Trailer Rant

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
And while I’m at it, why is it that trailer manufacturers put the VIN on a lick and stick piece of paper that always wears off so easily? The trailer manufacturer’s name sticker is clear and fresh. Fortunately for me in this case, the seller actually had all the original paperwork, so I have the VIN. Still, to register in CT it must be on the trailer. I will buy an engraved plate from eBay and attach it.
End of rant. Thank you.


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Texas used to let you register small trailers as home built and they'd assign a VIN. Most of them were so old they were pretty much Theseus' trailer by that time.

Florida was similar, all they cared about was capacity, because that is what they based the tax and registration on.

Virginia I'm not sure yet, but you can register the trailer as a "boat" trailer and pay less tax than a regular trailer.

And Beekeeper, our new trailers have come with metal tags. How old is the Shorelander?
Beekeeper, I didn't go through an insurance agent but went directly to the registry. It was a very easy process. I just had to show them a bill of sale and explain that there wasn't any kind of VIN on the trailer. I'm sure that the sticker peeled off years ago.
I should give that a try, I am friends with my agent and he said it's not even worth trying anymore. Maybe I need a new agent.
Hi SC, It’s a 1987 ShoreLand’r Challenger galvanized trailer. Seller amazingly had the original sales receipt from Pelican Swim and Ski in Whitehouse, NJ., plus owner’s guide. But the VIN on the trailer itself isn’t legible. Should be an easy workaround with adding an engraved plate to the proper area. Here’s my new puppy checking the fine print.
New York, where I live and practice serial Sunfish restoration, usually taxes anything that moves and has rules, regulations and paperwork that would make a Philadelphia lawyer cringe. But there are two bright spots. If you have a trailer with no paperwork, the friendly folks at the DMV will let you register it as homemade by presenting a bill of sale, a weight certificate and a rudimentary Homemade Trailer form. The charge you 8% on the purchase price and give you plate and a new VIN good for all time. You are then supposed to engrave the new VIN on the trailer frame, get it inspected and go on your merry way.

The other odd thing is that New York does not require small, un-powered watercraft like Sunfish to be numbered. Power boats yes, but human or sail powered no.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Virginia trailers get cool points for a one time State fee for registration and no annual fee. But then the County, and in our case the Town, turn around and tax trailers, cars, RVs, airplanes, farm equipment, etc... as personal property, payment due every 6 months.
I just picked up a galvanized trailer that's in great shape for cheap, only thing was I had to take the boat that was attached to it. It has the proper VIN, so I'll try to get it registered myself. The boat, a Capri 13 was a beloved boat that the former owners were selling because they hadn't been able to sail it the last three years, they were 80 and 85 years old! I'm a sap, I told them I could get their boat in shape and send along pictures of my progress, they were teary eyed. They said the mast step needed to be fixed, boy does it.


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For the Hunter 170 I had the vin was printed on a silver sticker. The printing was no longer visible. I called the company and they made up a new one for $40. I did it because that tends to increase sales since it seems few trailers are properly paperworked.

NJ is a title and reg state for the Sunfish. Few actually have the paperwork it seems. Kind of nuts if you ask me.
If a NJ person has a bill of sale from NY, since they are not a title state, then you can get a title NJ.
I ordered a plate from EBay. I gave VIN and info, the seller engraved it and I epoxied it to the trailer tongue. My neighbor helped me with the wiring (another rarity to find a trailer with working lights). Now I’m all legit and the new owner will be ready to register. This trailer and a nice Sunfish will soon be listed for sale.


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Are you following our lead? We have to fess up, we have a passion for trailers, that we disguise with boats :)

Thanks for the lead on the ebay VIN plates, we need one for Skipper's 1980s trailer, rebuilt in the 21st Century. Our friend Eddie did the rebuild, the only original bit is the square box frame and the fenders.

Eddie Audrey.JPG