Sailing without documents

I’m considering taking a delivery job for a boat going from Puget Sound to Kodiak up the IP…the new owner would be onboard but hasn’t received the vessel’s documentation from the CG yet…considering the route ( through Canadian waters ) and the probability of dealing with customs at some point, does anyone know if we can sail before the CG issues the documentation? The new owner holds a bill of sale.
Thanks.

[QUOTE=captjamied;163185]I’m considering taking a delivery job for a boat going from Puget Sound to Kodiak up the IP…the new owner would be onboard but hasn’t received the vessel’s documentation from the CG yet…considering the route ( through Canadian waters ) and the probability of dealing with customs at some point, does anyone know if we can sail before the CG issues the documentation? The new owner holds a bill of sale.
Thanks.[/QUOTE]

The boat needs a valid document onboard. It may be illegal, but I’ve seen many boats sailing on the previous owner’s document until the new document arrives. Showing a bill of sale might only invalidate the previous owner’s document.

No reason for you to have to deal with Canadian customs or immigration going throuh the Inside Passage, unless you go to a dock in BC, and even then you might get cleared in without anyone actually showing up.

The bigger issue might be having the right Canada approved liability and environmental insurance certificates.

Also, technically, the watch officers need to be able to prove that they have the requisite number of trips through BC waters, and that they have a pilotage exemption from the Pacific Pilotage Commission (Canada), but I’ve never had anyone ask to see it.

When I closed on my documented boat, part of the paperwork was a letter from the Documentation specialist (from the bank) stating it was a new purchase and Documentation was being transferred. I was advised to carry it onboard until new documentation arrived.

I did not do any International crossings, but it should be sufficient.

Technically it is illegal. According to the NVDC you are subject to a 10,000 per DAY fine for operating an unregistered vessel. The previous owner actually erred by leaving the previous COD aboard. That said, If the owner has an application IN the system and they have received the interim notice from the NVDC that it is in process you would probably get away with it.

The cheeky thing to do would be to just put away the bill of sale and operate on The old COD until the new one comes. As a member of the NVDC told me, in all likelihood you won’t get stopped or queried. And if you do, the boarding officer has the ability to look up the vessel documentation on the internet anyway. (Provided they have even opened the package) Where you have an issue is with a hard headed officer who has a hair across his ass that day and won’t play nice.

Personally, (as an owner) I would be leery of going through Canada without at least the interim paperwork. (As Captain) I would be even leerier of putting my license on the line for an undocumented vessel for some owner who could care less about how this may look on your legal record as opposed to him wanting to ‘take his new boat to AK’ quickly.

Is this a commercial vessel or a privately-owned yacht?

If the former, the COD should take about a month to get.

If the latter, it currently takes 4 months or so. Recreational vessels are not high-priority at the NVDC. See http://www.uscg.mil/nvdc/nvdcprocessdate.asp for current case processing dates.

However, they should send the new owner a temporary COD fairly quickly which is good for up to one year while the permanent one is being processed.

[I]In lieu of all of the above:[/I]

If this is a recreational vessel, state registration is all that is necessary. CG Documentation is not required. Transferring ownership at the state level does not take nearly as long as via the NVDC. Should be able to be accomplished with one visit to a state vessel/vehicle licensing center.

There is no problem crossing the U.S. / Canadian border on either side with just state registration. Perfectly normal.

[QUOTE=NWWaterman;163257]

However, they should send the new owner a temporary COD fairly quickly which is good for up to one year while the permanent one is being processed.

[I]In lieu of all of the above:[/I]

If this is a recreational vessel, state registration is all that is necessary. CG Documentation is not required. Transferring ownership at the state level does not take nearly as long as via the NVDC. Should be able to be accomplished with one visit to a state vessel/vehicle licensing center.

There is no problem crossing the U.S. / Canadian border on either side with just state registration. Perfectly normal.[/QUOTE]
Actually, that’s a really good idea. Get a state registration, then when the federal stuff comes in, just cancel the state numbers. Good observation for a quick solution.

As a delivery captain, I would not worry much about having the correct document going through BC, especially if it is a yacht, or as more likely, a fishing boat. I would worry somewhat if reporting hazardous cargo onboard.

Just make sure you know the VHF channels and call in points for Traffic in the BC portion of the Inside Passage. When you call in, Traffic will ask for your ETA to the next call in point, and where there are two or more possible routes they will want to know which route you are going to take. Mark the Call in points boldly on the charts. Don’t forget to call in and make Traffic call you. Make sure that you know and can give them your route and ETA. Unless you sound or act really clueless nobody will bother you while transiting BC.

If you do not know the Inside Passage well, keep it simple. Avoid Active Pass, make sure you catch a fair tide at Seymour Narrows, watch the weather for going by Cape Caution, and take the Boat Bluff / Grenville Channel route. In three or four days you’ll be through Canada without attracting any attention.

BC is not like the Canadian Maritimes on the East Coast. There are many more American boats, especially fishing boats, transiting BC than there are Canadian boats. American boats transiting are routine. American boats are scarce and untrusted in the Maritimes and they attract a lot of attention.