Recently, there has been a lively and ongoing discussion taking place on the AGLCA Forum about the so-called Florida Sojourner’s Permit. This string of messages was kicked off by a posting which opined that the Sunshine State had cancelled the Sojourner’s permit.
NOT SO! That, as pointed out in all the subsequent messages on the AGLCA forum, was bad info from a badly informed Florida county official. And, by the way, many Florida county officials are NOT fully (or sometimes even partly) informed about this important document for cruisers.
So, even though the SSECN presented a thorough discussion of this issue back in September of 2012 (see /?p=97389) we thought a perusal of the various AGLCA messages on this subject below, would be very helpful to the cruising community.
First, though, why is it important to get a Sojourner’s Permit if you plan to have your vessel in Floridian waters longer than 90 days. There are at least two reasons:
1. If your vessel is registered in another state besides Florida, you can operate in Floridian water for up to 90 days without a problem. HOWEVER, if your vessel is Federally Documented, and NOT ALSO state registered, you MUST register it with the state of Florida, or you may be ticketed immediately upon entering Floridian waters. Or, put another way, Federally Documented vessels MUST ALSO be state registered (either with Florida or another state), or you face the possibility of a ticket.
By the way, it’s this onerous feature of Florida state law that used to allow the “Venice Water Nazi” to ticket boats coming and going in the city of Venice.
If your vessel remains in Florida for longer than 90 days, even if it’s registered in another state, YOU MUST ALSO REGISTER IT IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA UNLESS YOU OBTAIN A SOJOURNER’S PERMIT! Conversely, iF you succeed in getting a Sojourner’s Permit in hand you will not have to fork over for a costly FL state registration (again, see below) for stays up to 11 months.
My, my wasn’t that fun!
2. With a Sojourner’s Permit, you will NOT be hassled to pay sales tax on your vessel. I know this sounds crazy, but if your boat has been owned out of state for less a year before being brought into Florida, and the state in which you purchased your vessel does not collect sales tax on purchases of pleasure boats, the Sunshine State will actually try to charge sales tax on your vessel’s purchase price, if you stay in Floridian waters longer than 90 days (without a Sojourner’s Permit). So, to avoid this ridiculous and expensive charge, get a Sojourner’s Permit. Again, crazy, I know!
OK, so the above is why obtaining a Sojourner’s Permit is a really good idea. How does not obtain such a document?
We are pleased to report that our good friend, Captain Mike Dickens at Paradise Yacht Sales and Service (Fernandina Beach, FL, http://www.paradiseyachtsales.net/CruisingCenter2.html) provides what cruisers need to obtain one of these permits on his web site. Follow the links below.
Sojourner’s Permit Form – http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/forms/BTR/87244.pdf
Sojourner’s Permit Instructions – http://www.paradiseyachtsales.net/Sojourner1.pdf
Hopefully, along with a little cash, that’s all you will need to cruise tax free in the Sunshine State for up to 11 months.
Click Link Below to Peruse the Full Discussion: