Posted by: wrmcnutt | November 19, 2009


I’m walking a little funny today.  A certain portion of my anatomy is sore.  It suffered an unanticipated injury.

For the uninitiated, I have bought a boat. I found the boat I wanted on-line, drove to Richmond, Virginia, and paid cash, and towed it home.  A quick glance at the bow revealed Virginia registration numbers.  I don’t know much about owning boats yet, as my previous boating experience has been with overgrown beach toys. But I was pretty sure that using a boat with Virginia numbers in Tennessee would, in some way, cause problems with Virginia cooties or something.  So I did what any rational geek would do.  I went to Google and typed in “How do I register my boat in Tennessee?”  As almost always happens, Google had my answer, immediately.  Not too surprisingly, it’s the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Resources Agency who track boats here in Tennessee.

“Bummer, sez I.”  I’m sure they’re nice guys, but I wasn’t looking forward to hunting down TWR, wherever their offices may be, and getting the registration forms.  Then I notice that the local County Clerk’s office has the forms.  You go down there, pick up the form, fill it out, and mail it in with a check.  Obnoxious, but livable.  You should be able to do this on-line.  Postal mail? In this day and age? I mean, really.  But the good news is that the County Clerk’s office is less than four blocks from here.

And so I set out.  It was beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the birds that haven’t flown south yet were singing, and a gentle breeze was blowing.  The only thing wrong with the day was that I was at work, and walking to the Old City Hall on my lunch break, instead of sailing.

So, like an idiot, I toodled on down there.  As I walked, the skies began to darken.  When I reached the 150-year-old building, I glanced up, and the dark clouds were swirling in a dark vortex.  Sleet bounced off the brim of my hat.  As I walked through the graveyard in front of the building, the charnel house scent of death filled my nostrils.  Reaching the top of the stairs, I stepped over the small family of scorpions and tarantulas, and opened the door.  The ancient hinges creaked with the sound of lost souls, doomed to wander the earth.  I approached the security station.

The hunch-backed guard, wearing a dark hood, shuffled forward. “Please deposit any pocket knives here.  And step through the scanner.  Oh, and please also leave behind any crucifixes, holy water, or other holy symbols.”  He smiled, revealing brown teeth.  I did as I was told and proceeded into the vehicle registration office.

As I approached the window that did not have anyone waiting, lightning flashed, the light glinting off the horns of the woman behind the counter.    Foolishly, I told her at the window that I’d bought a boat in Virginia and needed to register it in Tennessee.  She smiled.  I somehow missed the fangs.  “Do you have your bill of sale?”

Moronically, I replied, “Sure.  Here it is,” and then I actually handed it to her. She turned to go to the copier, and the leathery rustle of her batlike wings quietly filled the air.  She returned, her cloven hooves clicking on the tile floor.  She then seated herself at her computer, and proceeded to type for about twenty solid minutes.  When she was done, she looked up at me, and spoke again.  This time the sulfur on her breath was unmistakable.

“Here you go,” she said.  And presented me with an invoice for a thousand freaking dollars!!!

The great state of Tennessee, apparently, feels entitled to the sales tax I would have paid, had I bought my boat in Tennessee.  I had neither anticipated, nor budgeted for this.

It’s not quite irony, but it is kinda funny.  She did have the form I needed.  I’ve filled it out, but I still have to mail it in with the registration fee.  I’m out a thousand freaking dollars and I still don’t have my boat registered.

So my advice to you, if you need to register a new boat?  Go directly to the fish and wildlife guys.  They only want about thirty dollars, per year, and, as far as I know, don’t tell the state revenuers.

The whole experience has left me with an uncontrollable twitch in my right leg every time I think of TN state legislators.  I have a deep, deep need to kick them in the groin.  If you see me on TV being led somewhere in handcuffs, that will probably be why.

Oh, the funny walk? It’s caused by pain in my wallet.

UPDATE:  Alas, the fish and wildlife guys will not honor said form unless it’s been stamped by the cloven-hooved taxed invoicers.  No way around that sales tax if you want Tennessee numbers.

[iframe width=”1″ height=”1″ src=”″%5D



  1. OUCH !!!!!!!!!!

  2. Same in Wisconsin. All boat registrations are subject to 5% (more in certain counties) sales tax, transfer fee if changing hands, and the registration fee on top of that. Boats over 16′ need to be titled. If you can bypass sales tax by going direct to the government agency, you are lucky.

    Oh yeah, ouch!

    • It didn’t occur to me to budget for such a thing. I don’t generally buy high-ticket items from individuals. Used cars, for example, come from dealers, not the classifieds. Other stuff I buy over the internet doesn’t get taxed, either. So an internet purchase from an individual just didn’t occur to me as being particularly taxable. OOOWWWWW.

  3. Poor Bill. Sorry about that assault on the wallet. A little batwing powder and confusion oil would have done the trick. Next time, talk to ME first, ‘kay?

  4. Been thee, done that! I too enjoy life in the shawow of the Smoky Mtns & likewise had to pay the Piper/Gov for my out of state Peep Hen. I’ll be on Douglas in the Spring, perhaps we can lift a cool one together if we cross wakes!

    • Douglas is on the itinerary for this summer. Maybe I’ll see you. September Blue is, well blue, with a white deck and standard white sails. Look for hull #1503 on the sail. There will be cool ones on board.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: