Red tape

I signed too!

Today was our day to deal with the paperwork involved in making our boat a Canadian one. This means we have the right to fly the Canadian flag and it will have a unique name that no other boat in Canada can use. Proof of ownership backed up by the Canadian government can be very important when sailing outside of Canada and is usually required to obtain a cruising permit in another country.

We drove to Fort Lauderdale to see the documentation specialist we hired to handle all the red tape involved.

Previously the boat was documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, and we needed to get it registered with Transport Canada and change its name at the same time. Not a simple process, of course.

Before the boat can be registered in Canada, you must deregister it with the U.S. Coast Guard and prove to TC that you really own the boat. (Understandable.)

Boats can have mortgages and liens just like houses. The documentation specialist ensures that all these have been cleared on the vessel and that your title is free and clear. A lawyer does essentially the same thing when you buy a house.

The documentation specialist also deals with the U.S. Coast Guard for you and fills out all the relevant forms for Transport Canada. One interesting TC requirement is “tonnage,” which is calculated from a special formula using measurements of the boat’s length, depth and beam. Bob did this calculation during the survey.

So our paperwork is now on its way to TC. We submitted three possible boats names and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they will approve our first choice: Watermark II.

(Interesting aside: Registration was really designed for commercial vessels. The Crown can take control of the vessel in times of crisis (war). For that reason, you legally own only two thirds of a registered vessel. One third is owned by the Crown.)

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