28 July 2010

In Defense of John Kerry, Kinda

Last Friday, the Boston Herald broke a story that Mass. Senator, John Kerry was using the boat haven state of Rhode Island to berth his new $7 million dollar yacht.  No matter how many jokes there are in there somewhere about a Senator being able to afford a seven figure blow-boat with the millions his heiress wife probably gave him to buy it, it seems the Senator put himself into quite a pickle.  The Bay state collects a 6.25% sales tax on all new boat sales and another 1% annual excise tax on luxury yachts.  If you work the numbers, that's roughly $437,500 on the boat for sales tax and another $70,000 recurring charge.

While, I question the motives of keeping the boat in RI knowing that there is always an eye of suspension with public servants commandants these days, let us point out that the time honored tradition of boat registration has always been, register where the boat is kept and operated the most.  According to the Herald article, the ship's designer is based out of Rhode Island, which would make some sense for why 'Isabel' is kept there for regular maintenance and upkeep.  It is not uncommon for custom boat builders to require maintenance contracts or "sole seller" agreements in the event you decide to sell later down the road.  That said, I dug into the Massachusetts Envrionmental Police website to find just what Massachusetts qualifies as "home waters" for vessels registered with the USCG. 
I live in another state but sometimes boat in Massachusetts. Do I need to register and title my boat? 
Visiting boat owners who are registered in another state are allowed to boat in Massachusetts for up to 60 consecutive days without obtaining a Massachusetts registration and title. If you plan to keep the boat in Massachusetts for more than 60 consecutive days, you must obtain a Massachusetts registration and title certificate. 
As I have always understood it, this also applies the other way, in that if you operate your vessel in waters outside of your state of residence, or you keep the vessel in those waters on a permanent or plurality basis, then that is where you should register her.  

Obviously, since the ruling class's standard for those of us in the country class is of a high level, so too are we obligated to hold them to the same standards and challenge their intentions.  Considering Kerry is practicing what he preaches on this issue, and is going to pony up to the state for his obfuscated taxes, I am willing to give him a pass.  Perhaps we could give him a pass from the Senate and sending him sailing around the world Magellan style? 

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