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Old 11-06-2013, 10:35   #1
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buy a boat in the usa as a german

Hello, we want to buy a boat in the usa and want to travel to the Caribbean. We are German, without residence in the United States. the boat to be sold again later in the usa.

Unfortunately we have no idea if this is so easy. do we need a cruising permit for the boat? Can I leave the boat registered in the United States?


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Old 11-06-2013, 10:52   #2

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Re: buy a boat in the usa as a german

yes and yes its easy here but the last german I met here at the dock was a wack job so don't bring a attitude. no permit needed this is a free country I think for now.

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Old 11-06-2013, 10:59   #3
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Re: buy a boat in the usa as a german

Buying a boat is the easy part. Selling a boat, nowadays, is a lot of hassle; dead market. How about bare boat chartering from the owners? Owners who place their boats with charter companies, get a few weeks per year to enjoy their boats. Many owners are willing to lease their boats during that period. This would be a better approach, and reasonably cost effective. I would not buy a boat for a quick resale within a few months, with the current market conditions; it is not worth it.

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Old 11-06-2013, 11:03   #4
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Re: buy a boat in the usa as a german

Hi Tom and welcome to the forum,

The simple answer is that yes, it is easy for a German to buy a boat in the USA. But there are a few things you would need to know to avoid complications.

First and most important, there are two ways to "register" a boat in the USA. The first is called "documentation". This is done done with by the US Coast Guard and is a federal government registration. This is the better way to register the boat but unfortunately this is only for US citizens.

The second method is to register with one of the US States. Each state has different rules and many have taxes but the system is very easy and the taxes are not too high, depending on the state and the value of the boat. The state tax is like a VAT, based on a percentage of the value of the boat. Most states the tax is +/- 6%. A few states have no tax.

The problem with registering with a state instead of USCG documentation is that this method is not as official and you might have some questions about the paperwork in some islands in the Caribbean. I have never heard of anyone complain about this but almost all cruising boats do have the documentation and not state registration.

I hope this is enough to get you started on the project but I am sure you will have many more questions. Please feel free to post all you want.


PS I have met many Germans in my travels and have a few good friends in Germany and none of them are "wack jobs" and all have a great attitude.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:12   #5
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Re: buy a boat in the usa as a german

skipmac's advice is sound IMO... good luck in your search and sailing adventures. Phil
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:26   #6
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Re: buy a boat in the usa as a german

The paperwork side of your purchase would be easier if you registered in one of the Caribbean countries. They don't have a citizens only requirement like the US coast guard. You might even be better off buying in one of those countries.

If you do buy in the US be sure to obtain a written release from the US Coast Guard. Whoever attends to the registration side of your purchase will do this. You won't be able to register in any other country without it.

It is possible to sell a non US registered boat in the US but you will have to use a method called " offshore completion ". A foreign buyer won't care but a US buyer will and it will cost them time and money. This will make your boat less attractive to US buyers.

If you register in a Caribbean country it might be simplest to sell in that country too. They don't care if you are not a citizen.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:39   #7
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Re: buy a boat in the usa as a german

Thanks for the info's, and for "this is a free country" thought it would be more difficult to me. I think the only hurdle will be the registry. If that is easier in the Caribbean, that's ok. A bit more paperwork in some islands is acceptable.

Thanks to all

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