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Old 19-02-2015, 21:35   #1
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Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

Good news - found a workable boat, inspected it, and agreed to the purchase; bad news: after four hours of googling tonight, I can't find a way to document it quickly. Not a problem in Florida as it already has current Florida stickers on the bow so won't attract attention, and I can carry a copy of my USCG documentation application, but I was hoping to see a bit more of the world before hurricane season starts in June, which is about when the USCG is estimated to have vessel documentation ready after the four month backlog.

A review of past CF threads and the general internet shows people entering the Bahamas with state registration, temporary USCG documentation, and expired USCG documentation.

However, USCG has suspended the issuance of temporary documentation, and titling with Florida may be tricky as I'm not a resident of Florida, and why pay sales tax when I'm trying to leave? I could fly home to Massachusetts and title in person there and then fly back, but it seems a wasteful expense. And I would like to have the option to continue beyond the Bahamas, so USCG documentation seems worthwhile anyways.

What I will have is the bill of sale, Florida title signed over to me, a copy of the USCG documentation application with a receipt, and of course, my passport. Has anyone tried entering the Bahamas with this?

More options are to request priority documentation as I'd like to leave the country after a trip south from Tampa to the Keys to test the vessel, but I'm unsure when this would arrive or where to have it sent. I was thinking I could have it sent to my parents who could then send it to a marina in the Bahamas (rather than one in Florida, because again, not sure where I'll be or when the documentation would be completed). The other option may be to engage a documentation service in Miami, anchor or moor at Dinner Key after coming around the Keys, and hope to pick it up in-person at their offices. Any other ideas or suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 19-02-2015, 23:27   #2
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

Delaware...


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Old 20-02-2015, 05:32   #3
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

Oh, I did look into Delaware too. But, the idea there seems to be hiring an agency to form an LLC to then register the boat: with attendant agent fees, registration fees, ongoing LLC fees, etc. It sort of felt like paying a dollar to save a penny (on this particular boat - it's only $8,000), but please let me know if you had something else in mind. Thanks!
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Old 20-02-2015, 05:47   #4
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

I don't believe Florida cares if you are a resident or not, a quick phone call to a tax collector/license branch will confirm.

Yep, title/register in Florida, you'll pay sales tax = $480 (make sure you chose the correct county or you may pay more).

I sounds like you'll have to weigh the various options/costs, or wait until you get the USCG registration and keep moving state to state in the interim to avoid paying state sales tax.

I don't know if the Bahamas will accept a USCG documentation application or not.
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Old 20-02-2015, 06:38   #5
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Straight from the Bahamian horse's mouth:

Boating Entering/Exiting Policies | The Official Site of The Bahamas
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Old 20-02-2015, 07:34   #6
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

You do not want to go into the Bahamas or any other country with a boat and not have current, proper registration. The Bahamas will accept a state registration, most other Caribbean countries will not and only will accept documentation as proof of ownership. If you have a valid state registration and proof of application for documentation, the Bahamas Customs and Immigrations will accept that. I can't say for other countries and you should contact their respective Customs offices rather than relying on information from an internet forum. Chuck
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Old 20-02-2015, 07:40   #7
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

Thanks for the responses. It sounds like priority documentation is the way to go. I'll call USCG and a few titling companies

For what it's worth, I had read that Bahamas site. But, it just says that one needs to fly their quarantine flag, wait for customs, and present their passport, which does not sound accurate based on everything else I've read.


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Old 20-02-2015, 07:43   #8
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

...but the site also includes these contact informations. Therefore, if in doubt of the general info on the website, feel free to call the appropriate authority:

Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bahamas Embassy, Consulate and High Commission Offices
The Bahamas
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Consular Section
Norfolk House, Frederick Street
P.O. Box N-3746
Nassau, Bahamas
Phone: (242) 323.5578/5565
Fax: (242) 326.6186

Washington, D.C. | USA
Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas
2220 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 319.2660/7
Fax: (202) 319.2668
E-mail: bahemb@aol.com

Miami | USA
Bahamas Consulate General
25 S.E. Second Avenue
Ingraham Bldg., Suite 600
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 373.6295
Fax: (305) 373.6312
E-mail: bcgmia@bellsouth.net

New York | USA
Bahamas Consulate General
Bahama House
231 East 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 688.5926
Fax: (212) 688.5926
E-mail: bahamasconsulate@bahamasny.com

Canada
Bahamas High Commission
Metropolitan Life Centre
50 O'Connor, Suite 1313
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1 6L2
Phone: (613) 232.1724
Fax: (613) 232.0097
E-mail: ottawa-mission@bahighco.com

United Kingdom
Bahamas High Commission
10 Chesterfield Street
London, W1J 5JL
England
Phone: (011) 44 207.408.4488
Fax: (011) 44 207.499.9937
E-mail: information@bahamashclondon.net
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Old 20-02-2015, 08:07   #9
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

Been on the phone for a bit, and have some answers. USCG priority documentation is actually fairly quick this time of year - measured in days, not weeks, so it doesn't sound like that will be an issue. Also called the Bahamanian consulate in Miami (thanks Jay, I had left them off my list above), who suggested it may work, but that it was 'advisable' to wait for USCG documentation rather than presenting a copy of the application, passport, and signed-over title. I think that probably means I should wait for the documentation, given the differing accounts of what actually works to enter the Bahamas.
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Old 20-02-2015, 08:27   #10
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

I would repeat, DO NOT try to enter the Bahamas with a signed title from the previous owner. At the very least, get a Florida registration, you don't have to be a resident or have a Florida address, you will need to pay taxes, and carry all of your documentation application copies. You could then enter without a problem. But your documentation will need to catch up to you somewhere and that's another whole set of issues. Chuck
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Old 20-02-2015, 09:05   #11
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

What " Actually" happens here is totally up to the individual you are dealing with. The rules may say one thing but a friendly smile and a good attitude go along way. Never try to convince an official that they are incorrect! You may get a good scolding if you are incorrect but things have a way of working out in the end. Be patient, you should be on island time.
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Old 20-02-2015, 09:38   #12
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

Check out Rhode Island, no sales tax on boat sales... don't know about registration...
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Old 20-02-2015, 11:51   #13
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

My boat is USCG documented but not Virginia state registered. I'm told this is OK.
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Old 20-02-2015, 12:02   #14
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by atexasex View Post
My boat is USCG documented but not Virginia state registered. I'm told this is OK.
Yes it is. Virginia is one of a hand full of states that do not require state registration for doc'd vessels and would prefer not having anything to do with us. So no problem entering other countries with the US Doc. Our problem comes when some states like Florida and NY require visiting vessels to be registered in SOME state. Horror stories abound. A fix is the Virginia "voluntary" registration process that gets you a piece of paper to show officials of other states. The risk here is this may rope you into local personal property taxes which can be very expensive depending on the city/county where you live or where your boat lives..... A better fix is to register in Delaware.

Dave
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Old 20-02-2015, 12:08   #15
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Re: Bahamas with neither USCG nor State documentation

FWIW, I don't believe Fl Titles boats, all you will get I believe is a Bill of Sale
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