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Old 25-05-2012, 10:30   #1
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Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Hi,
I'm an EU-citizen and bought a sailing boat in the US. I'm not intending to take the boat to Europe nor leave it to US, but would need a convenient place to register and use the boat at. Can anyone give an insight to registration and associated cost in convenient locations?
I'm definitely not an expert in the matter, and I would like to minimize the costs arising from the registration and taxation.
What options do I have? Are reasonable destinations (safety, cost, hassle, etc) near Europe to be considered? I understand EU is out of question because of the CE-requirements and the high VAT, but how about nearby locations, such as Canary Islands, Gibraltar, Malta, Azores..? And how about the Caribbean? Any so called flag of convenience -options for me?
I would need to be able to register with minimum cost and hassle, without the requirement of the boat actually being in the destination country.
Also the boat needs work (fiberglass, electric, general maintenance) which I'll try to accomplish by myself as far as possible.
The boat is US-made, about 20-years old, 60 feet.
Thanks and I appreciate your help.
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Old 25-05-2012, 11:44   #2
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Some EU sailors register their boats in Belgium. I assume Belgium is EU but may have relatively relaxed regulations.

In West Indies some boats get registered in Cayman Is. and some others in Virgin Islands (I believe BVI). This may be related to setting up an offshore company.

You cannot register your boat in Canary Islands (based on your needs). CI are part of EU and have strict and painful registration procedure.

I have seen boats registered in Vanuatu but some say this trick is already over.

b.
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Old 25-05-2012, 11:48   #3
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Why not U.S.??
You can register your boat in most states (AT 20 Y.O., you should be able to reg. as antique at SIGNIFICANTLY reduced fee.

mm
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Old 25-05-2012, 13:16   #4
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Hey, I am a dutch passport holder living in Brazil. I bought my Bav in Croatia and registered her very cheap on BVI, being an European you can. All can be done without visiting the BVI. As a bonus you can use the beautiful "red ensign" from the BVI.

This counts for all the "red ensign" members.
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Old 26-05-2012, 05:57   #5
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

I understand I cannot register in the US because I'm not a citizen nor have a residency or green card.

Regarding BVI I had this reply from a New England registration company, (not sure how accurate this actually is and I'm NOT a British citizen, just EU):
"Regarding your question on the BVI - Caribbean registration, we don't really do this anymore. In order to have a vessel registered under BVI the owner must qualify as a British citizen. Sometimes people establish a BVI company corporation to own the vessel. There are considerable set up costs plus annual registered agent and tonnage taxes. Also, the boat must have a tonnage survey....it is a process that is done by a company like Bureau Veritas or Lloyds where they calculate the tonnage of the vessel. That alone costs some money....plus the registration fees...makes it cost prohibitive these days. Since the State of Florida has changed its maximum sales tax to $18K, the business for us in the BVI's has diminished considerably. "
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Old 26-05-2012, 07:29   #6
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
I understand I cannot register in the US because I'm not a citizen nor have a residency or green card.
Why not form a corporation and register the vessel to same? Taxes will not be avoided however.
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Old 26-05-2012, 08:32   #7
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
I understand I cannot register in the US because I'm not a citizen nor have a residency or green card.

Regarding BVI I had this reply from a New England registration company, (not sure how accurate this actually is and I'm NOT a British citizen, just EU):
"Regarding your question on the BVI - Caribbean registration, we don't really do this anymore. In order to have a vessel registered under BVI the owner must qualify as a British citizen. Sometimes people establish a BVI company corporation to own the vessel. There are considerable set up costs plus annual registered agent and tonnage taxes. Also, the boat must have a tonnage survey....it is a process that is done by a company like Bureau Veritas or Lloyds where they calculate the tonnage of the vessel. That alone costs some money....plus the registration fees...makes it cost prohibitive these days. Since the State of Florida has changed its maximum sales tax to $18K, the business for us in the BVI's has diminished considerably. "
One thing that may not be clear, in the USA there are two ways to "register" your boat: US Coast Guard documented or state registered. The USCG documentation is restricted to US citizens only although there are questions about whether it can be done for a boat that is owned by a US based corporation that is owned by a non US citizen. See a number of previous threads on this discussion.

State registration is done, as you might guess, by the individual states and rules vary a bit from one state to the next. In the US you can do only state registration or technically only USCG documentation although most states will require you to register in that state if you stay there over 90 days.

The USCG documentation is a more formal process than state registration and the state registration may not be as acceptable as your official boat papers in some countries.
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Old 26-05-2012, 10:08   #8
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

My catamaran is registered in the Cayman Islands, and it costs a couple of thousand dollars a year to keep it registered there. It's not particularly cheap, but it is a good flag of convenience when cruising around the world.
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Old 26-05-2012, 10:10   #9
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post

Regarding ..............BVI I had this reply from a New England registration company, (not sure how accurate this actually is and I'm NOT a British citizen, just EU):

"Regarding your question on the BVI - Caribbean registration, we don't really do this anymore. In order to have a vessel registered under BVI the owner must qualify as a British citizen. ............................
@Erik, For Red Ensign members counts, Pls read the attached application form. You are qualified to register if you are, as mentioned under B "A national of a EEA State"

Nationals of EEA States are: Austria; Belgium; Denmark; Eire; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Holland; Iceland; Italy; Luxembourg; Norway; Portugal; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom (including Gibraltar but excluding the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)

Gtz, CeesH
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Old 07-06-2012, 16:21   #10
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Quote:
Originally Posted by CeesH View Post
Hey, I am a dutch passport holder living in Brazil. I bought my Bav in Croatia and registered her very cheap on BVI, being an European you can. All can be done without visiting the BVI. As a bonus you can use the beautiful "red ensign" from the BVI.

This counts for all the "red ensign" members.
Thanks for your reply CeesH,
when did you register your boat on BVI? Long time ago? I'm asking because my contact at the New England documentation company says it is quite expensive nowadays (see my previous reply above) and also although even if I might be able to register there "The problem with BVI is that the boat has to have a tonnage survey which creates additional cost", says the agent.
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Old 07-06-2012, 16:34   #11
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Re: Where to Register? Caribbean but Non-EU/US

Quote:
Originally Posted by mangomuffins View Post
Why not U.S.??
You can register your boat in most states (AT 20 Y.O., you should be able to reg. as antique at SIGNIFICANTLY reduced fee.

mm
Thank you for your reply mangomuffins,
my agent is now looking at a possibility to register to Rhode Island or Delaware (no sales tax), but I would be using the boat in the Caribbean, not in US, not sure if that would work out.

The agent says: " The Rhode Island application is predicated on use of the boat...in fact one has to list the primary mooring location. And, the boat would have to be titled and registered.
The state fee for two year registration is $600 and the title fee is $25 plus our charge"

Erik
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