Boat and trailer licenses in question during Selectmen's meeting
You can't move a boat on a road without a trailer, and you can't haul a trailer without a registering it. So how do marinas that have multiple boats and trailers for sale conduct business, especially when there's no license specific for selling boats or trailers?
That's the question the Board of Selectmen tried to – and couldn't – answer on Tuesday night.
The issue came up when John Cornish, owner of Atlantic Boats, couldn't acquire a permit to transport boats without a dealer's number, which is required by the state, from the town. Cornish sells new and used boats at his business located on Cranberry Highway.
Chair Judith Whiteside said this issue has been occurring for years.
"I've asked for years, 'How do we license boat dealers?' and the answer is, 'Oh, well, we just do,' and that obviously is not the case," said Whiteside.
Currently, there is no special dealer's license for marina owners to put on their trailers when transporting boats.
Trailers must have license plates on them if they are on the road, whether they haul a boat or not. Private boat owners can register the trailers they own, and the state will tax them accordingly.
For sellers like Atlantic Boats who have multiple trailers, it would be ideal to acquire a dealer's license plate that's transferrable to trailers used on public ways.
Tropeano suggested supplying auto dealer's licenses outside of the town's quota for Class I and II auto dealer's licenses.
In Massachusetts, automotive dealer regulations are mandated by state law but issued by local communities. This means that everyone follows the same rules passed by state lawmakers, but to actually obtain a license, dealers need to apply to local municipal offices.
Class I licenses are issued to dealers selling new cars. Class II licenses are used for selling used cars. Under state law, trailers fall under the regulations of Class I and II licenses.
"We have given, in the past, auto licenses to boat dealers who sold trailers,” said Tropeano. “We did it a few times and we kept it outside of the dealer licenses so it didn't affect the number of dealer licenses that we allowed.”
Looking ahead, Selectmen said a solution wasn't immediately apparent.
“I'm not sure what we're going to come up with,” said Whiteside.
They had to set the conversation down, deciding to let Selectman Peter Teitelbaum and Attorney Richard Bowen figure out the logistics at a later time.