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Registration, was Re: Sailing boats must have names

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Posted by Alex Forbes on November 25, 2016 at 08:50:59 user Pitsligo.

In Reply to: Re: Sailing boats must have names posted by Jock on November 23, 2016 at 06:03:18:

"All the craft proudly displayed their names, none had their registration numbers marked on the hull."

What's the law over there, for what needs visible numbers?

Here in the US, what boats are and aren't required to be registered varies from state to state: in Maine, my 19' sloop wasn't required to be registered because she doesn't have an engine (no engine, no reg, no size limit); in Washington State, anything over 16' on deck is required to be registered whether it has an engine or not. (Wasn't THAT a mess, sorting it out when I moved from one to the other!) Then there are nationally registered "documented" vessels, above five tons net, that must display a name and port of hail, but don't display any numbers. And commercial fishing vessels must display their fishing license as well as any registration numbers, but that's different. But if a boat is required to be registered, you're in serious trouble if you don't display your bow numbers and a valid annual "tag" that shows you've paid your registration fee.

For reference, here's my sloop's version: The first two letters are the state (WN is Washington; adding to the confusion, they don't necessarily correspond to the state's general useage two-letter abbreviation, where Washington is WA); then a sequence of numbers and letters unique to the boat (in Washington, four numbers and two letters; in Maine, typically four numbers and one letter); then the self-adhesive, reflective state "tag" that indicates your wallet has been duly emptied into the state coffers.

Should Goblin have displayed registration numbers? Sir Garnet? The Beckfoot launch? Teasel? Swallow and Amazon? Sometimes I see photos of cutters or barges and they have big numbers or letters on their sails, and sometimes numbers on their hulls --and I haven't any idea what I'm looking at.

How did things work then, and how do they work now?


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