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Old 20-08-2010, 07:31   #1
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Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

I've been looking into the idea of buying a boat in the Virgin Islands and starting our Caribbean cruise there (nothing goes to windward like a...) rather than buying one in my home state of Florida and taking "the path".

Seems there are a lot of boats, in all conditions, sizes, etc., for sale there already.

My questions:

1. Anyone bought down there? Any advice for purchasing there?

2. What is the difference in cost for gear, equipment, etc. between there and, say, Florida or anywhere else on the East Coast? If the cost is double to refit the boat there then I'd probably consider that cost-prohibitive.

Thanks.
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Old 20-08-2010, 09:10   #2
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I have lived in Cribbean for almost 50 years and I always make mistake of buying in US. Buy a boat here that does not need a major refit. Save big bucks.
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Old 20-08-2010, 15:22   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homespun View Post
I've been looking into the idea of buying a boat in the Virgin Islands and starting our Caribbean cruise there (nothing goes to windward like a...) rather than buying one in my home state of Florida and taking "the path".

Seems there are a lot of boats, in all conditions, sizes, etc., for sale there already.

My questions:

1. Anyone bought down there? Any advice for purchasing there?

2. What is the difference in cost for gear, equipment, etc. between there and, say, Florida or anywhere else on the East Coast? If the cost is double to refit the boat there then I'd probably consider that cost-prohibitive.

Thanks.
I live in BVI and yes, we have a huge inventory of boats for sale here. Apart from private yachts, the large well known charter operations have off-loaded (which they do in June/July) the out-of date ones.

Get a good yacht broker (Chris Simpson at bvi yacht sales for example) to act as buyer's broker for you. That'll weed out the dross then you get a surveyor (Bill Bailey or Geoff Williams for example) and away you go. There are some bargains to be had but in general you gets what you pay for.

Parts down here are a bit pricier than in the States (shipping and 5% duty) but I've never found it prohibitive.

Good Luck in the hunt! Tony
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Old 22-08-2010, 00:27   #4
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I've bought 2 boats in the BVI so far and perhaps soon to be 3.

The selection is nonpareil and a short hop to St. Martin brings you to the cheapest outifitting location in the Caribbean (and a beautiful destination on its own)
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Old 22-08-2010, 09:24   #5
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I purchased my boat using Clive Allen at BVI yacht sales and think the entire group is first class. Tons of boats available... pardon the pun..

While I purchased a boat as it was being released from charter service, many other owner operated boat of all types and manufactures are available. Key it to have a broker do the initial looking and then make a trip down to do the final selection yourself and let the broker handle the paperwork. Do get a good survey... names already mentioned are known to be capable.

Also as has been mentioned the time frame from June to August and possibly to October are the "best" times to make the best deals. Less actual sailing going on and the expenses don't stop when your not using the boat.

Figure out what your going to want to do with a boat and then select the type you need for that activity that is within your budget.

Key is don't delay too long... life is NOT a trial run.... No Do Overs.

Best luck and let us know when you will be down and I'll buy you a Red Stripe.
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Old 06-10-2010, 13:35   #6
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I am considering a boat purchase in the BVI and I understand there are no boat sales taxes. First, is that correct? Second, are there import taxes to consider if I bring it back to the states after cruising for at least 6 months?

As always...thanks for the help!
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Old 24-03-2011, 13:27   #7
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Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

I am in the process of buying a boat in St. Croix. This is a private sale with no broker involved. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm planning on making a trip down in a few weeks for a survey and sea trial.
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:48   #8
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Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

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Originally Posted by CaptainBW View Post
I am considering a boat purchase in the BVI and I understand there are no boat sales taxes. First, is that correct? Second, are there import taxes to consider if I bring it back to the states after cruising for at least 6 months?
I don't know if the BVI charges tax. I can't help there. I doubt they do, but I can't say for sure.

As far as import duty, yes! You must declare the foreign purchase upon clearing customs and pay import duty. That said, there are two ways to avoid paying import duty. First, NAFTA provides that any vessel built in a NAFTA country is except. Typically, this allows Canadians and Mexicans good deals on US-built boats and typically doesn't benefit US boat buyers. Second, the purchase of a US-flagged vessel abroad is not considered a foreign purchase where import duty is concerned, as the vessel was either built in the US or previously imported into the US. There are LOTS of US-flagged vessels in the BVIs. If you buy a foreign-flagged vessel and bring it home, the duty is found on the following page. (It's either 1.5% or 30%, depending on circumstances.)

By Chapter of HTS :2011-01-01 - Basic, Official Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated

Then, as a Florida resident, regardless of where you purchase and use the boat, you are required to pay 6% to the State of Florida. Once a Floridian, you're a Floridian at all times, where ever you go. There is language in the law that says things like if you purchase in another state, territory, or DC and don't bring the goods back to Florida for 6 months, that taxes aren't due. That may allow you to avoid taxes. I think applies to goods, not a vessel. Please consult a professional tax attorney.

FL Dept Rev - Use Tax on Out-of-State Purchases

Kevin
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Old 25-03-2011, 04:56   #9
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Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

There are no boat sales taxes in the BVI.
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Old 25-03-2011, 05:45   #10
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pirate Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

Bought a 2001 Beneteau 331 from Moorings in the BVI's in '06....
Also had dealings with Chris at BVI Yachts who were great... its just the boat I bought was newer than the Jenneau I'd gone to see and I haggled a better price as the owner was desperate to sell.
As has been stated St Martin is a great place to do any fitting out... got her fitted with a custom S/S Arch for solar/wind and dinghy plus the gear and an O/B for just another $5.5K... courtesy of Lille Marine at the bridge entrance French side.
If I was looking for another boat for (to me) big bucks... I'd do the same again...
just not from Moorings... not all was quite as it could have been.
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Old 25-03-2011, 07:13   #11
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Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

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Originally Posted by kevingy View Post
...

Then, as a Florida resident, regardless of where you purchase and use the boat, you are required to pay 6% to the State of Florida. Once a Floridian, you're a Floridian at all times, where ever you go. There is language in the law that says things like if you purchase in another state, territory, or DC and don't bring the goods back to Florida for 6 months, that taxes aren't due. That may allow you to avoid taxes. I think applies to goods, not a vessel. Please consult a professional tax attorney.

FL Dept Rev - Use Tax on Out-of-State Purchases

Kevin
Kevin--

The specific language on the law from your link is...
Most Florida citizens are not aware that this state has a "use tax." Use tax normally applies to items purchased outside Florida, including another country, which are brought or delivered into this state and would have been taxed if purchased in Florida. The use tax rate is the same as the sales tax rate, 6%.
If the yacht is returned to Florida and tax was not paid in the venue where it was purchased, one is liable for the "use tax". If tax was paid and one has evidence thereof, one is not taxed by Florida. Ergo, if the buyer does not return the yacht to Florida there is no tax. If the buyer does pay a tax in another venue and subsequently returns it to Florida, there is no use tax but one does pay the registration fees as the boat must be registered in the State if one remains more than 90 days.

We bought our boat in Maryland and avoided paying tax there because we relocated the boat to Florida within less than 30 days. We did, however, have to pay the tax to the State of Florida once we arrived although it was much less than we would have paid in Annapolis.

FWIW...
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Old 25-03-2011, 11:32   #12
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Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

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If the yacht is returned to Florida and tax was not paid in the venue where it was purchased, one is liable for the "use tax". ... Ergo, if the buyer does not return the yacht to Florida there is no tax.
You're right. That's exactly what I said, except I left off the part about "upon return". The state will get him, again assuming he returns to Florida with the boat. I can't imagine that not happening eventually. At some point, the cost to leave the boat and fly home and back outweighs the amount of the tax.

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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
If tax was paid and one has evidence thereof, one is not taxed by Florida. ... If the buyer does pay a tax in another venue and subsequently returns it to Florida, there is no use tax but one does pay the registration fees as the boat must be registered in the State if one remains more than 90 days.
That's not exactly true. The Florida's state sales tax is 6%. If you paid tax elsewhere that was less than 6%, you owe Florida the balance. For example, Maine's state sales tax is 5%. If you bought a boat in Maine and paid the State of Maine 5%, when you brought the boat to Florida, you'd owe the State of Florida the remaining 1%. (Welcome to Florida.)

Then, if you're lucky (like me), you reside in a county with a surcharge added on to the state sales tax. I'd have to pay the county an additional 1%. (Welcome to Lake County.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
We bought our boat in Maryland and avoided paying tax there because we relocated the boat to Florida within less than 30 days. We did, however, have to pay the tax to the State of Florida once we arrived although it was much less than we would have paid in Annapolis.
You didn't save anything, as far as sales/use tax is concerned. Maryland's state sales tax is 6% also. If you paid the tax in Maryland, you wouldn't have owed Florida anything. 6% is 6%. Now, registration fees...
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Old 25-03-2011, 20:35   #13
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Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

Homespun:

I purchased a boat is St. Croix USVI several years ago. You can still find good deals out there but you have to search very carefully. What exactly are you looking for?

Mundial
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Old 25-03-2011, 21:51   #14
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Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

I like this converstion. Thank you to all that can add to it. The "Particulars", I guess, we are after. I want to buy in the VI's, stay in the VI's for a few years. Names and numbers and laws, and dangers/hazards/benefits regarding all, are of interest. Thank you.
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Old 25-03-2011, 23:28   #15
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Re: Buying a Boat in the Virgin Islands

There seems to be lots of cheap boats everywhere in the Caribbean, if you are considering a French boat, the French Charter companies is the FWI will probably give you the best bang for your buck as they have a special deal with their tax department.
The 220 volt AC system may be an issue when you take your boat to the States but I would think the savings would more than cover the cost of converting to 110 volts.
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