Registering a poontoon boat for trolling motor use

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by stealth tooner, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. stealth tooner

    stealth tooner New Member

    I know the process varies from state to state, but what I want to know is if the serial number on the inside of the my left AIRE tube is the hull ID number that is required for registration. Also, how do I go about getting a certificate of origin from a company that no longer exists? I don't have the original invoice for my Dave Scadden Cardiac Canyon and Dave Scadden no longer exists. Dave moved on to NFO, but I highly doubt they have any records of the transaction.
  2. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    This might be a silly question since you don't appear to live in Washington, but why do you need to register a pontoon boat?

  3. Michael Nelson

    Michael Nelson Old And In The Way

    In California, you have to register any motorized craft. I believe he is intending to put a trolling motor on his 'toon, so it requires registration.
  4. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Normally, a pontoon boat falls below the size threshold for registration (16 feet, I believe). But, any boat with a motor must be registered, regardless of length.

  5. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

    cabezon, not true on registration. Only if used on naviable waters.
  6. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    True enough - for Washington. I believe that the original poster lives in California which may well have an entirely different set of rules.

  7. ral

    ral Rich Layendecker

    If you don't have a certifciate or origin most states have a process for registering a homemade boat. You might be try that approach.
  8. themaninthemoon

    themaninthemoon Just waiting on warmer weather, .......

    I believe it was around 1986-87 that an upgrade to the boating laws came into effect throughout most states.
    If the craft in question is propelled by any mechanical means whatsoever, then it needs to be registered thru your state license bureau.
    Here, in Indiana, this means that you go to the bureau of motor vehicles branch office(s), and request to have the CRAFT registered. (Yes, I stated craft, because that is what the Indiana DNR lawmen call it.
    This does not mean that you need/require a title, as you may also request a title. (It just costs you more to do that though.)
    If the craft does not have a HIN # (yes a HIN #, please don't ask what the difference is, because I don't know, but it is just like a VIN #), and they will issue you a serial/ HIN/VIN number for it while you are registering your craft. Maybe you could stamp the #'s into the frame.
    This how to get around a problem with a trailer, or boat that has no title too.
    Years ago most states didn't even require you to license a trailer. But they have always required registration of the watercraft/boat.
  9. For those interested, here's a link to the Washington state rules because it seems like there's some confusion above.

    Yes, I know the original poster is in California. Like someone said above, you can get an HIN# assigned to you.
  10. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

    HIN# hull identification number.
  11. Bill Aubrey

    Bill Aubrey Active Member

    For you folks in WA, I have asked a couple of Wildlife officers on separate occasions, and they are unclear on pontoons. Therefore, if you are going to put a motor on it, even a trolling motor, register! One told me he would definitely write a citation.
  12. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

    battenkill, I would love to have that wdfw officer ticket me , Just so I can ruin he's day by having him go to court for not knowing the laws. Henderson bay put the link up. So as long as i fish where I fish now it's no problem.
  13. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    No disrespect intended TM, but while your bluster sounds menacing, it's worth a brief time out for a reality check.

    The plain fact is that enforcement officers regularly appear in court. Many enjoy cordial relations with judges who frequently defer to their knowledge of the often arcane and confusing rules and regulations that govern our sport. Regardless of how confident you might be in the strength of your case and convictions, the two folks I've known who have tried to stand up in court to protest a citation have found the playing field there to be heavily tilted in favor of the enforcement officer.

    You're certainly within your rights to hire an attorney to defend you, but given the hourly rate that competent lawyers currently charge, you should ask yourself just how much you're willing to pay to have even a hope for a level playing field. All in, it's most likely that it'll be your day, and possibly your bank balance, that'll end up being ruined.

    If you plan on appearing pro se, make sure to wear a jock with a steel cup. You'll need it.

  14. Mike Ediger

    Mike Ediger Active Member

    This thread has me more confused that ever, which is why people try to help yet giving out misinformation is so frustrating. I have a 12 foot pram with trolling motor and was told by DMV when I went in to get my trailer license that I don't have to register anything other than have a title for boat and trailer. There were two criteria (which I can't remember exactly right now) length and size of motor I think, 16' and 10 hp, and neither of mine surpassed either criteria. I also had my license checked by a wdfw officer while in my pram with trolling motor last weekend, and he never asked or said a word. My two buddies in pontoon boats with trolling motors were also checked and he never said a word. So are both the DMV and that officer wrong? Neither my pram nor my pontoon are registered.
    Now that I think about it, I shouldn't ask, I should just go back to the regs and try and find it myself.
  15. Luvlite

    Luvlite New Member

    It is confusing and the language found at can help a little bit. The problem is determining the defintion of "federal waters". Some places it is defined as 3-200 miles offshore with 0-3 miles being under state jursidiction. Other definitions indicate anything 0-200 miles offshore. For most of us fishing inland bodies of water, it isn't clear to me how that defintion applies either.

    What I can tell you is that I have, on multiple instances, been cautioned by the local law enforcement folks in San Juan County that any boat, of any size, with an outboard on it needs to be registered. So I assume that "federal waters" is enforced as being 0-200 miles offshore. As for inland lakes and rivers, I've never tested the law. I bet a call to the Seattle Police would answer the question as they patrol Lake Union and Lake Washington and I'm certain they enforce the law.
  16. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

    Kent ,I should clear somethings up. I only use my pontoon on lakes ,non which are concidered navicable<sp? waters. So if I'm at Nunnally and using a trolling motor on my pontoon,let the officer write away.
    P.s. Yes my spelling is bad,and i'm typing with one hand!
  17. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    I fish fresh water exclusively and don't even use a motor, but that's not my point. I'm simply suggesting that if it comes down to your interpretation of the law vs. an enforcement officer's in a court of law, your position is gonna be sorta like a guy bringing a knife to a gun fight, no matter how right you think you are.

    And BTW, that's not just in a dispute involving boat registration. If he says you were poaching, fishing out of season in a beaver pond, or didn't have enough life jackets for everyone in your boat, for instance, any defense you offer is gonna be like answering the question, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

    Guilty as charged. Next case.

  18. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

    Guilty as charged. Next case.

    WTF Kent, you Never got out of a ticket before ,you sound angry?????????
  19. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    When you operate your boat in "Federally regulated waters," it require a registration if you use a motor, regardless of hull length.
    If your boat is less than 16' and you are only using an electric trolling motor and you aren't on "federally regulated waters," you don't need to get a registration. (Here in WA).
    In other words, If I take my 15' tinny out on Lake Washington or the lower Chehalis River powered by an electic motor, I need a registration.
    Same boat and electic motor would not need a registration for smaller lakes or "non-navigable" rivers.
    "Non-navigable" rivers are usually waters above the head of tidewater and too small to allow commercial boat traffic.
    Is a river guide taking a guest downstream in a driftboat "commercial boat traffic?"
    There is a "gray area" here!

    Sometimes, on foggy mornings, I will motor upstream from a boat ramp in my drift pram, un-noticed. When I return to the ramp in the full light of mid-afternoon, the motor is off my transom and I'm rowing. These boat ramps are on the lower, tide-affected sections of coastal creeks, and I only use the motor to get upstream as high as I can before rowing back downstream. Much of the skinny upstream water I can squeeze into with electric power would be considered "non-navigable" for a larger boat with a gas motor. Since I use the motor for considerably less than 50% of the trip, I consider the trolling motor not to be my "main means of propulsion" here. The oars are my main means of propulsion. The motor would be nice to have if I popped my shoulder out of its socket, though, and couldn't row. I don't have any plans to ever put a number on this craft. I just need more fog.
  20. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    I'm not angry, just trying to offer a realistic alternative to your bluster about ruining an enforcement officer's day in court.

    Sure, I've gotten out of my share of traffic tickets. But traffic law is a whole lot clearer than the maze of regs surrounding fishing and watercraft.

    For instance, what exactly is navigable water? Or what is the precise definition of a beaver pond? While those seem like simple questions, the answers can vary a lot depending on who you talk to.

    While each of us may believe passionately in our own interpretation of what the law says, the enforcement officer's opinion will almost always trump ours in front of a judge. Based on the two guys I know who tried to stand up for their opinions in court, the only persons whose day got ruined was theirs.