These excellent and informative discussions on Florida’s Sojourner’s Permit are from our good friends on AGLCA’s Forum. Thanks to them all! If you have more to add, let us hear from you!
The Sojourner’s Permit is a cruiser Florida Vessel Registration and Decal. Read More
Sandra Kay & Nelson
Mike writes: “I am not a lawyer, but I slept in the parking lot of a Holiday Express once, I think.”
Which is exactly what Officer Obie may think of your arguments. We can play both sides of this for months, it’s a fun Looper topic.
The bottom line is that if you get stopped by Officer Obie on the water, there is a better than even chance (*) he’ll give you some of Florida’s finest parchment with his signature on it. Question is, are you up for a visit from Obie and a possibility of a discussion with a Judge, or do you want to buy the sticker and put it in the window and not need to worry about it.
Please note that the charge for the permit is based on boat length, it’s not a fixed fee. Sandra posted their charges, mine for a 45′ was ~$120.
(*) Florida passed a law about random boat stops, now days if you get stopped they most likely have a reason.
Foster & Susan
Ben, you are absolutely correct. There is nothing in Florida law called a sojourner’s or temporary permit. Look at the form everybody references. The title is “Application to Register Non-Titled Vessels” Nowhere do you see “sojourner” or “temporary”. Just because some webmaster in Sarasota put the words on that website it doesn’t make it so.
There is nothing temporary about this registration. When it expires you will get a notice to renew it. Of course if you are out of Florida by then you can just let it expire. I have been renewing mine for 10 years.
If you need more proof search this website for “sojourn” or any form of it:
You will get no hits; zero, nada.
My guess is that some looper made up the term years ago and it has been passed down through the years as looper lore. In some county tax offices they have heard the term used by loopers so many times that they now respond with the correct form instead of saying, “What are you talking about?”
When you go in the tax office don’t ask for a sojourner’s permit. Say, “I am going to have my boat in Florida more that 90 days and I understand that I need to register it here.” That will work in every county.
Jim, when that webmaster is working on behalf of the county tax collector, it probably does matter! Is this the website for Sarasota you’re referring to? https://www.sarasotataxcollector.com/services/other-services/vessels-boating/sojourner-temporary-registration
A quick Google search of “florida sojourner registration” found several other FL county tax assessors using the term. I’m not a lawyer, either, but laws and regulations aren’t the same thing: actual laws are usually pretty concise, but the regulations that flow from them can be quite detailed, since they need to cover so many situations that may arise. For example, Florida law includes a homestead exemption that reduces property taxes and limits their rate of increase for residents who make the state their legal domicile…but what steps one needs to take to get this exemption is left up to each county’s tax assessor. I live in Pinellas county and the hurdle is higher here than some other Florida counties even though it’s the same state! Welcome to Florida!
Alex is right, a lot of Tax offices know what you are talking about when you ask for a Sojourner Permit. They know about it after years of Loopers coming and asking for it. The people in the tax office in Apalachicola (Franklin County) knew about it and had me in and out (minus $120 ) in minutes.
When I looked at the law in 2014, it did say Sojourners Permit. Not up to digging around.
But I am up to my refrain “the purpose of the permit is to not give Officer Obie a reason to pull you over and have a long discussion when you are trying to be on the rising tide to make docktails 5 hours from then.
Foster & Susan
For those whose boats are over 30 years old. You can register the boat as an antique for $4.50 a year!
Mitch & Carole Brodkin
A while back Paradise Yachts put out this great link. It provides the instruction page and the application form. I high recommend you read the instruction page, and bring it to the Tax Office with you and all of the forms requested. Yes, some offices do not know what you are talking about, but when they see the instruction page they know how to help you. It is very easy. Here is the link.
The instructions and form are highlighted near the bottom of the article.
guess we will need to revisit this topic again ~ a few months ago we followed all of the directions and tracked down/ contacted the lady in fernandina beach even though she had moved to another department ~ we were passing through on our way to the bahamas and we weren’t sure how long we would be in florida…what i heard her tell me is that the sojourner’s permit wasn’t done anymore or really worth anything – since all we had to do was leave for a day and go out into international waters and come back>>>> so if anyone can provide a mailing address and instructions for how to do this or if it is really necessary or tested and worked? it would be appreciated. our boat is registered in nc and also uscg documented and owned by a georgia llc with a georgia hailing port. we have plans to be back in florida in december and want to take our time cruising the keys etc. before we head back up the west coast etc. thanks!