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Old 08-08-2017, 14:25   #1
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Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

Anyone here familiar with owning a sailing vessel in Spain? Is there any benefit to buy one locally in Europe, or perhaps buy one in USA and ship or sail there? I can register one as an American, or as a Spaniard. How is taxation structured over in Spain?

A little background, I am considering moving there from US, since my wife is Spanish. I have an American passport. Is there a smart way to own a sailboat under these circumstances? Just as a reference point I am thinking a used sailboat in a 35 - 45 foot range.
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Old 08-08-2017, 14:38   #2
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

Id be buying a US boat and leave it in Spain. Or a Gib registered boat if possible. Spain registered boats adhere to Spanish redtape.
Atleast a Gib registered boat will be on the SSR.
Spain is a nightmare to deal with anything.
They call it Spanisthan.. Its seriously like a 3rd world country here.
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Old 08-08-2017, 14:46   #3
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

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Originally Posted by Alex_V View Post
Anyone here familiar with owning a sailing vessel in Spain? Is there any benefit to buy one locally in Europe, or perhaps buy one in USA and ship or sail there? I can register one as an American, or as a Spaniard. How is taxation structured over in Spain?

A little background, I am considering moving there from US, since my wife is Spanish. I have an American passport. Is there a smart way to own a sailboat under these circumstances? Just as a reference point I am thinking a used sailboat in a 35 - 45 foot range.
Howdy Alex. Welcome Aboard CF!

Here are some thread topics from the CF archives that may help you. In particular the first thread about registering a boat in Spain. But, if you look deeper into some other threads you may find good info even if the thread title does not suggest that thread is all about Spain.

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...ain&gsc.page=1

Good luck on your decision. I hope this helps.
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Old 08-08-2017, 15:04   #4
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

Thanks, its good to have a good starting point on what to read.

I did some searching before starting this thread. But I must admit, I haven't been familiar enough to know what some alternative search words could of been.
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Old 09-08-2017, 09:07   #5
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

Hello Alex,

I am an American, living on an American boat in Spain. I have met others who have purchased boats in Spain. I am not going to give you legal advice, but I will give you a few things that you need to think about to make your decision.

1. An American boat is wired for American electricity. It also typically has propane lockers for American propane bottles. You will need a transformer to be able to plug into the Spanish system and you will need to make some adaptation to be able to use Spanish propane for your boat. They do not refill propane bottles here, you swap them out. Also, you may end up having to use butane- but that is generally not a problem.

2. You have to aware of 2 taxes. First there is VAT. If you purchase a used boat in Spain, it has undoubtedly already been VAT paid. If you bring an American boat to Spain, you must leave the EU at least once every 18 months, I just got back from Morocco. Also, there is a Spanish wealth tax of 12% which the authorities may determine you owe- whether you get nailed with this one depends on where you live, where you keep the boat and a few other details you can research.

3. As an American citizen, you visa is limited to 90 days here unless you obtain residency, which is not difficult, but sort of a pain in the neck.

So, those are the major issues you might want to take a look at. Some of the regions are more lax than others, the rules are not applied evenly throughout Spain because each region (like a province) likes to think it rules itself.
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:31   #6
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

I looked at purchasing a spanish flagged yacht in the Canaries some 12 years ago. Unless things have changed you are bound by the countries maritime laws one of which includes some 3 years of training before being able to sail it. (At the time I had day skipper RYA but had sailed from Scotland with my wife.) i am mistaken I too would be interested in their laws pertaining to this. It certainly stopped my purchasing that yacht!
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Old 09-08-2017, 11:40   #7
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

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Originally Posted by sailing_gal View Post
Hello Alex,

I am an American, living on an American boat in Spain. I have met others who have purchased boats in Spain. I am not going to give you legal advice, but I will give you a few things that you need to think about to make your decision.

1. An American boat is wired for American electricity. It also typically has propane lockers for American propane bottles. You will need a transformer to be able to plug into the Spanish system and you will need to make some adaptation to be able to use Spanish propane for your boat. They do not refill propane bottles here, you swap them out. Also, you may end up having to use butane- but that is generally not a problem. Agreed if it's there permanently, you will want the boat set up for local conditions.
By the time you add in shipping and conversion costs, it is likely going to cost you more than buying local.


2. You have to aware of 2 taxes. First there is VAT. If you purchase a used boat in Spain, it has undoubtedly already been VAT paid. No,
it is not a guarantee.
If you bring an American boat to Spain, you must leave the EU at least once every 18 months, I just got back from Morocco. If you move and become a legal resident of Spain (or any EU country), VAT is due immediately but there are some allowances for residents moving to the EU. Talk to a lawyer to get it right. Also, there is a Spanish wealth tax of 12% which the authorities may determine you owe- whether you get nailed with this one depends on where you live, where you keep the boat and a few other details you can research.

3. As an American citizen, you visa is limited to 90 days here unless you obtain residency, which is not difficult, but sort of a pain in the neck. I would assume with a Spanish wife, it should be much easier than your typical cruiser.

So, those are the major issues you might want to take a look at. Some of the regions are more lax than others, the rules are not applied evenly throughout Spain because each region (like a province) likes to think it rules itself.
FYI - We looked at shipping our 34' Gemini a few years back and it was around $12k one way.
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Old 09-08-2017, 12:23   #8
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

Thanks for all the comments. Alot of info to digest.

Is it a safe assumption that when buying a Spanish flagged boat you can still register it as an American boat. Perhaps avoid some of Spaniard maritime laws.

I am afraid to ask how much red tape there is if I decide to take tourists out on one to make a little side cash.
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Old 09-08-2017, 13:00   #9
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

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Originally Posted by Alex_V View Post
Thanks for all the comments. Alot of info to digest.

Is it a safe assumption that when buying a Spanish flagged boat you can still register it as an American boat. Perhaps avoid some of Spaniard maritime laws.

I am afraid to ask how much red tape there is if I decide to take tourists out on one to make a little side cash.
Yes you can change the registration as part of the transaction in Spain. I did.
American registration is not your only choice, and probably not the best choice.
You'll have many options regarding where to register a boat. There are various pros and cons, and you should do some research as to what will be most suitable for your situation.
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Old 09-08-2017, 13:17   #10
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Re: Owning/Buying a Sailboat in Spain

Never owned a boat in Spain but regards all other officialdom it is a nightmare !! Full of self appointed little dictators who seem to revel in making foreigners life a misery !!!
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