Friday, February 8, 2008

Clearing Legal Ownership On An Atomic Age Vessel

The day after arriving home was the beginning of my unfortunate, but short tutorial on several important rules regarding legal boat registration and transfer.

The week before driving to Garden City to look over the boat I asked the Secretary of State's office what was needed to have a boat and trailer legally in my name.

Among them was a license plate, registration for the boat and trailer signed over to me, bill of sale, and other stuff.

The evening I bought the vessel, however, the seller assured me many times that the paper work he had was all that I needed.

Something very unexpected happened the next day. The Secretary of State clerk looked at me and explained I had nothing on paper of use but the Bill Of Sale.

The other stuff wasn't good for anything.

"Great!", I thought. "Did I actually get myself into a mess like this intentionally!?!?"

After several days of many unsuccessful attempts to contact the guy, and as many near sleepless nights, I went back to the Secretary of State clerk, explained the situation, and provided all the papers I had on the boat and, to my relief, her supervisor said it was good enough. I had proof beyond reasonable doubt that I purchased, and was the rightful owner, of this Atomic Age craft. This took all about 5 minutes.

Relieved, I gladly paid the usual taxes and fees but still had to have it and trailer weighed to get the non-expiring plate and trailer registration, which I did early the next day at Rifkin Scrap Metal in the City Of Saginaw.

For fun I decided to take the long route into the city and, although still under a tarp, the boat attracted a lot of puzzled looks and double takes.

At Rifkin they directed me to the same weigh station that's used for the scrap metal trucks. Combined, the boat and trailer was 1360 pounds.

On the way home I stopped at the Zilwaukee coin self car wash to spray off the mud covering much of the car trailer and boat.

Early the next afternoon, December 6th, I was back at the Secretary of State Office and quickly all was 100% mine and legal. Had the plate and everything now.

After four long days, what a relief!!

I now know more about boat and trailer registration than I would ever want to relearn again. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE PROPER REGISTRATION SLIP FOR BOTH TRAILER AND BOAT AND THAT THE OWNER HAS SIGNED THE BACK OF BOTH. Or else you don't really own it.

After all this the seller returned my call and said he would do everything to get the boat in my name. I replied the deed was already done and thanked him, anyway.

(Image of my Batboat, 12/06/07)

This was December in Michigan and a slushy winter so far. Drove the Batboat through the cold rain all the way from Garden City and by the time I got my trailer plate four days later, Saginaw County was lightly coated with wet snow and mud puddles.

Cold viruses are easy for me to catch in the damp air. It took several days of light rain and wet snow to finally have a chance to step outside to mount the license plate and really look everything over to plan my next move.

It was parked and not going anywhere, anyway.

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