Summary of my experience buying
a French Flagged vessel although with no loan on my end or the sellers:
The vessel was located in French Polynesia
. The seller had two brokerages offering the vessel for sale
: one in France
(Outremer), one in FP. I ended up working with both of them.
Roughly speaking, there were two steps in order to actually own the boat. Step1 was getting a deletion certificate from the French marine
registry. Step2 was sending that to the USCG with the typical form(s).
Step1 (France) required:
- Vessel paid for, held in escrow by the brokerage
- A physical copy of the signed bill of sale
"Acte de Vente") by both myself and the buyer sent to the French registry (in France). Actual copy.
- The boats original "Acte De Francisation" (like the certificate of documentation), sent to the French registry. Signed by the previous owner. Actual copy.
- Proof of my own residence (photo copies okay). Gas bills, etc.
- A French "power of attorney" document to allow the French yacht broker to act on my behalf.
Step2 (USCG) required:
- All the usual stuff required by the USCG in addition to the physical (no photocopies) deletion certificate that the French registry provided as a result of all the step1 activity.
- Note, the USCG BOS had to be signed and notarized by the sellers. This was difficult in FP as the sellers had to fly to Tahiti
and could not accomplish this on Raiatea.
I was told that after step1 and 2 were completed, I would need the USCG certificate of documentation
in order to exit French Polynesia
with the boat. When it came time to clear out, the Gendarme who I cleared out with did not ask but I went through great lengths to make sure I had it.
For step1, the Outremer
broker in France
physically drove the documents to the French Registry and obtained the deletion certificate same day and mailed it overnight to me. I have no idea how long this would take without an "inside man".
I was told as well (although I don't know how sure I am about this) that the boat was mine from when the "Acte De Francisation" was signed because it could not longer be insured by a French Insurer, meaning that it was under my insurance
from there forward.
When I made landfall in Hawaii
, I wrote a check to US customs for the import
duty tax since the boat I was buying had never been imported to the US. 1.5% of the price
I program managed the S*** out of the whole leviathan buracracy and did everything I could to expedite. It took ~6 weeks to get the COD in the Marquesas
. The only section of the process that I couldn't nail down a specific time table on was the USCG.....who were also under threat of furlough by the debt ceiling hostage situations. They took about 2 weeks with a form to expedite.
Hope that helps. Its one experience of many though so I'm sure that somethings I was told or did may have been legally unnecessary. Feel free to message me if you have questions about my experience.