Agent’s Handbook for Registration of Undocumented Vessels

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Section 9 of 9

Definition of Terms

9.000 Definition of Terms (CVC §§9840, 9871.5 and CH&NC §651)

  • Amphibious Vehicle—A vehicle/vessel combination by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn, both upon water and upon a highway on land.
  • Documented Vessel—Any vessel which is documented by the U.S. Coast Guard and is issued a valid marine certificate. Some examples are any:
    • Commercial vessel five net tons or more.
    • Commercial vessel 30 feet or more in length (unless an exemption is granted by the U.S. Coast Guard).
    • Yacht or pleasure vessel documented at the request of the owner.
  • Interstate Commerce—A vessel engaged for compensation in transporting persons or property in more than one state.
  • Legal Owner—A person holding the legal title to a vessel under a conditional sales contract; the mortgagee of a vessel; or the renter or lessor of a vessel to the state, or to any county, city, district, or political subdivision of the state, under a lease, lease sale, or rental purchase agreement which grants possession of the vessel to the lessee for a period of 30 consecutive days or more.
  • Livery Vessel—Any vessel subject to registration under the California Vehicle Code that is held primarily for the purpose of renting, leasing, or chartering to others.
  • Owner—A person having all the incidents of ownership, including the legal title of a vessel whether or not such person lends, rents, or pledges such vessel; the person entitled to the possession of a vessel as the purchaser under a conditional sale contract; or the mortgagor of a vessel.
  • Personal Watercraft—A vessel less than 12 feet in length, propelled by machinery, that is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneel ing on the vessel, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.
  • Registered Owner—The person registered by Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as the owner of the vessel.
  • Situs—Principal location of the vessel.
  • State of Principal Use—The state on which waters a vessel is used or intended to be used most during a calendar year.
  • True Full Name—True full name is the complete, exact name used on legal documents, such as a driver license, and includes a person’s first name/initial, middle name/initial, and last name. The name must be sufficient to ensure identification of the owner.
  • Undocumented Vessel—Any vessel which is not required to have, and does not have, a valid marine document issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Use of Waters—To navigate, operate, employ, or moor any vessel upon the waters of this state.
  • Vessel—Includes every description of watercraft used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water except a:
    • Seaplane on water.
    • Watercraft specifically designed to operate on a permanently fixed course, the movement of which is restricted to a fixed track or arm to which the watercraft is attached or by which the watercraft is controlled.
    • Floating structure designed and built to be used as a stationary waterborne residential dwelling which:

Does not have, and is not designed to have, a mode of power of its own, is dependent for utilities upon a continuous utility linkage to a source originating on shore, and has a permanent, continuous hookup to a shoreside sewage system.

  • Vessel Agent—A bona fide dealer, broker, or both, appointed, but not licensed, by DMV.
  • Vessel Carrying Passengers for Hire—Any vessel subject to registration under the California Vehicle Code used for transportation of any person by such vessel for valuable consideration, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person interested in the vessel.
  • Vessel Dealer—A person who is engaged wholly or in part in the business of selling or offering for sale, buying, or taking in trade for the purpose of resale, or exchanging any vessel or vessels and receives, or expects to receive, money, profit, or any other thing of value. Vessel and marine dealers are not licensed by DMV. For questions regarding licenses for retail businesses selling vessels and related marine equipment, see your local city and county administrative offices and the State Board of Equalization.
  • Vessel Manufacturer—A person who is engaged wholly or in part in the business of building or assembling vessels, who subsequently offers these vessels for sale and receives, or expects to receive, money, profit, or any other thing of value resulting from such transactions.
  • Waters of the State—Any waters within the territorial limits of this state, including private water bodies.
  • Yacht and Ship Broker—A person licensed by the Department of Boating and Waterways, who, for compensation, negotiates the purchase, sale, or exchange of yachts, and who does not own such yachts.
  • Yacht or Ship—Any vessel 16 or more feet in length and under 300 gross tons used navigating in water and designed to be propelled by motor or sail.
  • Dinghy—Small open boat carried on or towed by a larger boat or yacht; may be propelled by oars sails or an outboard motor.
  • Life boat—One of the small boats carried by a ship for use if the ship must be abandoned.