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Florida Vessel Owners: The Facts



Initial Registration And Titling

Definitions

Exemptions From Registration
Exemptions From Titling
Transfer Of Titled Ownership
Required Certificate Of Title
Homemade Vessel Title Applications
Numbering
Decals
Re-registration Period
Classification Of Vessels
Change Of Classification
Fees To Register Vessel
Commercial Fees
Hull Identification Numbers
Out-Of-State Reciprocity
Change Of Address Or Interest
Duplicate Certificates
In Case Of Accident


Initial Registration And Titling

Applications for vessel registration and title certificates are to be filed by the vessel owner with the county tax collector's office in the county where the vessel is located or in the county where the vessel owner resides.

Unless a vessel is exempt from titling, it must be titled at the same time it is registered. Both of these actions can be accomplished for vessels being initially registered/titled by completing Form HSMV 82040 (available from your local tax collector).

Along with the completed form, a Manufacturer's Statement of Origin, or its equivalent, must be submitted along with a registration fee based on the fee schedule. A $5.25 titling fee should also be provided with an additional fee of $1 to record each existing lien. There is an additional titling fee of $4 required for each initial certificate of title issued for a vessel previously registered outside of this state.

If the sales tax on the total purchase price of the vessel has not been previously paid, the vessel owner must pay the tax along with the fees listed above. If the sales tax has already been paid, then the vessel owner should furnish the county tax collector with a valid receipt indicating where the sales tax was paid and that it was paid in an amount equal to or greater than the applicable sales tax.

The registration certificate must be on board the vessel when in operation. The purchaser of a new or used vessel has 30 days to apply for registration and title. During this 30-day grace period, the owner is required to have aboard his vessel proof of date of purchase. Operation of an unregistered vessel after 30 days is a second-degree misdemeanor.

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Definitions

Canoe - A long, light, narrow vessel with both ends sharp and sides curved. A canoe-like vessel with a squared transom may not be excluded from the definition of a canoe provided the width of its transom is less than 45 percent of its beam or it has been so designated as a canoe by the United States Coast Guard.

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Commercial Vessel - Any vessel primarily engaged in the taking or landing of saltwater fish or saltwater products, freshwater fish or freshwater products from within and without the waters of this state for sale either to the consumer, retail dealer or wholesale dealer; or any vessel engaged in any activity wherein a fee is paid by the user, either directly or indirectly, to the owner, operator or custodian of the vessel.

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Documented Vessel - A vessel that has or is required to have a valid marine document as a vessel of the United States pursuant to Title 46, Part 67 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

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Floating Structure - A floating barge-like entity with or without accommodations built thereon, which is not primarily used as a means of transportation on water, but which serves purposes or provides services typically associated with a structure or other improvement to real property. The term "floating structure" includes, but is not limited to, entities used as residence, place of business, office, hotel or motel, restaurant or lounge, clubhouse, meeting facility, storage or parking facility, mining platform, dredge, dragline or similar facility or entity represented as such. Floating structures are expressly excluded from the definition of a vessel as provided in ss. 327.02(36), Florida Statutes. Incidental movement upon water shall not in and of itself preclude an entity from classification as a floating structure. A floating structure is expressly included as a type of tangible personal property. Questions as to whether or not a particular entity is considered a floating structure or a vessel should be directed to your local property appraiser.

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Homemade Vessel - Any vessel built after Oct. 31, 1972 for which a Federal Hull Identification Number is not required to be assigned to it by the manufacturer pursuant to federal law, or any vessel constructed or assembled prior to Nov. 1, 1972 by other than a licensed manufacturer for his own use or the use of a specific person. A vessel assembled from a manufactured hull is considered to be a homemade vessel, provided such a vessel is not required to have a hull identification number as required by the United States Coast Guard. In no event shall a rebuilt or reconstructed vessel be considered to be a "homemade" vessel.

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Manufactured Vessel - Any vessel built after Oct. 31, 1972 for which a Federal Hull Identification Number is required pursuant to federal law, or any vessel constructed or assembled prior to Nov. 1, 1972 by a duly licensed manufacturer.

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Vessel - Synonymous with boat as referenced in s.1.(b), Art. VII of the Florida Constitution and includes every description of watercraft, barge and airboat, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water. The term "floating structure" is expressly excluded from the definition of a vessel.

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Exemptions From Registration

Vessels exempt from registration include:

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Exemptions From Titling

Vessels exempt from titling include:

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Transfer Of Titled Ownership

If the titled ownership of an undocumented vessel is transferred from one individual to another, an application for transfer of ownership must be filed with the county tax collector within 30 days along with a service fee of $6.25.

The purchaser or transferee shall be charged an additional $10 fee if the title transfer application is not properly filed within this 30-day period. In making application for such transfer, the new owner must surrender to the county tax collector the last title document issued for the vessel, properly executed. In addition, the new owner must pay $1 for each lien to be recorded plus applicable sales tax on the total purchase price or proof of sales tax payment.

For specific instructions regarding the transfer of ownership based on probate, contractual default or prior federal documentation, contact your local county tax collector's office.

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Required Certificate Of Title

No person shall sell, assign or transfer a vessel titled by the State of Florida without delivering to the purchaser or transferee a valid certificate of title with an assignment on it showing transfer of title to the purchaser or transferee.

No person shall purchase or otherwise acquire a vessel required to be titled by the state without obtaining a certificate of title for it in his name. The purchaser or transferee shall file with the county tax collector of the county where the vessel is located or of the county where the purchaser or transferee resides an application for a title transfer within 30 days after a change in vessel ownership.

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Homemade Vessel Title Applications

An initial application for the registration and titling of a homemade vessel must be filed by the vessel owner with the county tax collector's office in the county where the vessel is located or in the county where the vessel owner resides.

In making application for an initial Florida title, the owner of a homemade vessel less than 16 feet in length shall submit to the county tax collector form HSMV 82040, along with a Statement of Builder and a $5.25 titling fee.

Upon receipt of the application, the department may elect to conduct a visual inspection of the vessel to insure that it meets the legal definition of a "homemade vessel."

The owner of a homemade vessel 16 feet or more in length must contact the nearest district office of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to arrange for a physical inspection of the vessel. At the time of inspection, the owner of the homemade vessel shall be required to submit an executed Statement of Builder or Builder's Certificate to the inspecting officer.

Upon satisfactory completion of the inspection, the inspecting officer provides the owner of the homemade vessel an executed Certificate of Inspection, DEP Form 20-126-FMP which must be submitted to the county tax collector along with HSMV 82040, the Statement of Builder or Builder's Certificate and a $5.25 titling fee. (Note: In addition, a registration fee based on the length of the vessel and any applicable sales tax must be paid.)

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Numbering

The Florida registration number issued to a vessel is permanent and remains with the vessel as long as it is operated or stored in this state, even though its ownership may change.

The registration number issued to an undocumented vessel is to be painted or permanently attached to both sides of the bow (forward half) of the vessel and must be in block letters and numerals at least three inches high. The registration number must read from left to right, must contrast in color with the hull and be maintained in legible condition.

The prefix and suffix must be separated from the numerals by a space equal to the width of the digits, i.e., FL 0001 AB.

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Decals

A decal signifying the year during which the registration certificate is valid will be issued with each registration certificate. The decal must be displayed on the port (left) side of the vessel. It may be placed immediately before or after the registration number. A decal issued to a federally documented vessel may be affixed to a window or windshield on the port side. Any decal for a previous year's registration must be removed from the vessel.

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Reregistration Period

For vessels owned by individuals, the registration period begins the first day of the birth month of the owner and ends the last day of the month immediately preceding the owner's birth month in the succedding year. If the vessle is registered in the name of more than one person, the birth month of the person whose name first appears on the registration shall be used to determine the registration period. For a vessel subject to this registration period. For a vessel subject to this registration period, the renewal period is the 30 day period ending at midnight on the vessel owner's date of birth.
For vessels owned by companies, corporations, governmental entities, and registrations issued to dealers and manufacturers, the registration period begins July 1 and ends June 30. The renewal period is the 30 day period beginning June 1.

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Classification Of Vessels

Any vessel that is required to be registered and is not operated for commercial purposes shall be classified and registered as a pleasure craft. Vessels that meet the definition of a commercial vessel must be registered as commercial.

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Change Of Classification

If the classification of a vessel changes from pleasure to commercial, or from commercial to pleasure, and the vessel has a current registration, the owner must complete form HSMV 87015 (available from county tax collector) with his certificate of registration along with a fee of $2.25 to the county tax collector.

If a non-exempted vessel owned by a non-resident or alien changes from pleasure to commercial, then an additional $50 commercial vessel fee is required.

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Fees To Register Vessel (Pleasure Or Commercial)

Class A-1 -- All vessels less than 12 feet in length, and motorized canoes $7.25

Class A-2 -- 12 feet or more and less than 16 feet in length $14.25

Class 1 -- 16 feet or more and less than 26 feet in length $22.25

Class 2 -- 26 feet or more and less than 40 feet in length $54.25

Class 3 -- 40 feet or more and less than 65 feet in length $86.25

Class 4 -- 65 feet or more and less than 110 feet in length $102.25

Class 5 -- 110 feet or more in length $126.25

Dealer Classification $20.25

(The above fees include a $2.25 service fee and $.50 FRVIS fee.)

NOTE: Some counties have elected to impose an additional county registration fee; therefore, before remitting money by mail, you should contact the tax collector's office in which you will be registering your vessel for the exact fee amount.

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Commercial Fees

An additional $50 commercial vessel license fee is required of all non-residents or aliens. A Saltwater Products License is required of all individuals who sell saltwater products and/or use certain gear in Florida. The minimum cost of a license is $50 for residents, $200 for non-residents and $300 for aliens.

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Hull Identification Numbers

No person shall operate on the waters of this state a vessel, unless the vessel displays the assigned hull identification number. A hull identification number is unique to the vessel and allows its positive identification.

The hull identification number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed or otherwise permanently affixed to the outboard side of the transom or, if there is no transom, to the outermost starboard side at the end of the hull that bears the rudder or other steering mechanism, above the waterline of the vessel in such a way that alteration, removal or replacement would be obvious and evident.

The characters of the hull identification number must be of not less than 12 in number and no less than one-fourth inch in height. Vessels for which the manufacturer has provided no hull identification number and homemade vessels constructed or assembled by the owner shall be assigned a hull identification number by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Any questions regarding the hull identification number on a vessel should be directed to the nearest Fish and Wildlife office or to the Bureau of Vessel Titles and Registrations, 2900 Apalachee Parkway, Rm. C214 MS 74, Tallahassee, FL 32399. Telephone (850) 488-1195.

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Out-Of-State Reciprocity

Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting vessel owners by other states for a period of 90 days.

An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time.

Out-of-state vessel owners who plan to remain permanently in Florida must notify the county tax collector. He/she will receive a Florida registration certificate number to replace those issued by the state of former residence. The out-of-state registration and certificate of title, if issued, must be surrendered to the tax collector.

Out-of-state registration certificates and numbers for vessels owned by military personnel on active duty in Florida are valid in Florida until the expiration date, after which the vessels must be registered by the state of Florida.

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Change Of Address Or Interest

The destruction or abandonment of a registered vessel must be reported by the vessel owner to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 30 days. The vessel owner also must notify the department within 30 days of any transfer of interest in a vessel.

The owner of a registered vessel who takes up residence at an address differing from that shown on his registration certificate must advise the department or the county tax collector of the county in which the certificate was issued, of his new address within 30 days.

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Duplicate Certificates

If a valid Florida certificate of registration is lost, destroyed or mutilated, a duplicate can be obtained for a service fee of $2.25 from the county tax collector. If certificate of title is lost, destroyed or mutilated, the titled owner can obtain a duplicate by submitting a completed HSMV 82101 form and $6 fee to the county tax collector. For those counties issuing expedited duplicates and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offices, the fee is $11.

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In Case Of Accident

A person involved in an accident of a vessel, including capsizing, sinking, personal injury or property damage of $500 or more to another vessel or dock, must report the accident to the Fish and Wildlife Office immediately or as soon as possible. Under law, an accident report is confidential and without prejudice to the individual filing the report.


* Rules & Fees subject to change. Please consult the Florida Fish and Wildlife Office



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