Break your purchase
into separate steps
1. Bill of Sale
and proof of ownership
Is the vessel currently Panama
flagged? If so, or if it is flagged to any country, then you need to de-flag the boat. This can be simple or complicated depending upon the country and how solid the proof of ownership
papers are and if there are liens on the boat.
2. Then you need to choose a new flag. If the U.K. then with your de-flag paperwork and bill-of-sale you could do a Part III registry. The vessel doesn't need to be in U.K. or EU in order to be registered and no VAT is due.
3. I believe that you will need to have proof of "CE" Certification
in order to import
the boat into the EU unless it is older than a certain number of years
4. VAT assessment is best discussed before heading into EU waters with the tax authority of the country that you intend to clear into the EU. If you show up with an invoice of "Bought for USD1" then they'll surely decide to make their own determination.