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Old 05-11-2010, 06:06   #1
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Location: Solomons, MD
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Buying an Ex-Charter Boat and Bringing it Back to US ?

Ok just thowing the idea around and have a few questions for those that have done this:

1. Ex-Charter prices seem very reasonable up front. How much wiggle room is built in to their asking prices in general?

2. What local taxes/fees if any were added on to price (say buying in BVI for example)?

3. What documentation should you leave with for registration in the U.S?

4. What taxes/fees did you pay when you registered back in U.S. (I know each state is different)? What state is best (minimal taxes/fees) to register on the East Coast?

5. Did you hire a delivery skipper or did you do it yourself? How much was the delivery to the east coast or your area?

6. How did you find a good local surveyor and what were their fees?

7. Did you have to outfit for the delivery and what did you buy (EPIRB, Liferaft, SSB Radio etc)?

Thats it for now I will add as I think of additional questions.

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Old 05-11-2010, 06:25   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Caribbean
Boat: Jeanneau 57
Posts: 1,541
I bought an ex-charter boat in the BVI - from Sunsail/Moorings.

1. Depends upon who owns it. Usually ex-charter owners expect too much. If the charter company owns the boat (in my case the owners had gone to another boat so Sunsail was the nominal owner) then the know the market and will price aggressively to get it off the books and there won't be as much "wiggle".
2. No taxes or fees.
3. Depends upon the flag of the vessel you are buying, each country has its own paperwork. You will need a Bill of Sale and registration and/or de-flagging paperwork and will usually get a "letter of running" that most Caribbean countries accept until the new paperwork is completed.
4. Don't know
5. Don't know
6. Several surveyors in the BVI are recommendable. Don't accept the seller's recommendation blindly - use forums such as this one to get suggestions for the location where the boat it.
7. None of the items you mentioned are required for the USA, so it is a matter of personal preference for you. You will usually need to buy your own dinghy but some of the charter companies sell their old ones at good prices. Charter boats don't have EPIRBS, SSB Radios and usually don't have radar or any items not used for charter.
-Zanshin (SV Zanshin)
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:47   #3
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Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
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I have a boat in charter with the Moorings in the BVIs and have looked into both seling it and running with it, so hopefully I can shed some light on some of your questions.

Most boats chartered by the Tui Marine services, (Moorings, Sunsail and Footlose) are owned by private owners. A brokered sale would therefore be much like any other brokered boat sale and is negotable. I think the difference is that there will be many boats of the same age, same make and same outfitting all for sale at the same location at the same time. The result is that there is a more defined market price and fewer owners who have outrageously high asking prices. When I talked to a broker, I observed my model boat at least tended to have asking prices about 10% above what they were selling for at the time. There is wiggle room but I think you will find it's more defined than with other used boats for sale.

Many of the Moorings boats are U.S. documented. Mine is. I can't speak to the process for registering foreign documented boats, but I'm sure they can help you out as that must happen all the time. I think where you are more likely to get nailed (and where I may get nailed) is with the state you bring the boat back to and their state registration process. They may tax you on the value of the boat. Obviously, the charter boats, won't be registered in any U.S. state.

If I keep my boat, I'll probably sail it back to the U.S. myself. Should be a fun ride with the currents and prevailing winds.

As the Zanshin said, the charter boats for sale usually don't come equipped with SSB's, dinghy's, etc.

Check into insurance.

My experience is that charter boats get hard use, but they often don't have the neglect and jury-rigged projects that many boats for sale by non charter owners have. They needed to be maintained to charter-ready standards. It probably has more engine hours than someone who ocassionally day sailed, but they often put a larger engine in the boat in the first place. Different trade-offs.
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