Towing a sailboat without a trailer license plate

Howler

Member
177
171
It's not the ticket, it's having your trailer and boat impounded and taken someplace where you can't get it back until Monday after you've completed a mountain of paperwork and written a number of checks.
 

SailingTips.Ca

Feigns Knowledge
791
342
Victoria, BC
I personally plate and insure my trailers, but have been reassured by numerous brokers that (in British Columbia anyways) the vehicle insurance covers the trailer in an accident as long as the trailer remains connected to the tow vehicle. The trailer insurance only comes into play when the trailer is not connected to the tow vehicle, either while parked, or a crazy "severing" accident.

It's also interesting that pay-by-plate schemes at boat launches (e.g. via Honk Mobile) use the plate of the tow vehicle and not the trailer...
 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
10,909
2,531
It's not the ticket, it's having your trailer and boat impounded and taken someplace where you can't get it back until Monday after you've completed a mountain of paperwork and written a number of checks.
I fully agree. The few illegal runs I’ve done aren’t time sensitive and very short distances. To add to your comment, insurance may not cover any problems if you’re towing illegally.
 

Jtype

New member
6
0
I have about a dozen trailer license plates, never turned one in. They come in handy when I have to move a boat I just bought....
 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
10,909
2,531
I have about a dozen trailer license plates, never turned one in. They come in handy when I have to move a boat I just bought....
My trailer is still titled to a J-Boat dealer, despite three owners, half way across the country. We could team up and wreak havoc!
 

nota

Anarchist
I have a plate but forget what it was for originally
was a fla tag that never had a weight listed on it's registration
so the tag clerk will on occasion tell me to get it weighted so they can list it
that tag was for an older trailer no make or numbers at all
I say ok but never do and they never refuse me a tag/sticker
I have a small trailer a bigger trailer and a car dolly currently
the tag has graced several other trailers inc a hobie cat trailer to chicago and two other mid sized dual axle trailers that were sold

I find I never use more then a single trailer at a time
so see no need to pay for multiple tags
 

Sail4beer

Usual suspect
10,059
3,442
Toms River,NJ
I have so many trailers and plates that I often grab a random plate and hit the road. I even lend them out to friends and clients. I’ve towed and towed and towed and have never been pulled over. I’ve taken wide loads on interstates and back roads with no signage or permits and my road ready guardian angel keeps law enforcement at bay.

That said, I did tow 2 boats to MI this year for a client and he had proper tags and registration each time. It seemed easy enough to drive with a folder containing the registration along with the selling documents, so I’ll probably start going down the road legally in the future.
 

zenmasterfred

Super Anarchist
1,553
550
Lopez Island
Hmmmnnn...I have a friend (wink, wink, wink) who used to go bandito with his Star boat trailer all the time, even occasionally in the dark. Once towing a Soling with a Finn on top if it and another Finn on top of the tow vehicle (0ld Chevy station wagon) stopped for gas in the middle of the night in the Siskyous and was asked by the gas station guy "what kind of dang aeroplane is that thing?
 

mcpusc

New member
37
15
PNW, USA
they sell 3-day permits here in WA to move unregistered vehicles; that's how i got my "new" boat with unregistered trailer home.

presumably you can get a similar permit in other states too.
 

Somebody Else

a person of little consequence
7,642
807
PNW
I find I never use more then a single trailer at a time
so see no need to pay for multiple tags
Brilliant logic! I'm going with this!

I've used this argument for monthly fees for cellular phones/tablets/hot-spots but the one-step-away-from-welfare drone at the counter just gives me that blank stare as if I've just handed them $5.10 for a $4.10 purchase... "Sir, you've given me too much..."
 

Jangles13

Anarchist
785
12
Maine
The advice I received from an off-duty trooper was that they can overlook a missing or unregistered trailer as someone being absent minded, but to affix a plate from another trailer is a willful act and accordingly a more serious crime.
 

See Level

Working to overcome my inner peace
Oregon doesn't require boat trailer plates at all if you're not overwidth.
But do require plates on your camper that's actually only being carried in your pickup truck.
Weird State.

Seattle police can't pull you over for a plate violation per city council orders.
 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
10,909
2,531
The advice I received from an off-duty trooper was that they can overlook a missing or unregistered trailer as someone being absent minded, but to affix a plate from another trailer is a willful act and accordingly a more serious crime.
Agreed. It’s easy to play stupid if you haven’t tried to lie.
 

Sail4beer

Usual suspect
10,059
3,442
Toms River,NJ
@zenmasterfred,
Brother and another Ensign trailing to Cleveland stopped for gas and a couple with their young ones pull up and ask what those things they’re pulling are. Brother says a “jet plane. When we get to the airport, we attach the 2 parts together with those metal tubes on top and drop the engine in.”

Folks finally got to see a jet before final construction…
 

Dex Sawash

Demi Anarchrist
2,582
811
NC USA
I got pulled just over the 301 bridge into Maryland for no plate. Highway Patrolman saw NC plate on my car and said he thought I could probably get a temporary plate for travel next time I came to MD. (NC is a trailer plate state)

#teamnoplates
 

newbury

New member
19
9
How about crossing the border into Canada with two Canadian owned Finns on a Czech built trailer with home built status Florida plates and zero paperwork. Straight to secondary it was.

Eventually a higher ranked customs officer was called over. He sized up the situation, told the junior officers to get back out there and get back to work. He then gave me one last stare down, thought about the mountain of useless paperwork, and told me to get lost before he changed his mind.
Sometimes the juniors are just trying to be storm-troopers. Coming over the Bluewater Bridge from a regatta in Detroit. It was a double holiday weekend: July1st Friday-July4th Monday, mid 90's. That was the year, AND the temperature. Horrendous hours long lineup on I-94. (* No lineup going through downtown Port Huron: from I-94, took I-69 (before Black River) downtown and turned left on Huron St. then Pine Grove. Left again at the duty-free, and on to the bridge.) Bumper to bumper over the bridge. Sun slowly going down... Pulled up at the booth. Passports out. "Where do you live?" etc. Then she decided to look at the Etchells. Walked around, looked up and went ballistic. "You don't have Licence Numbers on the bow".
At that point she went deaf.
"The boat is Registered by the name." You don't have Licence Numbers on the bow". Rinse repeat. "You will be written up for this". Then she wanted to look inside the boat. I untied the ladder and she clambered up, almost fell off twice. That old ladder *was* a might short. I wouldn't want to get into fat-shaming but she was not athletically built. Of course, there was nothing up there. She almost fell getting down. Not sure I could have got away with clapping if that had happened. Then "DRIVE OVER THERE! WAIT FOR ME".
So I drove over to the Group W bench.
Where I met a superior officer standing on the curb, looking hot and tired. By now it was about 8:00 pm. He just looked at me and I said, "She thinks I need to have Licence Numbers on the bow. She does not understand the concept of Registration." I handed him the registration booklet, which is hard cardboard booklet with a very large fold out paper inside, in dark blue: think a Passport, but twice as large. He took it, opened it, looked at it for 4 seconds, said "Boy, I haven't seen one of these for a long time. Welcome home. Drive carefully. Hope you had a good regatta." I pulled away about 10 seconds before she got there. Quite satisfying.
Oh, forgot to mention. While talking to the second officer, I noticed I had NOT put the licence plate on the back of the trailer. It was still safely stowed under the back seat.
 

Mike in CT

Anarchist
604
15
CT
Calculated risk, or crazy? What happens? What happens out of state?
I don't do it, but I've seen it. Even 500 miles of it. But I've been pulled over within a mile of one falling off (not ticket--cop told me where he saw the plate!). What gives?
register your trailer in Maine. You can do it on line from any state and they send you a plate in the mail. There is a small chance you could get a letter from your local tax man if he is particularly nosey but unlikely. I have registered at least 10 trailers in ME over the years with no problems.

 
Ethan Bixby, then of North Sails, asked me to car-top his brand-new Contender to Florida after the CORK regatta in Kingston, Canada. My Contender was on a Florida tagged trailer. At the US border they asked for paperwork. Trailer OK. But he had imported from Germany his Contender and put it in North Sails name, not his own.
Apparently, a business import has to have a broker do paperwork. So, back over the bridge and a two day wait in Canada. Pretty area, that.
Ethan got a broker and sent the papers. But upon again going to Customs I was told the boat had to cross the border by a common carrier truck. In a moment of desperation, I asked if a 100-ton Coast Guard license would do. The guy smiled and said, park and go into the office.
In the office they made me a "common carrier" to go through the gate, stop at the really tall checkout place made for big rigs, not a Tundra, and then I was no longer a "common carrier".
Sometimes they just get it done.
 

Latest posts




Top