Title & Registration in MI?

Discussion in 'Sailing Talk' started by antsy332, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. antsy332

    antsy332 New Member

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    Do you need to title or register a Laser in Michigan. Looking to buy and want to know law. DMV site is a bit vague on boats under 16 ft. - thanks
  2. tag

    tag my2fish

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    I register my Sunfish in Michigan - it costs $9 for 3 years. I can't remember, but I think they made a title up for it since the previous owner had lost it.... not sure what that cost, but it was a one-time fee.
  3. Repete

    Repete Member

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    Ditto on registration for all water craft twelve feet and longer here in Michigan ( if I remember correctly). Yes nine clams gets you three years. I sail with other Sunfish without registration or numbers on the hull. They have never been stopped by a water sheriff and neither have I. I have my fish registered with the DMV and proudly display my hull numbers too. I had to have a new registration made, but forget the cost, very minimal. I think it was thirty five dollars or was that my trailer registration. I will have to check my copy in the glovebox of my truck.
  4. 154537

    154537 Member

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    nope, and dont do it. you do a dis-service to other laser sailors if you register your laser because it makes cops think that theyre required to be registered.

    i actually got pulled over in my laser on lake charlevoix by a sheriff. dude put on the blue light and everything. i tried to find a creek to duck down that he couldnt drive his skiff down, but no luck... the only reason i got pulled over was because the previous owner had registered it and it was expired. later, i removed all the old MC numbers and it was never a problem again...
  5. Repete

    Repete Member

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    Apologies all around. I was toggling between forums. Sunfish vs. Laser. My reply was Sunfish specific. I thought I was on the Sunfish Forum replying after being interupted with a phone call. Damn, thinking about sailing and try to work at work has side effects :rolleyes:. Cheers.
  6. tag

    tag my2fish

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    I don't believe this is correct.

    Per Michigan.gov's site:
    Also the same is shown here.

    Slightly different version here
    And, in the section referenced for exceptions (section 80123):
    But, I don't think a small sailboat qualifies for the exception list, and the other links are pretty clear when they say "non-motorized sailboat."

    Just my 2 cents... $3/yr is pretty cheap insurance to avoid a ticket for expired (or missing) tags.

    tag
  7. antsy332

    antsy332 New Member

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    Thanks all!
  8. pez

    pez Member

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    Odd, I live in Indiana but sail in Michigan... I'm not sure what the rules are, but the Indiana BMV told me I didnt have to register the boat or get a title...

    In all honesty tho, the opinion of an Indiana BMV clerk as to the registration requirements for non-motorized watercraft is likely not definitive.
  9. tag

    tag my2fish

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    pez, that is VERY interesting. I lived in Southern Indiana for a few years, and I did have to register my sailboat (I had just my Super Porpoise at the time). I think it was almost $35 to $40 a year, too!

    tag
  10. torrid

    torrid Mongo Only Pawn In Game Of Laser

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    Don't know anything about MI. However my general experience is if you have on a life jacket, dont' have a motor, and aren't doing something really stupid, the water cops pretty much leave you alone. They have more important problems to worry about than some guy putting around on a Laser.
  11. freeAgent

    freeAgent Member

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    I've sailed numerous unregistered 1/2-person sailboats around Port Huron for over a decade and never had trouble. The sheriff has clearly seen me out there and does not bother me or any of the other people in a similar situation.
  12. xerexes

    xerexes New Member

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    Re: Title & Registration in MI - ANSWERED!!

    Well, I can give a rather complete (if wordy) answer to this question...

    I have a Laser, and sail on a lake near Pontiac, MI. There's actually a group of us, and none of the three Laser's sailing on a particular Sunday were registered when the cops pulled each of us over in the middle of a race and gave us all tickets for not being registered.

    Were gven the choice of paying a fine (I don't recall the exact fee, but it was something like $150, plus the purchase tax, plus getting registered). One of us paid the fine straight off, one us waited a few weeks to see if it wold be forgetten (and then paid up), and I went to court...

    Like the OP, I saw non-clear answers on the SoS website. There was one part that said that unpowered boats under 15" did not to be registered and another part that said they if they are for rent. I printed out the page from the SoS website and went along to the SoS store for clarification...

    "This page from the SoS website say I do not need to be registered, could you confirm". There was much scratching of heads, and a bunch of the desk people at the SoS poured over some books in the back. Eventually they came back and told me "what you have is not a boat..... It is a sailboat." I asked for clarification since to the layman it certainly looked like a boat - it has a pointy end, and blunt end, and floats around the lake in "a very boat like fashion". They got quite grumpy with me, and said goodbye.

    Before going to the SoS I had a lawyer friend pull the actual page from the MI lawbooks, and according to the letter of law, sailboats regardless of size (including Opti's) need to be registered. So I got registered, but I was NOT going to pay the fine.

    So court day arrived. My director at the office was enjoying all this, so I didn't have to take the day off. The officer who booked me was there, came up to me and basically told me how to pay. I told him I was not going to, showed him my evidence, and said I could wait. The court reception emptied eventually, leaving me, a couple of others and the officer who booked me. He came up and said he really needed to be elsewhere, and would I accept a reduced fine of $50 "to leave". I told him no, I was looking forward to seeing the judge. He said that could take I while, and I told him (smiling) I was quite happy with that. Another 30mins passed, and he came back and offered to drop the fine completely if I would just go away. I graciously accepted :)

    And that's that. According to the law - Laser's (and Sunfish, and Opti's) in Michigan NEED to be registered.
  13. freeAgent

    freeAgent Member

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    Re: Title & Registration in MI - ANSWERED!!

    That's good to know, though somewhat annoying. I went and found the actual law here and it does seem to imply that a boat powered by the wind other than a sailboard must be registered. I was thinking you could make the argument that a Laser is powered by hand since you have to hold a line to make it go anywhere, but it also specifies that the only hand power that counts is an oar or paddle.

    Maybe you should just stand up on it, hold the boom with your hand, and call it a sailboard...
  14. antsy332

    antsy332 New Member

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    Thanks Xerexes.
    Real reason for my question was that I was purchasing a boat in MI and exporting it to Canada. I spoke to customs about a week in advance to understand what was required export a Laser. Recieved the standard Title and/or Registration, Bill of Sale, Copy of On-line add (optional but helpfull). I advised that the boat was not registered or titled and he said this was a bit suspisious and that I should be carefull regarding such a purchase. I could understand this for a large sail or motor boat due to the much higher $ at risk and assumed this was a standard answer. He also said I should bring in any info I find on line regarding MI registration of such boats. I did print all of the items I found incl the exemptions which I still found a bit unclear but was hoping they would also.
    When the day came I went an picked up the boat in MI, got the bill of sale signed and particulars completed and headed for the border crossing. I declared the boat to ensure all was legal and was prepard to pay our insane Cnd GST and PST (8% & 5%) - Thank god the boats are made in N.A. so I avoided any duty.
    Just my luck, I walk in and the only open Customs official is the guy I spoke with earlier in the week that wanted all of the documentation and gave the warnings. I walked up and gave him the Bill of Sale and asked for my punishment (payment). Without skipping a beat he asked for the Title and/or Registraton. I told him that non-motorized boats under 16 ft were not registered or titled in MI. He asked if I was the guy from earlier in the week, which I said yes and told him I checked the web sites on this. I actually has a copy of the MI info in my file with the 16ft line and non-motorized sections highlighted. Worst case I would let him try to figure it out. I also had the Cdn rules which do not require a Laser to be registered or titled and the language is much clearer (1 point for Cnd, still take the lower taxes though).
    Anyway, the Customs official says your lucky you got me, I remember your story from earlier in the week and began to process my payment without further issue having to show him the print outs. He did say that I should have gotten the Bill of Sale notorized at a bank. I showed him that I paid with a US Money Order, picked up at the Post office for $1.50 (very reasonable) and he was ok with that as it had both my and the seller's info on it.
    The boat is now in Canada and will be put to good use by myself and my two pre-teen boys.
    Thanks for everyone's posts. Even knowing the true letter of the law, I would have still done the same thing and see what would have happened. I had options to hold the boat should I not be allowed to bring it accross that day.

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