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Pennsylvania Fish and Boat commission registration issues

Mouse

New Member
I realize this type of issue comes up, (some may find this redundant) but I figured I would go strait to the professionals! The boat commission is requiring proof of year from manufacturer.
Some details..The original owner passed away, never registered the boat. (No paper trail) Due to no hull number (prior to 1972) they want proof of age.
In order to get sticker for state park use a hull number is needed. I want to sail it in NJ. Since it is over 12 feet registration is required. How to prove age when the original company is no longer in existence? This makes Restoration very difficult.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. This little boat deserves to come alive again!
 

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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
It doesn’t look like it needs restoring- you’ve got a beautiful old Sunfish that someone really cared for. It’s between 1967 and 1970. The Ratsey-Lapthorn sail came out in ‘67. The cockpit storage area (which you don’t have) came out in ‘71. Someone did a great job of upgrading the rudder to the new style, but I’m not sure how they did it without adding a port? Unless they cut a hole in the bottom and then patched it back in?
Check with DMV, as the registration laws vary by state. In CT a Sunfish doesn’t need to be registered, but I’ve had to register rowboats without VIN numbers. The Dept of Environmental Protection issues a VIN and you attach it to the boat, send them a picture, get their OK, then register through DMV. A real PIA, but DMV always is. Sounds like it’s different for you, though.
Beautiful, classic Sunfish- worth the hassle to be sailing this summer!
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Quick google search, wouldn’t you be operating for fewer than 180 consecutive days, making you exempt from registration?
 

Mouse

New Member
Since it has no hull number they are telling me to contact manufacturer for proof of age. I thought it was from 1967, and submitted paperwork.
I have the death certificate from original owner. But without hull number I am stuck.
 

Mouse

New Member
I want to sail in NJ. Any boat over 12 feet requires registration. Pa I need a permit to use ramps in state parks. Need hull numbers for that.
 

Mouse

New Member
It has issues cracked cockpit, two damaged areas stern from ratcheting I believe. Not a problem. But before investing more I would like to have loose ends tied up.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Breeze Bender, AMF used to suggest splitting the hull / deck seam at the stern to upgrade to the new style rudder.

BTW there must be a way to register an old boat without a note from the mfr. Many, many mfrs have gone out of business over the years and those boats would be unusable in PA.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Looks like you need to contact NJ State Police, Marine Division. You can inquire online. They will issue a HIN. Once you have the hull ID you can register the boat. They sure don’t make it easy!
njsp.org/marine-services
 

Coastal Redneck

Active Member
Wow, BB was right, that IS a nice boat... hey, when ya get tired of all that bureaucratic bull$h!t, take yer boat to the Salton Sea, NOBODY will bother ya there, not even nautical revenue collectors, LOL. :confused:

Edit: Oh, yeah, and be sure to bring a $h!tload of Zebra & Quagga Mussels, they might help clean that place up, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! ;)

NICE BOAT, NOW I'M JEALOUS... CHEERS!!! :rolleyes:
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
A "cubby" is a small compartment, like a glove compartment, but never had an cover. There seems to be a cubby, but it's only suggested in the last photo. Just what am I seeing in this enlargement?

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I suspect this is a late 1971 {prior to the HIN requirement), which would have had this late rudder gudgeon installed at the factory.

A printout of this forum's findings might persuade the DMV; if not, I have another suggestion (saving for last). ;)
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Good eye L&VW!!!!! I will bet my cone you are correct. I assumed after the "no cubby" comment those stripes were painted on, but I am now sure you are correct - that is a late 1971 with the appropriate gelcoat stripes for that year.
 

tag

my2fish
I had this happen with my old Sunfish here in Michigan. If I recall, I just told them it was a 1969, that no hull numbers existed, and they assigned a HIN and wrote me a new title.
 

Mouse

New Member
Would Pennsylvania's DMV accept a registration "1971 certificate/document" from another state?
I am about to go Knee Deep sending copies of owner death certificates from way back. The sail has a tag from around 1967. All paperwork is filled out to that year, though I am now sure it is a 1971. Had a saying in the Navy "if you're wrong stay wrong!" Unless i can get specific documentation i am staying on path. Paid too much to re submit paperwork.
I just need to get a new hull number and i am gold! Might send a picture of the original sticker that has worn many years ago. It is possible the number was located there.
 

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Coastal Redneck

Active Member
Hey, OP, if those DMV obstacles prove to be insurmountable, know this: in the Socialist Republik of Kalifornia, I had no other option but to declare my 12' Minifish a "home-built" boat, using some receipts from the Home Depot for lumber, fasteners, etc., for an entirely different project. The boat was a barn find, it sat in some guy's back yard for decades and the original owner was probably dead & buried, no paperwork whatsoever left behind. :confused:

Once I turned in the receipts & filled out the "home-built" form, I was issued a *new* HIN and I had to go get that number engraved on a thin aluminum plate (key & trophy shop did the engraving), then mount the plate on the starboard quarter of my "home-built" boat, taking great care to entirely cover the original HIN still visible under fresh paint, LOL. Chose an aluminum plate just the right size to cover the old HIN, you understand. ;)

Ironically, that whole process was MUCH easier than trying to deal with bureaucratic DMV bull$h!t, and I soon had registration stickers on the bow of my boat, which were all I wanted in the first place so I wouldn't get hassled by waterborne Donut Boyz & Revenue Collectors. Now, if I was able to do that in Kalifornia, MAYBE you can do it in PA or NJ if you find yourself up against a bureaucratic wall, so to speak. :rolleyes:

Of course, I had to go to a different branch office of the DMV once I started down the "home-built" route, didn't want the pogues I talked to at the outset to get wind of the "home-built" scheme... but in all honesty, I could've used Depot receipts for household detergents, toilet paper, a garden hose & the proverbial kitchen sink to bag the "home-built" registration stickers, nobody gave those a second glance, the important thing was to have receipts in hand, LOL. :D

JUST SAYIN', IN CASE YOU'RE EVENTUALLY FORCED TO GO THIS ROUTE DUE TO RIDICULOUS BUREAUCRATIC BULL$H!T, AYE??? :eek:

GOOD LUCK, & BON VOYAGE ONCE YA GETS THEM THAR STICKERS, LOL!!! CHEERS!!! :cool:

P.S. When I mounted the aluminum plate on the quarter, I pre-drilled all holes (plate & hull), then used a bit of epoxy and snug-fitting pop rivets to install the plate. Worked like gangbusters, never leaked, never got hassled over registration stickers, the thin plate never created drag or impeded my progress, etc. Just something to think about, hope it's helpful to ya! BTW, even though I served in the USA INF, I hail from a nautical family (2 CDRs, USN Submarine Service, they were the ranking officers in our immediate family---had an Air Force colonel in the Pentagon, but he was an uncle). I copy that naval remark about "staying wrong!!!" LOL. :)
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Hey, OP, if those DMV obstacles prove to be insurmountable, know this: in the Socialist Republik of Kalifornia, I had no other option but to declare my 12' Minifish a "home-built" boat, using some receipts from the Home Depot for lumber, fasteners, etc., for an entirely different project. The boat was a barn find, it sat in some guy's back yard for decades and the original owner was probably dead & buried, no paperwork whatsoever left behind. :confused:

Once I turned in the receipts & filled out the "home-built" form, I was issued a *new* HIN and I had to go get that number engraved on a thin aluminum plate (key & trophy shop did the engraving), then mount the plate on the starboard quarter of my "home-built" boat, taking great care to entirely cover the original HIN still visible under fresh paint, LOL. Chose an aluminum plate just the right size to cover the old HIN, you understand. ;)

Ironically, that whole process was MUCH easier than trying to deal with bureaucratic DMV bull$h!t, and I soon had registration stickers on the bow of my boat, which were all I wanted in the first place so I wouldn't get hassled by waterborne Donut Boyz & Revenue Collectors. Now, if I was able to do that in Kalifornia, MAYBE you can do it in PA or NJ if you find yourself up against a bureaucratic wall, so to speak. :rolleyes:

Of course, I had to go to a different branch office of the DMV once I started down the "home-built" route, didn't want the pogues I talked to at the outset to get wind of the "home-built" scheme... but in all honesty, I could've used Depot receipts for household detergents, toilet paper, a garden hose & the proverbial kitchen sink to bag the "home-built" registration stickers, nobody gave those a second glance, the important thing was to have receipts in hand, LOL. :D

JUST SAYIN', IN CASE YOU'RE EVENTUALLY FORCED TO GO THIS ROUTE DUE TO RIDICULOUS BUREAUCRATIC BULL$H!T, AYE??? :eek:

GOOD LUCK, & BON VOYAGE ONCE YA GETS THEM THAR STICKERS, LOL!!! CHEERS!!! :cool:

P.S. When I mounted the aluminum plate on the quarter, I pre-drilled all holes (plate & hull), then used a bit of epoxy and snug-fitting pop rivets to install the plate. Worked like gangbusters, never leaked, never got hassled over registration stickers, the thin plate never created drag or impeded my progress, etc. Just something to think about, hope it's helpful to ya! BTW, even though I served in the USA INF, I hail from a nautical family (2 CDRs, USN Submarine Service, they were the ranking officers in our immediate family---had an Air Force colonel in the Pentagon, but he was an uncle). I copy that naval remark about "staying wrong!!!" LOL. :)
New Hampshire, which is relatively "short" on bureaucracy (although neighboring domestic immigration is forcing a change) will register a Sunfish.

No bill of sale? :confused: The issuing agent will tell you to go back out in the parking lot and "find" one. :eek:

Make sure you've filled in the "hull number" on your "'71". ;)

In exchange for a fee of $40, now you've got a state's registration certificate in your hands! :rolleyes:
 

Alan S. Glos

Active Member
Mouse,

Maybe I am missing something. Your Sunfish (probably a 1971 hull) should have an aluminum plate on the deck just aft of the inner "V" of the coaming that would have a serial number on it, and this number tells you the year it was made - I think there is s conversion chart here on the Forum that your state DMV will accept in lieu of a H.I.N, as these numbers did ot come into existance until 1972. In one of your deck photos, it looks like this plate has been painted over or even removed. If you need one, I have these plates for sale at $10 that you can attach to your hull so you can register it. Let me know if you want one.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Hi Alan,
Yes, his entire dilemma is he has no HIN. Mouse, you should either buy that $10 aluminum plate from Alan and attach it to your boat just aft of the coaming/splashguard. Or go through the state police marine. Should be “smooth sailing” from there!
Curious, Why are you putting in an inspection port?
 

sailcraftri

Well-Known Member
Based on the photos the boat is a 1972 1/2. The cubby was put in in 1971 but still had the older style rudder. The new rudder came in half way through the 1972 models. In 1973 the HIN's would have been on the transom.
 

Alan S. Glos

Active Member
....one issue. Some of the early transom HINs were on aluminum plates that were glued on and over time came off. Now all HINs are engraved or molded into the transom, a better system.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
I've never bothered will any hull numbers or registration in Michigan. State
Park patrol has always been nice and never said anything. They are mainly
checking for flotation devices. Power boats, yes they are always checking
registration numbers/ownership. Don't let bureaucratic DMV tie you up in knots as
any questions will always result in a bureaucratic answer. Alan's plate should
fix you up. All my Sunfish shed their plates long ago.
 

Coastal Redneck

Active Member
Now all HINs are engraved or molded into the transom, a better system.
My Minifish had the HIN molded into the starboard quarter, I wanna say within a foot of the transom but I can't remember the exact distance, too much has happened between those days & today, LOL. I wound up buying & engraving an aluminum plate which covered that entire recessed & molded number, and then some... in fact, I seem to recall filling that recess with some sorta filler to level it out, then I epoxied & pop-riveted the plate directly over the leveled recess. Or something like that... LOL. :confused:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
From a forum, just a minute ago.

Looks like they just want your money--with the bonus of hassling the citizenry: :rolleyes:

"In NY I bought a boat on a Gator trailer with a little plastic ID sticker glued on. One number didn’t jive with the title (Yes, Mildred, they title trailers in NY...) and since it was faded and peeling off I got my trusty 1/4” stamp set (Harbor Freight) and stamped the number from the title on to a piece of hard maple. Then I took a rubbing of it and took it to DMV. They happily retitled it for me. I’m not suggesting that you break the law, just offering a possible solution. There are hundreds of trailer manufacturers out there and thousands of trailers. I seriously doubt any conflicts will arise."
 

leob1

Member
Where in NJ do you want to sail? I've sailed at Round Valley, in my unregistered Super Porpoise, never questioned. YMMV.
I've also heard that you could register it as a sailing dingy, do know the requirements, you could ask at the MVC what they are.
Good Luck.
 

Maxxxx

New Member
I realize this type of issue comes up, (some may find this redundant) but I figured I would go strait to the professionals! The boat commission is requiring proof of year from manufacturer.
Some details..The original owner passed away, never registered the boat. (No paper trail) Due to no hull number (prior to 1972) they want proof of age.
In order to get sticker for state park use a hull number is needed. I want to sail it in NJ. Since it is over 12 feet registration is required. How to prove age when the original company is no longer in existence? This makes Restoration very difficult.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. This little boat deserves to come alive again!
I didn't think Pa requires any registration for this boat since it is not motorized. If you live in PA you fall under their registration laws even if you are in another state with your boat.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Of my five Sunfish, one registered and titled in New Hampshire has a "mystery" hull number on the left side of the transom. (Seen behind the added black-enhanced number for clarity—in the photo below).

Since it doesn't correspond to the Federal HIN requirement, or the Sunfish numbering system :confused:, or the Florida system (where I bought it), or the New Hampshire system (where I sail it), I've totally ignored it. :cool:


(So, I prepared a Bill of Sale—to myself—in the registry's parking lot). :rolleyes:

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