Delaware hypocritical on trailer registration

May 26, 2014

I have many things to mention to the folks of Sussex County and our government, but I will start with an easy one. I have read recently that Delaware law enforcement is going to "crack down” on folks that operate their trailers, and I guess tractor trailers or other large vehicles allowed to move on our roads, because of where they are licensed.

They are primarily targeting anything that is registered in Maine because Maine does not hassle you and their registrations are cheap. I personally own a large construction trailer that after hours spent at our Motor Vehicle Department, and the conclusion that I had to pay close to $1,000 to register the trailer in Delaware for a year, I decided to try the Maine idea.

I have not used this trailer for four years now. Between myself and my friends, it might get one annual use, which makes a grand for a five-mile tow fairly expensive. But because of all sorts of issues in Delaware, again I contacted Maine, sent them 20 bucks and received a very nice license plate in the mail.

My concern with Delaware’s decision to make it difficult to run a Maine registered vehicle on Delaware roads is this: Delaware is the place that invented this revenue-generating model. Maine did nothing but follow the Delaware model almost exactly. For as long as I have known, Delaware has been the low-price haven for registering any type of boat.

I have walked the docks of Palm Beach and 90 percent-plus of the boats have Dover, Del. as the home port. These boats have never seen Delaware for the most part. Imagine my surprise when going to various Islands all around the world and finding once again that a majority of boats had Delaware as their home ports. I found $5,000,000 F&S’s and $8,000,000 Merritts, all at home in their berths at, say, Barbados, or virtually any place in the world, all with a Delaware registry. Why?

The same reason Maine licensed my trailer: money. We will register a $10,000,000 yacht built in, say, Honduras and owned by a guy in Russia (maybe through a Delaware straw corporation), for a few hundred bucks, where other states would charge the owner thousands of dollars for a registration.

It is just so hypocritical that Maine followed the Delaware model exactly, and we take offense. Every state and country in the world is offended by Delaware’s cheap boating registrations, but we gripe about a state that does exactly what we taught them to do. If we are going to keep a corner on the boating market, we have to give large vehicles to Maine. If not, we have to give up boats and that revenue stream. Thank you for your time.

John D. Floyd, Jr.

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