandatory for all boats over 25-ft. We argued the fact with them, and they finally backed off. We never did have it documented, mainly because we just didn't see the need to pay an extra $650 to go through the documentation process.

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, our current 28-footer is financed through CU-1 and it's not documented. CU-1 didn't try to make us get it documented, either.

    CU-1 is SO MUCH EASIER to work with than AlaskaUSA.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in Alaska View Post
    For what it's worth, our current 28-footer is financed through CU-1 and it's not documented. CU-1 didn't try to make us get it documented, either.

    CU-1 is SO MUCH EASIER to work with than AlaskaUSA.
    I was just going to mention this as well. We've used CU-1 for our past two boat loans and it's been an easy and cheaper process then Alaska USA. I'd highly recommend them and there's no need to document the vessel.

    Congrats bkmail on the new boat. Is that the "John Deere" boat you ended up with?

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    Member Soundfisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in Alaska View Post
    For what it's worth, our current 28-footer is financed through CU-1 and it's not documented. CU-1 didn't try to make us get it documented, either.

    CU-1 is SO MUCH EASIER to work with than AlaskaUSA.
    The exact same thing happened with me a 3 years ago at AKUSA CU. I have banked with them for 30 years, excellent credit, and multiple loans paid off early and they were forcing me to pay to have it documented. It was for my 27 Seasport Pilothouse. I was not happy. I went to CU1 and signed up as a member, and the next day I had my money. Also a better rate. I was so pissed that I was going to move all my money out of AKUSA and into CU1. Time went by and I cooled off, but I still have nothing but good words for CU1. Boats paid for now, but my kids have accounts there, and they are always friendly when we do go in. Check them out and save your $650.

  8. #8

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    I went thru this with AKUSA on a 24' Seasport. They finally agreed that it didn't need to be documented. I too have had an account with them for years and I have to say that they were the most disorganized group on this deal. At the beginning I asked for a list of EVERYTHING that I needed (since I was buying out of state). That list changed about four times during the process. As I told them at the end of the process, I don't mind providing what you need but next time can you at least give me the ENTIRE requirements up front....
    Ruby at the end of a good day.

  9. #9
    Member DMan's Avatar
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    CU1 was so easy to work with and had way better rates so I moved all my loans over to them. House, boat, and autos...

    I wanted mine documented so that wasn't an issue either way but they handled all the paperwork in a 15 minute meeting.
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Congrats on the new boat. I'm glad it worked out for you both. You definitly got a nice one. I hope to see ya out on the water.

    AND WHERE ARE THE PICTURES????????
    27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriIron View Post
    At the beginning I asked for a list of EVERYTHING that I needed (since I was buying out of state). That list changed about four times during the process.
    Yep, they did the same thing to us, and the boating partner I bought the boat with WORKED at AlaskaUSA. As an employee he got the run around!

    CU-1 has been absolutely awesome when it comes to our consumer loans. They are quick, painless, and usually offer better rates.

  12. #12
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default You guys ROCK!!

    A huge "Thanks" to all of you....currently working the loan through Credit Union One due to all the positive feedback here.
    BK

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Documenting your boat does not give the bank a title but it does show the bank lien on the boat... mine is documented as my bank insisted and it was a pain in the rear. Not hard to do and not expensive, but when the bank screws up the paperwork and makes your home port Eagle River... well you have to file correction paperwork...and wait. Its all good now, even though I still have my AK registration numbers on the boat as they are still current.

    Congrats on the new boat.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    Member NewMoon's Avatar
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    My totally recreational 26-footer is federally documented. Sent in the paperwork myself, after the boat builder had filled out the form that calculated tonnage. Mine was just over 5 net tons, the minimum size that can be documented. The cost was minimal 15 years ago. Current fees are less than $200, if I understand correctly from a quick perusal. Annual renewal is no cost. My understanding is that unless you have complications establishing clear ownership, the documentation services provided by others can be mostly a ripoff.

    Here's a link:

    http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/nvdc/nvdcinstr.asp

    Federal documentation is the equivalent of a title - no state title needed. I still have to register it with the state (who wants me to pay state property tax), but I don't have to display state numbers, just the annual sticker. I do have to display vessel name and home port, and also the federal doc number on some interior structure where it is not easily removed. My number is lettered on the inside of the motor box, and covered with a few coats of clear resin.
    Richard Cook
    New Moon (Bounty 257)
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    cu1 all the way..better rates & better service.....banks may want you to document if your vessel is over 26' & value is up there

  16. #16
    Member kaisersosei's Avatar
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    Ditto on CU1. Easiest to deal with. Went through the same thing as everyone else here. Got better rates too.

  17. #17
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    As stated, the State of Alaska does not issue titles for boats and motors. Thus it becomes more difficult for a bank to repossess the boat. However, if it is documented, then the bank can repossess it anywhere in the world and have the Coast Guard or other federal agents impound it. By requiring you to document it the bank is safeguarding it self interests, plain and simple.

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaisersosei View Post
    Ditto on CU1. Easiest to deal with. Went through the same thing as everyone else here. Got better rates too.
    If you already a CU1 member, you can "buy down" your interest rate with points that you earn through using them. We refinanced last spring and locked in at 2%. Hard to beat that.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  19. #19
    Member greg01alaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriIron View Post
    I went thru this with AKUSA on a 24' Seasport. They finally agreed that it didn't need to be documented. I too have had an account with them for years and I have to say that they were the most disorganized group on this deal. At the beginning I asked for a list of EVERYTHING that I needed (since I was buying out of state). That list changed about four times during the process. As I told them at the end of the process, I don't mind providing what you need but next time can you at least give me the ENTIRE requirements up front....
    Went thru the exact same thing when financing our "new" 12 year old boat. Similar situation with the purchase being out of state. I was very disappointed with the lack of professionalism that was exhibited by the same financial institution. Had a similar conversation with those folks about the run around with the requirements for a vessel mortgage. Started off as a boat loan and progressed to the vessel mortgage as the appraiser completed their forms. Had to send documents to the boat appraiser 3 times as the information from the bank was incomplete/incorrect. Increased the cost of the appraisal. Don't mind the documentation part, seems like added insurance and potential plus when considering resale.
    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away."

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewMoon View Post
    Federal documentation is the equivalent of a title - no state title needed. I still have to register it with the state (who wants me to pay state property tax), but I don't have to display state numbers, just the annual sticker.
    There is some great and useful info in this thread, but I respectfully suggest that the above statement may not be 100% accurate. Or I could be wrong, in which case I apologize.

    This is from the Alaska boat registration FAQ which can be found here. I direct your attention to the last line:
    Exempt under State Law from Registration in Alaska:

    • A boat with a valid registration from another state or country that is not operated more than 90 consecutive days in Alaska.
    • A boat owned by the United States or an entity or political subdivision of the United States, or a boat owned by a state or an entity or political subdivision of a state.
      NOTE
      : Under FEDERAL law, recreational - type public vessels of the United States must be state registered. [3 3 CFR Subpart B Sec. 172.11(b)]
    • Non-powered boats. (Effective 2/10/05: Sport Fishing Guides are required to register their non-powered boats.)


    • A documented boat. The documentation may be either from the U.S. or a foreign country.


    My interpretation is that USCG-documented vessels do not require any sort of state registration, nor are they subject to state or local personal property taxes (I could be wrong on the tax part). Once a boat is registered, the feds will mail you a form every year to make sure the contact information and ownership is still correct. Just mail or fax it back, and a few days later the new federal registration certificate shows up in the mail. There is not even a small fee; it's completely free once the paperwork has been set up the first time. If you're going to own the boat for awhile, the saving on biennial registration charges should more than offset the initial setup cost.

    Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, or even a licensed captain. Seek your own counsel.
    "Money may not buy you happiness, but it will buy you a big enough boat that you can get close enough for a look."

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