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Old 09-04-2009, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Woodbridge, VA
12 posts, read 33,961 times
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Hi. Does anyone know of any good websites, books, magazines, etc., for one to study up on what it takes to get into boating in Northern Virginia? For example, what is required at the (Prince William) county level, and the state level as far as boat and trailor registrations? Are there licenses / cerificates involved? I wish to ask specifically about the Potomac River and its bays, as it seems that Maryland jurisdiction stretches across the entire river to the Virginia shoreline. Thanks.
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:53 PM
 
3,986 posts, read 6,597,268 times
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Originally Posted by USroute1 View Post
Hi. Does anyone know of any good websites, books, magazines, etc., for one to study up on what it takes to get into boating in Northern Virginia? For example, what is required at the (Prince William) county level, and the state level as far as boat and trailor registrations? Are there licenses / cerificates involved? I wish to ask specifically about the Potomac River and its bays, as it seems that Maryland jurisdiction stretches across the entire river to the Virginia shoreline. Thanks.

Most boats have to be registered....

In Maryland it is done by the Dept of Natural Resources:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

In Virginia by:
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

There's lots of other boating info at those sites, as well.

You are correct that the Potomac River belongs to Maryland, stretching to the low tide line on the Virginia shore. (except that the River from the WW Bridge to Great Falls is under the jurisdiction of Washington DC). Tributaries like the Occoquan River, Pohick Bay, Aquia Creek, etc are under Virginia's jurisdiction.

Although the River is Maryland's, most folks register (trailered) boats in the state in which they live. However, if say, you rent a slip in a Maryland marina, and keep the boat in the water most of the time, then they want you to register the boat in Maryland, regardless of where you live.

The trailer is titled and registered by DMV, just like your car. However, unlike cars, you can buy a permanent license plate for the trailer which is valid for as long as you own the trailer (no renewals). Larger trailers with brakes require the annual Safety Inspection.

On the County level, it's all about taxes. The dreaded "car tax" is also the
dreaded "boat tax"!

Another good site is Boat Owners Assn of the United States:
BoatUS.com: BoatUS Home Page

Boat US is a great source for boat insurance, financing, and marine supplies, with several stores in the area. They are also sort of an AAA for boats with on the water towing and other bennies for members.

Boat "drivers' licenses" is a national controversy that has been raging for decades, but there is no boat operators licensing law in VA or MD to date. (except of course, for "for hire" vessels like charter fishing boats or sightseeing boats. for that you must hold a US Coast Guard captains license)

If you are new to boating, you should take a safe boating course. The US Coast Guard Auxiliary has a good one, as does US Power Squadron chapters.
http://www.cgaux.org/
http://www.usps.org/

For reading material, the "bible of boating" is "Chapman's Piloting, Seamanship, and Small Boat Handling"...a big book published since the 1800's. Available at Amazon or most boat stores.


I've been boating on the Potomac and Chesapeake since I was a little kid (50+ years)....the last 30 or so years aboard my classic (wood) 57 foot Chris*Craft motor yacht, so I'm pretty familiar with this stuff. Fire away with any questions you might have!

Last edited by car54; 09-04-2009 at 06:22 PM..
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