Questions about rebuild

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by gravesboatwrks, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. gravesboatwrks
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: Hilton Head Island

    gravesboatwrks New Member

    First things first, bought a fish and ski from craigslist. No title or registration/bill of sale.

    Let the thing sit and really dry out, she looked to be in bad shape. After a few months I have moved and now that she is dried out I popped the cap and just have a hull (deck, gunnels).

    Hull seems solid but I know that I will have to replace the deck and stringers. When replacing the stringers I plan on adding ribs up the gunnels to add structural strength. After glassing these in, I will replace the deck and add a cap around the inside of the hull and a deck/box for the bow.

    (Heck of a project, but I NEED it while in school and not working)

    The question here is this: This boat is a 1967 and therefore has no HIN. That being said, I also have no title/bill of sale. Can I classify this boat as a 'self/home-made' vessel since I have stripped it all the way down to the fiberglass shell and rebuilt from the ground up? Also, should I Document or register with DNR if attempting to go this route?

    Basically do I need a Title/Bill of Sale if it is 95% self made and or a 'Hull Completion'? Thoughts?

  2. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Your best plan is to contact the local jurisdiction that administers such matters, that way you have it direct from the horse's mouth, however, whenever I ring govt agencies regarding rules and regulations, getting answers that don't include "probably" or "should be OK" and the like, are hard to find !
  3. gravesboatwrks
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: Hilton Head Island

    gravesboatwrks New Member

    Thanks to modern day 'privacy laws' they can't just give me the name of the last known owner. They have to launch a 6 month-2 year investigation, instead of just giving me the last guys name that they can see on the computer screen infront of me. I love bureaucracy.

    That's why I'm trying to circumvent this whole thing.
  4. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    most states have some kind of process to replace a title if there is some kind of registration or serial number that can be identified with the vessel or vehicle. I suspect if there is no identifying information on the boat hull they would just register it as a "home-build", or in my state "special construction" listing you and the builder.

    I have several times bought "abandon" cars without titles and than filled out the application for a replacement title. In my state all it takes is an inspection to verify the VIN, they check for reports of it being stolen, issue me a 2 year provisional title that allows me to own, sell or dispose of the vehicle. After two years I get a clear title, presumably the previous owner has those two years to make a claim (and they would have to convince a judge that the claim in legitimate, which never happens). After than it is just like any other title. If you plan on keeping it the 2 year wait for a clear title is of little consequence. Some buyers hesitate to buy a vehicle with a provisional title, so it affects the resale value until it clear.
  5. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Call it a self build. It is pretty much a self build if you are going to do all that repair and replacement work. A boat that old is a ghost of christmas past anyway.

    Keep records and reciepts for material that you have purchased.The state will only be interested in whether you have paid the normal sales taxes for the materials you bought.

    I have resurected two such derelicts and had no trouble getting proper registrations. if you have a problem at the registration office, then you have encountered a clerk with a headache or possibly PMS. In that case leave before completing the transaction. Go back another day and hope for a different registration clerk or that the original one is feeling less militant on that day. In no case mention that you are rebuilding a derelict boat from more than 40 years past.
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You can't call it a self build or home made. It's a 1967 and this will be obvious to an inspector (which will occur in the process). Even though a stamped or embossed HIN doesn't appear on the transom, it still has a HIN, assuming it was once properly registered. If you try to "sell" the tax collector on a home built, you can get charged with fraud, if not worse. I've seen this happen to those looking to title an unknown boat. The reason they get pissy over this is it's an easy way to re-title a stolen boat. In fact, this will be one of the charges they'll pursu, if you try to pass it off as a home built. These guys aren't stupid and have seen this game before, so be careful what you wish for, as you might just find it.

    Each state is slightly different, but there are ways to get a title and registration. The first thing to do is find the old registration numbers on the bow. Even painted over or removed, they'll be there and this is the best and fastest way to get a title and registration, not to mention the legal way too.

    The first step is to contact your Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and get the form "Affidavit In Support for Application for Title for Watercraft/Outboard Motor". You'll be asked for a HIN or registration numbers, a bill of sale, etc. If you can't produce these, they'll start an investigation (including you), which is usually a month or two. They'll want some tax money and other "hoops" to be jumped through, but it's a process that you can do with some due diligence. By the time you're ready to go back in the water, you'll have the appropriate paper work, title, registration, etc. in hand.

    The safest way to obtain a new title is to put a lien on the boat. In most states, you simply run an ad in the paper for a month or so and if no one claims it, she's yours and you can apply as the new owner. Trust me, I've know a few that have tried the "I built it" route and you can get spanked.
  7. pauloman
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    Location: New Hampshire

    pauloman Epoxy Vendor

    depends upon the state. Years ago I built a plywood dinghy in Texas. To get it registered - home built - I needed to show receipts for the purchase of the plywood etc. - proving, I guess, I didn't steal it.
  8. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Monroe WA

    ondarvr Senior Member

    The rules vary a great deal from state to state, so you need to check locally. The controlling authority can be different from state to state too, here's its DOT, other places it's DNR or some another section of government.

    I've built and/or rebuilt several boats that I registered as home built and never had a problem. They want receipts to show you paid taxes, but I've never supplied any, nor has there every been an inspection. I gave them an estimate of the value and that's what they used. I always walk in ready to pay and get it done on the spot, if you call or go in and ask questions you frequently end up with reams of paper work and multiple inspections plus other fees.
  9. SaugatuckWB
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Location: Saugatuck,MI

    SaugatuckWB Junior Member

    My experience in Michigan is similar to all the advice here. On new boats I've built it is very simple. Just take receipts for materials that you paid sales tax on and those that you didn't. Pay the sales tax owed on materials you'd didn't already and fill out an application for title. No inspections required. On old boats w/o title it is more complex with bonds required at 3x the value of the boat and held by the state for 2 years. But, if you shop around for a helpful clerk sometimes you can get a new title w/o many problems. For an old Cal 21 sailboat I restored, I had no title, but I did have a bill of sale. The HIN was gone because the previous owner had replaced the plywood reinforcement on the transom and laminated a piece if plywood over where the HIN was supposed to be. I found that with multiple trips to the Sec of State I gained a little info each time. Eventually I found a clerk in a small town outside of Kalamazoo that told me the original HIN when she wasn't supposed to. HIN numbers used to be whatever the manufacturer assigned (376 in my case) but the that was changed some time in the 70's to a uniform system and new numbers were assigned when boats were sold. The new owner was supposed to then attach a new plate with that number on the boat. So with the old number in hand, I went to another office and they said I needed the new number. I said there wasn't a plate and suggested that the previous owner hadn't attached the plate. They went for that and gave me a new title. It showed that the boat was a 1984, even though it was made in the early 70's and Cal was out of business before 84. I assume that the new HIN was issued in 1984. With the new title I was able to register it and then sold it at the end of the summer, just telling the new owner that it was an early 70's boat that had a new HIN assigned in 1984.

    So you need the registration numbers and look for a HIN molded into the transom somewhere, it might be something simple like mine was(376). Failing that start shopping around and trying to get someone to give you the HIN. And keep trying for a sympathetic clerk.

    But, I'd ask about the process for titling a homemade boat first because it may be simpler if no inspections are required. You could also argue the case that it is a new boat with some old parts in it. You never know.

  10. SaugatuckWB
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Location: Saugatuck,MI

    SaugatuckWB Junior Member

    Also, you can do title searches in Michigan in the web. I needed a HIN for a boat I'd owned years ago when I applied for my OUPV license. with the registration number, I just had to pay $7 and they sent me the HIN. I got the registration number from an old photo. It seems that you didn't need to be the owner to get the info.

    And, I'd go back to the person you bought the boat from and get a bill of sale. Type something up with as much info as you have and have them sign it.
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