I am a South African national and bought a British registered yacht which was built and VAT paid in Holland
. I then proceeded to register my boat in South Africa
, labelled my boat according to South African law and since then I proudly fly the South African flag. I am cruising European waters. I have so far been checked out by Customs
and the UK and all have accepted the Dutch VAT receipt which I have on board and which I translated myself.
It is my understanding that my boat can remain in EU waters for all its life without a problem, which is not the case for me myself (different regime comes into play, i.e. visas). Once the boat leaves EU waters for longer than 3 years, VAT would need to be paid again upon its return save for a 18 month grace period - in which time you can leave EU waters for a short period (say a month) and return and the 18 month grace period starts again.
So it might be the easiest option for you to go the Australia registration route
, just be prepared to satisfy Customs
with eanough boat and personal documentation