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Jul 26, 2023 -Team BoatWiki is constantly on the lookout for critical regulatory changes and fraudulent practices which are targeted against the boating community. Any such occurrences are promptly listed here in the Alerts page. Readers are strongly urged to WikiShare their observations or knowledge of any additional boating related malpractices or critical changes.
Boat History Reports
Boat history reports can play an important role in checking on the background of a particular boat. These should not, however, be relied upon as a safety net for getting the full picture. Although some reports may proclaim that a boat's history is "clear" or "clean", such premise is false hyperbole. This can be largely attributed to an absence of reliable maritime data sources and governmental privacy regulations. There is also a matter of complicated admiralty rules, including those which apply to "hidden liens." The best protection comes in the form of hiring a competent marine surveyor, seeking the assistance of a qualified attorney, and by securing your avenues of recourse in case of any misrepresentations.
Boater Insurance Regulations
It's hard to imagine, but recent polling among the National Association of Boating Administrators reveals that only a couple of states actually require any type of insurance for recreational boaters. If a drunken sailor injures a loved one or creates damages, you may be left to your own devices. On the positive side, there are many situations where a marine lender will require full coverage as a condition of financing. In any event, boaters should assess the risk factor in their particular area of operations to determine whether uninsured boater coverage is appropriate.
Buyer Direct Scams
One advantage of using a professional boat broker is being able to rely on their expertise in qualifying a buyer and handling purchase funds. However, this may not be a viable option on smaller boats or when sellers who wish to avoid paying a commission. Unfortunately, there are an abundance scammers who will take advantage of these situations. Sellers should never release possession of their boat until fully confident the buyer is legitimate and the purchase funds have been properly cleared. Visit the Guidelines and Blogs sections of BoatWiki for more information about qualifying a buyer, securing payment of the sales price or perhaps using a third party settlement service.
Deceptive Boating Referrals
An all too popular scheme found in today's internet marketing is the establishment of pandering websites whose sole purpose is to aggrandize and promote a particular service or product. All of which are owned either directly or indirectly by the targeted establishment. Their objective is directed toward search engine optimization which rewards websites that have numerous links from other sites of the same nature. Such tactics in the boating industry are mostly employed by certain boat history, title research, vessel documentation, marine insurance, and lending enterprises. Boaters should be wary of those sites which apparently have no real substance of their own other than that of culminating in a specific referral. Visit the WikiLinks to report a deceptive website or send a WikiShare.
Delaware Registration Abuses
The State of Delaware has acquired global recognition over the years as an ideal jurisdiction in which to register a boat or yacht. The primary incentive for doing so relates to an absence of taxation and ease in setting up privatized corporations. There has also been a false presumption that such registration offers entitlements under the U.S. flag. All of this has, of course, been capitalized upon by deceptive service companies that have coined such packages which are made available for some hefty fees. However, the reality is that Delaware doesn't even offer boat title certificates and all you end up with is a simple registration card along with something akin to a bogus documentation certificate. In fact an owner must certify on a state registration application that Delaware will serve as the principal state of operation. Visit the WikiTags for more information about Delaware registrations. Visit the WikiLinks to report a deceptive website or send a WikiShare.
Documentation Form Changes
The National Vessel Documentation Center is in the process of revising some of their forms. However, they have missed the launch deadlines and most of the older legacy forms are still valid. When changes are finally realized, the older legacy items may be rejected. Boaters should make sure they are using the most current form when it comes to vessel documentation transactions.
Documentation Renewal Changes
The National Vessel Documentation Center is in the process of eliminating single year options for renewal in favor of five years only. However, they have missed that deadline and single year options are still available. When changes are finally realized, the multiple options may be discontinued.
Documentation Renewal Scams
Beware of promotions from certain vessel documentation companies with offers of handling the renewal process for certificates of documentation. Renewing is a very simple matter and relatively inexpensive compared to the enormous markup charged for these so-called professional services. Although the National Vessel Documentation Center may send a notification when it's time to renew, you should also mark your calendar just in case. In order to renew, you can simply return the renewal form and fees or visit the online renewal link found on their website. Visit the WikiTags to report a deceptive website or send a WikiShare.
Documentation Service Scams
There are a growing number of privately owned vessel documentation websites that have a misleading appearance of being government sanctioned. Their pages are typically emblazoned with official looking logos along with pictures of various USCG vessels. Be aware that the Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Center neither endorses nor affiliates itself with any private documentation service establishments whatsoever. Visit the WikiTags to report a deceptive website or send a WikiShare.
Boaters are also having difficulties with web based vessel documentation service companies that may take your money and run. Beware of those websites that do not show a physical location and provide minimal contact information. This often consists of a contact or payment dialog only with no telephone number or email address. Such companies can usually be ferreted out by checking with the Better Business Bureau or by searching for reviews on the internet.
Inaccurate Boating Information
A popular method of optimizing exposure to internet search engines is that of providing free information related to a website's particular products or services. This typically comes in the form of blogs, articles, charts, examples, quotations and summaries. Such practice is quite prevalent through all aspects of the boating industry. Although much of it comes from their own expertise, they often include data which has been extracted from governmental or institutional websites. This can be problematic, especially when it comes to boating rules, regulations, and fees which are dynamic and ever changing, often without notice. As a matter of due diligence, boaters should always confirm or verify this type of material directly with the respective source.
Credits and References
Jul 26, 2023 - Page revised.