Boat and trailer licenses in question during Selectmen's meeting

By Zarrin Tasnim Ahmed | Oct 18, 2016
Photo by: Zarrin Tasnim Ahmed Selectman Peter Teitelbaum will further discuss options for marine dealer's licenses with Attorney Richard Bowen.

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.

Comments (9)
Posted by: Spherebreaker | Oct 19, 2016 06:05

Its a boat trailer. just make sure the trailer is registered as a boat trailer. How is a semi trailer registered that hauls coconuts or Hillary's absentee ballots?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 19, 2016 09:16

How do other towns deal with the issue?  We are a seaside boating community for crying out loud.  Hard to believe this is something new.  Marinas and other businesses that move boats around on trailers have been doing so for a hundred years.  Why does it sound like the wheel needs to be reinvented?  Ask the neighbors.  How does Marion, Bourne, & Mattapoisett deal with this?


Sounds like they need the time to "figure out the logistics" so they can create a way to stick it to the marinas and boat dealers with fees.  Wait and see.  Mr. Cornish needs to hold on to his wallet.  After all, boats = wealth so let's go after the boat businesses for revenue.  Shame on them for selling luxurious boats in this poor town.  Oh yea, when they are at it they'll make sure the signs at the marinas are up to regulations.  Then they'll also make sure the marinas aren't selling used boat parts without a junk license.        


Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Oct 19, 2016 11:57

No wonder why this town is so messed up . These so called "leaders" are worrying / bugging businesses that bring bring jobs to the town . Go shake down the "Welly " motels .

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 19, 2016 16:21

Hi Swifts, please enlighten me on the term "Welly".  Pardon my ignorance.  I read it in your previous posts but don't know what it means.  Probably comes from the same dictionary that  my favorite, Warehamy comes from.

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Oct 19, 2016 17:46

The term "Welly" comes from Boston Street Slag meaning one who is dependent on Welfare and other free government handouts and never seeks to change it . Example  go down the school and get your block of Welly Cheese .  Welly cheese is that big hunk of orange cheese that is nasty . There use to be many Wellys in Charlestown and Southie but the ignorant Yuppies moved in .. Wareham please don't hesitate to ask for anymore ..

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 19, 2016 21:42

Thanks Swifts!  Makes sense.  Glad I asked.  I've experienced that cheese as a little kid in the early 80s.  I remember it wouldn't melt and made lousy toasted cheese sandwiches.  My retired grandparents used to get it as part of their social security and then give it to us.  I'm from up that way...grew up at the top of the Irish Riviera.  So I know all about the gentrification you describe.  Thanks again...and yes, Welly belongs in that dictionary with Warehamy.         

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Oct 20, 2016 08:40

Wareham , anytime.

Posted by: greycat | Oct 20, 2016 22:25

Funny thing.  Trailers are neither automobiles nor motor vehicles.  They have no means of independent propulsion.  yet they are classified as such.  There are more than a few businesses in town that sell trailers, new and used.  Home Depot, Tractor Supply, Lowe's, Robie's, Harris equipment to name afew.  How are they treated?  Sounds almost like a solution looking for a problem.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 21, 2016 09:17

I believe those places carry the proper paperwork such as titles/bills of sale and even the RMV forms.  Their trailers sit as inventory until sold.  Upon purchase of a trailer from Tractor Supply, for example, one needs to go to the registry to pay the sales tax and register it.  Those places are not towing their trailers around on the road.


A boat place like a marina or boat yard needs to move boats around on the road on the trailers before they are sold.  Meaning they are not registered.  Just like a car dealer moves cars around that are not sold and not registered.  They use a dealer plate.  Seems simple enough.  Boat places need something similar.  As I said earlier, it is hard to believe that they don't already have something like this. 


I saw the convoys of boats last January being towed up 495 to the Boston Boat show.  All brand new, all on individual trailers.  How are they legally doing that?       



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