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Old 03-08-2008, 20:35   #1
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A customs question regarding spares

This is sort of a follow-up question to my query on how much liquor I can bring into a foreign port. Are there inventory restrictions on what and how much of my regular replacement spares and maintenance supplies for repairs? If limited, are there guidelines, or is it strictly the interpretation of the inspector? Can I stow the excess quantities of supplies in a sealed locker?

I ask this question as I finish doing some serious repainting of the exterior of my boat. I was tallying the amount of paint, catalyst, reducer, primer and hardener I would need to do an overhaul in a foreign boatyard or beached in a quiet backwater. Then there is the volume of sandpaper, epoxy and hardener, fiberglass cloth and tape, fillers, acetone, etc.

Knowing from the experience of friends who are or have been actually out there, cruising is the voyaging to foreign isles and repairing of the boat in exotic locales.

Then, there is the ulterior motive (I feel the need for candor). It may not necessarily be my own boat that really needs repair. Not that I want to take my business offshore, but I know I will find plenty of opportunity to assist others, not necessarily for remuneration. In previous travels I have been able to assist locals with their own boats, or even fixing the steps of their school or repair the door of some older folks. It has given me entree to a community far more effectively than buying their souvenirs or lobsters. Having a supply of valuable building materials in the back of beyond is worth more than gold.

Does anyone have actual experience with this issue?
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Old 03-08-2008, 22:42   #2
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To answer your first question there is no limit to actual “Ship’s Spares” you may bring into another country as long as you can prove that the materials are a reasonable amount to maintain your vessel.

If you carried cases and cases of different colour paints they might realistically question that.

The other issue for you to consider if stocking up as a floating chandlery is the wear and tear on the goods

Batch shelf life, humidity and paint cans rusting are a common issue with cruising yachts so carrying way more than you need is a gamble unless you a have a firm order.

Also, don’t know many yachts that have that much space to spare
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Old 04-08-2008, 02:47   #3
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Any reasonably intelligent customs official will allow a reasonable stock of ships maintenance and spares stores, and also recognize and tax or seize an undeclared commercial inventory.
It’s called smuggling (or bootlegging), and is usually prohibited by law, with attendant penalties.
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:42   #4
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Cruisers do exchange spares. If someone else's boat needs a starboard gizzy and I have one, I might make available to them. This is technically illegal since I didn't pay duty on it but we are a small community out there on the water and solidarity among us part of the gratifying lifestyle.

I am not aware of anyone trying to make a buck by supplying spares but there are previous threads about people stealing, then selling electronics. Not everyone on the water is ethical.

But I digress.

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Old 04-08-2008, 05:43   #5
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As Pelagic and Gord said, "no problem".

When you clear in, you are required to declare (if any) crew, passengers, alcohol, tobacco, weapons/ammunition, and animals (pets). Everything else is "ship's stores", and as long as you don't give the impression that you're planning to open a chandlery, no one will question you.

A caution: solvents like denatured alcohol, acetone, MEK, etc, stored in those quart metal cans can develop corrosion and leaks over time. Store them carefully and inspect them often.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:31   #6
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You will not be able to transport many solvents on airplanes. I brought crates of non flammable repair parts into Panama and Mexico with no problem.
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:45   #7
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Thanks, folks! As usual, solid info. BTW, chemical supply houses sell polyethylene screwtop storage bottles for reagents and solvents. I like to carry a small bit of hydrochloric acid, as well as the MEK and acetone, in my supplies storage. They remain leakproof and stable in these containers. I suspect finding these "common" agents may be a challenge where I want to go.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:51   #8
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I don't like having to turn my boat into a warehouse. It rarely pays off in having exactly what I need, when I need it.
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:30   #9
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DavidM, I would normally agree completely with you. I hate to think of the real cost of all those plywood scraps I stored in rented garages over the years. I'm referring to when I am somewhere in the boonies (my boat's name is, appropriately, WILDERNESS), and something breaks, for which there is no available spare part aboard. At those times it gives me great joy to be able to pull together some ply and hardwood scraps, some fasteners, some electrical wire and connectors, some bits of aluminum plate, and some hose clamps, and fabricate a temporary replacement. It's even more pleasureable if I can do a complete repair, including fairing and painting, and make things as if nothing had ever happened. Sort of like the scenes in "Master and Commander", after they get blown to bits by the French and find a hidey hole to refurbish.

I'm not looking to rebuild the entire boat, while on cruise (that's what I'm doing now). But I would like to be able to keep up things after being rammed by a panga, coming too close to a rock, or dropping an outboard on the deck. It would really be cool to return from an exciting voyage and not look like we had been shot out from the jaws of the sea dragons.
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:49   #10
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Roy,
Sorry, I was thinking more in terms of my situation where I am back at the home dock frequently. In your case, yes, carrying spares makes absolute sense when you are thousands of miles from that spare alternator or spare water pump that you desperately need.

Its really a tough call to try to anticipate what you might need. It's a balance between spending too much on spares, trying to find a place to store them plus the additional weight versus not having what need when you need it. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer because its a real judgment call.

As Gord already said, if your spares look like they have the potential of doing things outside of keeping your boat working, then those materials might be called into question by another countries authorities. Again, thats another real judgment call if you want to take the risk of making some money to help pad the cruising kitty versus being called into question by the authorities.

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:14   #11
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There was quite an interesting thread before on how much spares one should carry. Very personal choice but I think knowing your own boat's needs is the key
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