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Old 09-10-2019, 13:13   #1
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Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

Where in the Caribbean can one ship to a yacht in transit without paying import tax or duty? I've heard that it is possible in both St. Maarten and Antigua. Does anyone have recent experience with either or both of these islands? Is there anywhere else?
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Old 09-10-2019, 14:28   #2
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

Pretty much any island will allow duty free for foreign vessels in transit, but St. Martin is the easiest. I can give you good contacts in St Martin.
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Old 09-10-2019, 18:59   #3
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

When I refit my boat in the BVI and ordered parts from the US, the shipper had to charge customs duty upon delivery. I carried the receipt in to the Customs office and explained that the boat was a Yacht in Transit, and they refunded the duty. That was the system.
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Old 09-10-2019, 20:02   #4
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

Trinidad has this as well. You can import in your luggage or have shipped in. At Power Boats in Chaguaramos you can have things dropped in Florida at their freight forwarder and it shows up at the Power Boats boater shop. Really convenient for big heavy stuff.

You may need to go through an agent in some countries. In French St Martin check with Shrimpy by the French bridge.
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Old 10-10-2019, 00:34   #5
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

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Old 10-10-2019, 04:56   #6
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

We're in Grenada and it is not duty free. Apparently the best you can do is 2.5 percent and can be 6 percent or more. Possible, but more difficult without an agent.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:33   #7
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

I should have mentioned that 2% but compared to what the nominal rate is it is not much . I have never paid six but I do pay a broker locally
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:37   #8
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

Last Dec we had an autopilot shipped to Antigua. We use Group island yacht services as our agent. You need an address to ship to, so.... Anyway, The fee was just under $100 and I know she said it included some money for customs. Whether that was a 'duty' or just some money to expedite them releasing it, I don't know. In St. Martin, you can get a PO box pretty cheap and not need an agent. So that's better if you are getting several different packages.


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Old 10-10-2019, 14:22   #9
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

St Thomas, Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, and St Maarten are duty free. We have a rubber stamp that reads, "Yacht in Transit" and we stamp our boxes, our invoices and everything in sight with that stamp.

To correct a misconception in a previous post:
Grenada is duty free for boat parts for a yacht in transit, BUT you need to employ an agent and pay a 3% handling charge in order to avoid paying duty. Without an agent the duty is 28%.
So, if you bring in less than about $600 worth of boat parts, it is cheaper to skip the agent and pay the 28%. More than $600 worth of parts, hire an agent.

Either way it is expensive. But even after paying the duty, remember, it would cost even MORE to buy the same parts in Grenada, duty paid, so it makes sense to bring the parts with you and pay the duty or hire the agent.
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Old 10-10-2019, 19:04   #10
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

I had a radio $600 sent to Nassau and didn’t pay duty. Lot of paperwork but no duty.
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Old 10-10-2019, 19:12   #11
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

Curacao is duty free for YIT as well.
Yacht in Transit is one of my favorite terms since buying a cruising boat.

Just ensure that all deliveries are clearly labeled Yacht in Transit.
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Old 10-10-2019, 19:44   #12
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

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Originally Posted by FlyingScot View Post
Curacao is duty free for YIT as well.
Yacht in Transit is one of my favorite terms since buying a cruising boat.

Just ensure that all deliveries are clearly labeled Yacht in Transit.


Correct - we just had vast quantities of parts shipped to us Curacao free of all duty. The agent has an address in Miami where they consolidate all orders and then ship once a week. We’ve had at least two pallets of parts (including 5 large batteries) shipped over for less than $500.
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Old 10-10-2019, 19:44   #13
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

We had excellent an experience in Trinidad. The incoming packages landed in a customs warehouse about 50' from our boat and we just walked up and signed for it. No fee, no hassle. (This was in 2013)
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Old 10-10-2019, 21:58   #14
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
We had excellent an experience in Trinidad. The incoming packages landed in a customs warehouse about 50' from our boat and we just walked up and signed for it. No fee, no hassle. (This was in 2013)

Not the Caribbean, but our experience in the Faroe Island was just like this. I had actually a lot of spare parts and a large load of dyneema cordage shipped in, and it was as easy as receiving a domestic DHL package at home. No forms, I don't think I even signed anything. On one occasion the harbormaster brought the package himself. No fees and no duty on several thousand euros worth of stuff. Great experience.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:44   #15
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Re: Duty free shipping for yachts in transit

Perhaps I didn't sufficiently explain purpose of question. Wanted to know where shipments could be sent with purchase price and shipping the only costs. It doesn't really matter whether a charge is called duty, import tax, handling charge or agent fee. Paying, for example, an agent $100 for a shipment worth $200 or $300 might not be worth it. We are in Grenada, will be heading north and items are not critical so can pick our spot. Expect we'll wait until St. Maarten. Thanks all for your inputs.
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