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NJ Sunfish Registration

Ghost

New Member
I acquired two sailboats this year. I bought a Mutineer 15 and I rescued a sunfish from a backyard (currently drying out about 30 years of osmosis). When I went to the DMV, I was charged 12$ to register the Mutineer and 60$ (yes 60$) for the DMV to reprint the title. I had a title for the Mutineer with me. I was astonished, 60$ to hit print on the computer.

Now for the fish. Since it is a pre hull id # model I brought a notorized bill of sale (it was actually free, try to explain that to a dmv worker). The dmv gave informed me I have to go to the NJ State Marine Police. Closest to me is West Trenton. They gave me the address, (a PO box - worthless) and a phone number. I called and was told I have to trailer my sunfish to them and they will run the serial number and see if it's stolen. I was told to bring a notorized letter from the seller stating the transaction was legal and the boat is not stolen. I am currently in the process of retrofitting a trailer for the fish and registering it so I can make the journey to Trenton, which is never fun.

Here's my issue, and I could be mistaken. I have a sailfish. According to everything I read, I don't need to register the sailfish because technically it's a sailboard. I've haven't registered it ever and never had a problem at the local boat ramps. The sunfish needs annual registration because it has a cockpit and is greater than 12 feet. Does anyone else think it's ridiculous that we have to register sunfish? Does anyone know if there's any groups out there trying to get small dingy type boats greater than 12 feet to be exempt from registration.

I ask because I'm sure there are people that would be more willing to rescue some of these forgotten backyard Sunfish if they could sail them without going through all this hassle. Plus I know it's going to be 12$ to register plus 60$ to print a title. I know 72$ isn't that much, about a tank of gas, but it feels like NJ is pickpocketing you everywhere you turn.
 

Alan Glos

Active Member
Oddly, New York State ( where they tax everything) has no requirement to number, title or register an
unpowered sailboat regardless of size. Given NYS's financial woes, I wonder how long this situation will last.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

Geophizz

Member
Mass is the same as NY. There are no registration requirements (and therefore no excise taxes) at all for unpowered watercraft. Come sail it up here!
 

203

Very Senior Member
NC is the same, we don't register/mark anything under 14 feet.

But you live in NJ. I think California requires registration of your boat as well, if that makes you feel any better.............

(Who's absolutely amazed that Taxxachusetts and NY don't require it either (c: )
 

Ghost

New Member
I just re-read NJ boat registration requirements. (http://www.state.nj.us/mc/Vehicle/VehicleBoats.htm.) The following is the 4th paragraph:

Boats and marine equipment that do not have to be registered
  • Those not based in New Jersey or operating for less than 180 consecutive days
  • Foreign vessels
  • U.S. public vessels
  • Ship's lifeboats
  • Non-motorized vessels used exclusively on small lakes and ponds on private property
  • Racing vessels with New Jersey State Marine Police permit
  • Non-motorized inflatable devices, surfboards, racing shells, dinghies, canoes and kayaks
  • Non-motorized vessels less than 12 feet in length
So now I'm confused. According to Wikipedia (The Sunfish sailboat is a personal size, beach launched sailing dinghy utilizing a pontoon type hull carrying a lateen sail mounted to an un-stayed mast).
NJ says dinghies are exempt, and technically a Sunfish is a dinghy but every Sunfish I see in NJ has a registration sticker.
 

OldNJLaser

Member
When we sailed in the Barnegat Bay years ago no registration was required if your racing within a event, but joy sailing its needed. We had many boats in the club that were strictly racing boats and never had numbers. All the day sailors had them.

My sunfish was registered. My Laser was never registered. Race or day sailing, I was never bothered.
 

lava

Member
I had the same type of thing, I called the south Carolina DMV and was told I didn't need to register my SF. 3 years later a SC DNR officer (department of natural resources) told me I couldn't sail again until I paid $35.00 for a onetime sticker (along with a $40.00 late fee). Seems to me The DMV should have told me what was needed to legally get on the lake.
 

Melanie Sunfish

New Member
I'm a first time sunfish buyer - found a great deal on Craig's list - boat & trailer.
Seller hands me the boat registration certificate and delivers to the boat to my house. When I tried to get it registered & get plates for the trailer, I learn that I can't do anything without a title. Seller hasn't returned my calls.
What are my rights here? DMV made it sound like I should just junk it...
Anyone in MA or NY want to trade for a sunfish with a title?
 

lava

Member
I had kind of the same problem,my dad gave me the boat for xmas, when I looked asked him for the title (3 years later) he couldn't find it. I was told by the SC DNR that they could do a "stolen title or stolen boat check" It would take a lot longer but it could be done. I was lucky and found the title before we had to do this. Maybe NJ has something comparable. Good Luck
 

Ghost

New Member
I'm a first time sunfish buyer - found a great deal on Craig's list - boat & trailer.
Seller hands me the boat registration certificate and delivers to the boat to my house. When I tried to get it registered & get plates for the trailer, I learn that I can't do anything without a title. Seller hasn't returned my calls.
What are my rights here? DMV made it sound like I should just junk it...
Anyone in MA or NY want to trade for a sunfish with a title?
Here is what I did. I rescued a SF that was made in 1971. There was no title or hull ID # (HIN). After much fact finding, I brought the hull to the NJ State Police Marine substation at Lake Hopatcong. There are several marine substations but make sure you call and make an appointment. The Trooper inspected the hill and ran the serial number (located forward of the cockpit) to see if it was stolen. I also was told to bring a notarized letter detailing how I got the boat, the manufacturer, serial number and who gave/sold it to me. They made a copy of the letter and my NJ drivers license then gave me a form to take to the DMV so they could assign me a title and a HIN. At the DMV, I had to explain to the worker that my boat DID need to be registered and titled (they know very little about marine stuff). Finally, an older lady, who knew what to do got me fixed up. I had to pay 60$ for a title. They gave me a metallic sticker to place on the stern with a newly assign HIN. I then registered the boat (12$) and received a registration card, two bow stickers and was assigned bow numbers. It took me a few hours from start to finish but now I have a title, registration and HIN for my 1971 Sunfish that a few weeks ago was laying in the woods behind a house. I dried it out (from an estimated 300 lbs..thanks to the forums here) and it sails like a dream.

I just bought another one yesterday. I'm selling the first one to my brother because he is learning to sail, very quickly, and what's better than sailing alone? Sailing with someone else, trying to out maneuver and out run them (it's a brother thing).

I hope this helps. If you in NJ, the previous registration and the notarized bill of sale should be all you need.
 

leob1

Member
I live in NJ, LAST year I got a Super porpoise, for free, from somebody on Graigslist. It has all the parts, it had some hull damage, and of course was way over weight. So I let it dry out, and just started to repair the hull damage, and plan on getting it in the water next summer. The person I got it from had no title or past registration, however it does have registration numbers on the hull. Can you tell me the format of the letter and bill of sale you presented to the police? Did they contact the person you got it from? Where in NJ are you? I'm in Hillsborough, and I don't like going to Trenton either.

Thanks
 

Ghost

New Member
I live in NJ, LAST year I got a Super porpoise, for free, from somebody on Graigslist. It has all the parts, it had some hull damage, and of course was way over weight. So I let it dry out, and just started to repair the hull damage, and plan on getting it in the water next summer. The person I got it from had no title or past registration, however it does have registration numbers on the hull. Can you tell me the format of the letter and bill of sale you presented to the police? Did they contact the person you got it from? Where in NJ are you? I'm in Hillsborough, and I don't like going to Trenton either.

Thanks
I'm near Flemington. What you need is a notarized bill of sale with make, model, length and sale price (also hull ID# if it has one). If the boat has a title somewhere (meaning the previous owner titled and registered it) the DMV is going to tell you to obtain the title from last seller. I learned this year, with my second SF, that when you buy a boat, the seller is responsible for handing over a valid title. With my second SF, the previous owner was selling it for his son and had no title. I convinced the dmv worker to let me register it as a dinghy without titling it. Not sure how or why they let me do that but they did.
 

DougR

New Member
Here's an update a Decade later!!! This knowledge was learned by torturous dealings with the NJ DMV.

Get a very detailed Bill of Sale from the Seller his name, address, DL# etc. have him say whatever year the Sunfish is this is a xxxx Sunfish Sailboat that measures 13'9". List the Hull ID #, Have the BOS list your info too. Have the Seller state that they are the rightful owner and they are selling it to you for $X,XXX. Be honest don't cheat the tax man!
Go get this notarized.

Now call up the Marine Police, they will transfer you to the Carteret Station. Politely ask for a HIN Investigation and schedule an inspection look up online which is the closest station to help out the dispatcher ahead of time. On inspection day drive it down and present your clean sailboat with the rudder, board, sail etc. Along with your nice notarized BOS. The Trooper will do his/her thing and then issue you the form that clears the boat for Title and Registration.

Now write up a letter on your own letterhead that states your name, DL# DOB and say something like I Popeye the Sailor with the ID info am the owner of this Sunfish Sailboat HIN#xxxxxxxx It has been inspected by the MP by Tpr. Olive Oil #1234 and approved to be registered and titled to me Popeye the Sailor. Now go get this notarized.

Go to the DMV fill out the Registration form and the Universal Title App. Bring your BOS, your Statement of Ownership, the HIN Inspection Report the 6 points of ID they require, and you will walk out with Title and Registration.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
I live in Florida. None of this government garbage goes on. No reg needed on unpower boat. No registration or numbers.
So here is my lessons learned...Get out of NJ.... Florida has been great all my life.. and if you come to Florida you are welcome but, "don't New Jersey my Florida"
Have a great sailing day!!!
 

Mashmaster

Active Member
In Texas, vessels over 14' need to be registered. So, I am sure that they came up with that length because of Sunfish.

Let's not get into state conflicts, unless you want to mess with the great state of Texas. :)
 

DougR

New Member
And NJ probably came up with 12' as the cutoff because of the Sunfish as well ! I see why so many people just give up and don't enter the Great Garden State Registration Challenge. They expect people to have paperwork from literally 50 years ago for a cartop sailboat.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
I got no problem with you texas guys mash. Yall are pretty close to us in the way things operate. Except for those California folks that invaded austin. Lol

Ok I better stop it. I'm a SA.
 
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Mashmaster

Active Member
I got no problem with you texas guy mash. Yall are pretty close to us in the way things operate. Except for those California folks that invaded austin. Lol

Ok I better stop it. I'm a SA.
The point is....this is a forum a out sailing not States. Every state has pros and cons. Which have nothing to do with sailing.
 

Seaotter5

Active Member
In PA non-powered boats don’t need to be titled or registered . Most of the ramps are owned by the Fish and Boat administration, and you do need to purchase an on-line sticker if you want to use their ramps or sail on one of the state park lakes. The sticker is easy to get, and the cost is reasonable.
 

shorefun

Active Member
I live in NJ and have been involved with antique cars. I am familiar with various MVC processes.

I am kind of surprised about the take the boat to get the HIN verified and having the notarized paperwork.

According to what I know from motor vehicle titles and the website you must do a 12 step program to get a title when the vehicle is purchase in state with no title.

FWIW I estimate it costs around $800 to do the 12 step. But I could be wrong.

Now reality...

I belong to a yacht club and in all the years they have been operating all most no one has their smaller boats registered. We operate on the bay. This seems to be the case all along the coast. In my reading it seems only at some state lakes you might need it registered.
I also know a significant number of people never bother with tags or registering their trailers. I know a few that have done this for decades and never been pulled over.

Personally my trailers have tags. I have a title for one of my sunfish, but the other 2. The one was registered one time and I asked the person to look for the title. I never got one so I guess she did not find it.

If you happen to buy a boat from a place that does not have titles all you need is a notarized bill of sale and NJ will put a title on it. Even if you out of state relatives happen to sell it to you.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Before I finished U.S. Navy active duty, New Hampshire didn't have a fee on sailboats. I got surprised by the NHMP when asked for "my papers, please". :oops:

In my absence, I hadn't learned my 20-foot Tornado catamaran now had to be numbered and registered--plus every sailboat over 12-feet. "Annual Fee"=$40+. (Sailboats under 20-feet are exempted from actual numbering applications).

Government creeps in...This state does make registration effortless--can't imagine why...:rolleyes:

I got off with a warning, then later named my first Sunfish "Wind Tax", and placed those letters where the numbers would normally go--next to the annual decal. :cool:
 
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