Stupid Government Indignity of the Day

I had an employee in a truck towing a pontoon boat from a marina we operate in Alabama to a marina we operate in California.  Apparently, we have grossly violated the law because to haul our boat from our own facility in one state to our own facility in another requires that we register as an interstate motor carrier and put DOT numbers on all of our vehicles.  Just great.  Who wants to bet that this will be an enormous and expensive hassle?

Update: Credit where it is due:  The application online was totally arcane (and of course the help link and instructions links were broken) but the guy at the DOT help line was remarkably helpful and walked me through it.  It was pretty clear that a lot of folks who casually transport their private property across state lines gets swept up in this net, and they actually were prepared to be helpful.  I did have to laugh when the very first screen of the application process was to get my credit card number - I think this clarifies the reason for this licensing process.


  1. Captain Obviousness:

    Can you FedEx a pontoon boat?

  2. Methinks:

    That'll teach to to not ask for permission from the state the next time you want to breathe.

  3. jsalvatier:

    Could you hire someone to do it who does not work for your company? Could you sell it to someone, have them transport it and have them sell it back?

  4. fallout11:

    Nothing quite like junk fees for what amounts to no tangible benefit.

  5. Matt:


    The solution to your problem, as pointed out by jsalvatier, will be to hire an incumbent business to do the task for you. And what is it you always say about regulation and incumbents?

    "Even truckers support DOT regulations!"

    I am a faithful student, Prof. Meyer. Extra credit for me.

  6. Brad K.:

    Did you read the small print, that you have to die and sign your company over to the IRS, before your heirs get to stop paying taxes as an interstate motor carrier?

    Or that you can't trade your vehicles in for Cash for Clunkers? Or that you can never drive past a weigh station again?

    Or that your insurance carrier cares a *lot* about little details like this?

    Sorry you got your feet wet in that pond.

  7. Allen:

    No fun. Reminds me that I'm always a bit surprised they've never required some sort of temp interstate license to drive a Uhaul from one state to another.

  8. Jody:

    Reminds me that I’m always a bit surprised they’ve never required some sort of temp interstate license to drive a Uhaul from one state to another.

    Story 1:
    One of my parents' favorite stories to tell when on the road relates to the first time they had a big move together and rented a UHaul. My father, feeling puckish, decided to pull into a weigh station like the "big boys". Turns out they were grossly overweight for the vehicle which led to UHaul getting fined.

    Story 2:
    3 times in my life, I have purchased enough liquor from the state ABC store that the store had to issue me temprorary 1-day licenses to transport that much liquor in case I got pulled over on the way home. Didn't cost me anything, but looking back, I regret not saving and framing the licenses. God only knows what would've been necessary had I crossed state lines.

  9. Everitt Mickey:

    I'm not sure that's the case.

    I think all that's required is to have "NOT FOR HIRE" prominently displayed on the truck, as well as having proof of ownership of the load.

    DOT numbers and etc only apply when hauling for hire.

  10. Dan:

    I'm surprised California didn't make you get a motor Carrier permit.

  11. Dr. T:

    Given our current government, you were lucky they didn't break open the pontoon welds to see if your employee was hauling illegal drugs or cash.

    The ninth amendment to the Constitution was written to protect rights that weren't mentioned in the earlier amendments (such as the right to privacy and the right to travel freely). Are any rights remaining for the ninth amendment to protect?

  12. dr kill:

    Everitt is correct,otherwise your driver needed a CDL, too. You been hosed, partner,

  13. Michael:

    The "NOT FOR HIRE" works but is a hassle. I know someone that does this and is always getting tickets. He always wins his cases but I don't think you want to be visiting mayor courts across America.

  14. Mesa Econoguy:

    I may be of service here.

    Please stand by for further info….

  15. ParatrooperJJ:

    Jody - If you had crossed state lines it would have been multiple felonies.

  16. smurfy:

    Good thing it wasn't a boat from a marina you own on lake Mead, or you'd have to pass the new quagga muscle inspection too.

    I'm surprised you didn't have to hire a lab to certify that your driver pissed in the cup (maybe he already does?)