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Old 13-03-2011, 10:54   #1
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Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Boat history :
- built and flagged in France
- maiden voyage to South America .
- There sold still under French flag
- new buyer brought her to Mexico and left her there to be sold.
- sold to a US buyer who insisted that the French flag should be removed before he would go through with the full purchase. That was done.
- sale fell through .
- the US buyer signed an affidavit that this is so and that he has no interest in the boat in front of a US notary.
- The guy who bought her in Sth America and brought her to Mexico is now selling her again ,now without a flag and with said affidavit .

My questions :

- Is this the mess I perceive it is, if the boat is meant to be a go everywhere cruiser in the future ?

- If it is a mess and potential trouble in the future, is it solvable now before purchase ideally and if so how ?

- In the end I want to end up with a German flag for it .

Any replies appreciated .
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Old 13-03-2011, 12:16   #2
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Will the boat come with a legal title, bill of sale, etc? Official documents with appropriate stamps, embossed seals and other pretty things that look all fancy and legal? Is it indeed a legal vessel with a clear title, never stolen, hijacked or pirated? Can you show documentation of the history. Very important, is there a hull number from the builder molded or cut into the hull, transom or other place on the boat.

If yes to most or all of these then you are probably OK. Please note the word "probably".
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Old 13-03-2011, 12:25   #3
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

It's more a deal where the last person to own the boat needs to matter most. The fact that the history is colorful isn't much compared to if the current ownership is in doubt. It's not that it is or might be stolen but you need to make it all look good now so you can move it to what ever form of documentation is desired. If it is clean now you have no problems.
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Old 13-03-2011, 12:26   #4
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Quote:
How Much of a Problem Is this
I don't know. Could be none at all. Could be a living nightmare. Likely somewhere in between, and mostly involving a PITA (and a few 's) to get the registration sorted at the outset.

But truth be sold the only person who will ever know is the person who buys it. and that might take a few years for any nasties in the story to appear.

The boat has an uncertain ownership history. not unknown, just uncertain. That may just be the result of numpties not appreciating the value () of keeping paperwork straight. or it might be related to the Vendor not owning the vessel. Whether shared with a bank or good old fashioned stolen. The odds on of course that just a paperwork thing. but.........

My guess is your question is generated by the boat being at an attractive price - one of the basic tricks is to get folk (with the money) to acquire ownership of a problem, so that they own and therefore become comfortable with the solution - rather than them needing to have a solution sold to them. All the better if the solution is a little bit naughty / clever. The odds on of course that vendor just not got the cash (or the wit?) to sort registration out himself before a sale. but.........

Sounds like the boat was properly de-registered in France (but you might want to check how a vessel can get USCG registered - do they just list anything? or require evidence of de-registration?). If the former buyer has signed an Affadavit sounds like the boat is still registered in his name with the USCG - and if memory serves me right USCG registration is title / proof of ownership.......probably the reason for the Affadavit........Lets hope that Affadavit is genuine. and actually means what it says (just as a heads up - in Europe / UK a Notary is in the main a respected capacity and not handed out lightly (usually to Advocates and Lawyers), in the US however the requirements vary wildly between states. The last time I looked closely was a few years ago, but some requirements were mainly around having $20 and being a resident of the state......which kinda blew my plan to qualify ......so I wouldn't regard a document signed by a Notary as gospel proof......and they do have a tendency to simply be Notarising that the person in front of them claimed something was true - not that they verified either the facts. or that was the person).

If you are intending to buy, I would suggest that you agree a deal subject to Vendor getting registration in his own name somewhere you can also do the same......ideally with registration requirements that would fit in well with later German registration (my guess is that you are not buying from someone who could get a vessel german registered from the getgo)........if you can't come up with a jurisdiction that works for you both as individuals I would suggest corporate registration in one of the offshore islands (it's not all about saving tax. usually none to save - administrative conveniance comes into it as well, can sell to anyone in 10 minutes of paperwork, plus low (zero) skipper / crew / boat licensing requirements).........would likely end up on a British style Register but I suspect (i.e. don't actually know ) that the Part 1 registration which requires a tonnage survey would fit in to later German registration by not requiring the same again. but I could have that completely wrong - but worth a Google or 2. Likely looking at a couple of k for that. if not a tad more.

Of course if she was sold in South America (and outside the bits of France / EU in that part of the world) then any VAT she had on her would have been lost.......but I leave that to others, as EU may not even be on your radar.

Of course the cheap and cheerful way would be for a UK resident freind who has a uk address (not a po box) could register a lawnmower on the SSR - no coporate ownership though. and it would probably be prudent for Vendor to de-list from USCG register before a cheque gets handed over......might end buying a completely un-registered boat though, at least until you can get in on somewhere......but that ain't a crime. well, not over here it ain't - Mexico might of course be different

Might also be prudent to check the bilges, for parts of the PO. or other buyers

Of course this is the point where you say it is a 47 foot ferrocement catamaran that has been used as a hen house in Mexico since 1972..........for $5k

Oh, and none of the above is meant as advice - either way. You spend your money as you see fit . and I'll do the same with mine
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Old 13-03-2011, 13:01   #5
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Quote:
If the former buyer has signed an Affadavit sounds like the boat is still registered in his name with the USCG - and if memory serves me right USCG registration is title / proof of ownership.......probably the reason for the Affadavit........Lets hope that Affadavit is genuine.
A USCG registered boat is registered legal or it's all smoke. There is no in between and the process is considered legal by definition. In that case the USCG Transfer paperwork with the appropriate fee and the notarized bill of sale (use the USCG form) and it is a done deal no problems.

You'll need a the original USCG certificate that has NOT expired in hand to know if it is or is not registered accept nothing else not even a copy. If you can't see the real USCG document with a valid non expired date then it's not registered or they never tried or were refused.

Any excuse is a deal breaker so walk away. By saying it is a USCG documented boat they already are on the line to prove easily and it takes nothing complicated to do so. All certificates must be renewed annually at no fee or they expire. NO reason not to have one.
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Old 13-03-2011, 13:23   #6
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Does not seem a mess to me at all. I would contact the registrar office, present them with the boat's papers and ask if they will register. If they say NO, I would drop the case.

If this specific boat is so special that no substitute exists (say a historical boat) then I would consider registering in a country that does not ask silly questions. (quote unquote)

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Old 13-03-2011, 13:26   #7
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There are marine title companies that specialize in these issues. Given the complexity of this boat's history, it would be unwise to proceed with the purchase without doing so through a title company. They can arrange for documentation once a firm title to the boat is established.
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Old 13-03-2011, 13:37   #8
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
(just as a heads up - in Europe / UK a Notary is in the main a respected capacity and not handed out lightly (usually to Advocates and Lawyers), in the US however the requirements vary wildly between states. The last time I looked closely was a few years ago, but some requirements were mainly around having $20 and being a resident of the state......which kinda blew my plan to qualify ......so I wouldn't regard a document signed by a Notary as gospel proof......and they do have a tendency to simply be Notarising that the person in front of them claimed something was true - not that they verified either the facts. or that was the person).
Not even that much.
In the US a notary is only stating that the person who signed the document was who he/she says he/she is. Nothing is concerned about what the document is. Only that the signer is actually the signer.
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Old 13-03-2011, 14:21   #9
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Hmm...Thank you all . As far as I know the purchase never went as far as registering the boat with USGC. The affidavit is to counteract the French registry which shows the vessel stricken from the register in favor of the new purchaser X to be reregistered in his name in the US who then never did .

The French papers look perfect . I have no reason to believe that the boat papers are funny , just an awkward turn of events for the owner when the deal fell through.

Reason I ask this question is yes the boat`s price is attractive, but the only one in its location to which I will need to travel and I could just as well travel to the US and have more choice in my price range but less boat .
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Old 13-03-2011, 14:44   #10
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Bash's advice is worth heeding. Having done a few removals from USCG registry and having vessels measured, ie Bureau Veritas survey, then re-registered under a convenient flag like Cayman Islands all done in countries outside the US like Mexico, engaging a licensed maritime title company, say in Florida, who has experience in the process and contacts with the appropriate folks in the country of registry will save a lot of time, $ and headaches. These folks know the pitfalls and short courses to completion of the transaction that are legal and protect you. It has worked well for me in the past... Capt Phil
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Old 13-03-2011, 17:11   #11
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Once you have the French deflagging cert, you can register in Germany. VAT may be an issue though. Its not a difficult situation nor unusual. It does however show the issues associated with deflagging a vessel before a sale is confirmed.

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Old 13-03-2011, 17:21   #12
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pirate Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Are you still thinking of that steel boat in Mexico Adax...
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Old 15-03-2011, 09:10   #13
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Boatman, she is one of the options on the table and the table is cluttered.
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Old 15-03-2011, 14:03   #14
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

I do not have a title for my french built boat, only USCG documentation. No bill of sale, or any state registration. This should be ok I hope...This was transfered to me from PO. Do I need anthing else??Red
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Old 15-03-2011, 15:25   #15
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Re: Boat Paperwork - How Much of a Problem Is this ?

Quote:
I do not have a title for my french built boat, only USCG documentation. No bill of sale, or any state registration. This should be ok I hope...This was transfered to me from PO. Do I need anthing else??Red
If you have USCG documentation with your name and it's not expired you could be OK. If you don't then you need to get it. The State of NJ may want some money too. It's a tax issue so it's only about the money.

If it's none of that then you really need someone to help you with this.
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