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Old 03-01-2005, 15:07   #1
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Buying a boat over sea's

I am an American that want's to cruise the South Pacific What kinda of legal mumbo jumbo will I have to go through to buy a boat there and just leave from say Australia or New Zealand. Maybe Thailand or maybe not after the current disaster. But what would it take for me to buy a boat in another country and go cruising?


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Old 03-01-2005, 22:20   #2
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Buying a boat

I am also going through the motions. Finding a boat for me is easy, there is one sitting in Auckland that suits my needs and is the right price. Two sets of regulations to consider. What will your home country want in the way of taxes and are there any safety issues. What requirements are there for the boat leaving the country where it is currently. NZ I think requires Category one, the info for this I am told is available from the NZ coast guard. I have not contacted them yet.

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Old 04-01-2005, 05:02   #3
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It will depend on where the boat is and how it will be registered...

...would be my two answers.

If shopping in Oz or NZ, I would want to condition the sail on the vessel's acceptance to the national authority responsible for small ship compliance issues. This may require you to add this step in the pre-purchase process and pay a fee, but it could be used in the same way a pre-purchase survey is used. If the vessel is not compliant, that could support a price reduction (depending on how the vessel was represented) and you'd know where you stood when later departing the country.

Another thing to consider is that NZ - and to a lesser extent, Oz - seem to be the places where North American cruisers give up on their cruising plans. It's amazing how many boat websites I've read in the last several weeks where the boat is ultimately put up for sale or shipped back to North America from one of these two locations. So...if you find a suitable North American boat down there, that might bring an instant $10-20K price reduction since that's what they will pay to get the boat back home.

If your boat is to be documented back in the U.S., you have the best of both worlds: minimal safety compliance requirements (not that those requirements should be your ONLY consideration) and no duty or tax, just a documentation fee. Duty is collected by Customs when/if the boat is eventually imported back into the States (roughly 2% of its claimed value, last I heard) and tax is a function of subsequent state residency, which you may be able to avoid.

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Old 20-01-2005, 18:42   #4
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Avoid state tax ? How do you do that . Not much chance of avoiding it for long. Some states are different than others and have various times periods before you have to register but you will pay the tax unless you leave before the time expires . Dont playy craps with getting caught. Tax evassion is a serious matter.
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Old 20-01-2005, 20:12   #5
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hi Ken. There are a lot of vessels down here, and buying is easy. The only tax we have, is one called GST @ a rate of 12.5%. Now I am not sure of the exact ins and outs. But I do know that if I sold you say a GPS for instance. If you are imediatly leaving the country with it, you are exempt of this tax. I don't know how that works in regards to if you are sailing around NZ waters for a while. However, out Inland Revenue department should be able to answer that, or a NZ boat broker. I have a mate that is a Boat broker, not far from me. If you wish to, I could put you in Email contact with him to see what is available. The one thing that seems to happen here in NZ, is that it doesn't matter who lists a vessel, anyone seems to be able to do the deal. So if you see one on an NZ site, you don't have to contact that broker listing. Well as I understand it anyway.
I know there are quite a few boats for sale at the mo that have done extensive cruising and are fitted out to all safety requirments. Namely Cat 1 is the normal offshore standard required in NZ waters. But things have changed a little now. Cat 1 is no longer a certificate. It is a now a suggestion for cruisers. Before you leave NZ, inspectors will do a check and make sure you have a minimum compliment of saftey equipment. But full on Cat 1 is only a requirement for Off shore yacht racing now. I thinkthe change was because if an overseas vessel entered a NZ port, it could not leave untill it was upto Cat 1 standard. A cruisign family may have sailed for years all over the world, yet were made to spend a lot of money getting there vessel upto Cat1.
Oh and if you find exactly where to find info on catergories, let me know. I have tried in Vain. It apparently is on
Good luck
Hey Mike, did Toby reply to your Email. I know he recieved it, cause I followed it up and told him to reply quick smart. He was away on holiday unfortunatly.

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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Old 21-01-2005, 04:36   #6
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Built in SA

We had Makai Built in Durban, South Africa. We then had it delivered to the US. Where had to pay the taxes and such. Our understanding was that the taxes we only paid upon entrance in the US.

We have one set of cruising friends who have had their Kantana for 6 years, it is doc'd in the US but has never been there. They still are not required to pay the taxes and duties.

Import duties. One of the things is to look at the import duties required from the country of puchase to the US. Many countries have different duties from Zero on up to 10-20%. SA was less than 1% at the time.

Out boat was doucmented long before it ever made the US landfall.
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Old 21-01-2005, 14:36   #7
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Category one and NZ

Wheels I received a reply that our man was on holiday and would reply when he got back. I sent a note to NZ Coast guard and got a reply that our man was on holiday etc. I just sent a note to and asked them about category one. I notice that they are both in Takapuna which is just across the Auckland habour bridge on the North side. I could be wrong but I do not think NZ GST would be applicable on a boat leaving the country but there is likely tax due from the place where the boat is going to stay. But taxes would also be due if a person purchased their boat locally from their home port. Import duty is a seperate issue. North American made boats should be able to move across the Canada US border with out duty. Some early US fibreglass boats are already cheaper than the NZ Kauri boats and may have more gear plus they are closer so a person word have to get a good deal on an NZ boat to make it worth while. What else is new?
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Old 09-04-2005, 00:23   #8
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The quote pasted below is from an email a brooker sent me when I inquired about importing a boat into the United States. I hope this answers your questions.

Good Luck,

FYI the fees imposed by US Customs to import yachts (as quoted by Associated Customs House Brokers from Dania, Florida 954-583-0903 Michelle Terorotua)

Duty: 1.5% of true bill of sale value (not more than one year old)
Merchandise tax: 0.21%
Bond: $2 per $1000 (non refundable to guarantee that all claimed is true)
Associated Customs House Brokers fee: $200

There is a max fee on the merchandise tax of $485.

You would not pay Harbor tax (0.125%) if yacht arrives on its own bottom. This is charged to yachts arriving on a ship.

NB: If Bill of sale is more than one year old, then the duty is imposed on a "trade in value" as determined by a surveyor for customs purposes, the cost of this surveyor ranges from $250/350

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