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Old 16-03-2013, 18:21   #1
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German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

Ok guys. I realize that there have been all sorts of related threads on similar subjects, but what is the latest nitty gritty? I have a German registered vessel being bought by American and imported ( sailed ) to USA where will be documented.

What is the best procedure and process. Any pitfalls and fine print to know about?

The boat will be sailed To Chesapeake Bay. First Port of Entry in USA will be Key West.

Is it better to process USA documentation prior to sailing to USA, or is better to sail to USA under German flag then complete transaction? Pros and Cons? Tax and duty issues? Paperwork involved?

Would it be better to have boat shipped on freighter as cargo to say Baltimore?

Looking for easiest and cheapest method to complete transaction.

Thanks for having patience with me in this seemingly endless area of discussion.
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Old 16-03-2013, 20:56   #2
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

If it were I, I would sure document BEFORE leaving the Panama area! In fact I don't think if you plan on stoping anywhere with a boat from Germany without re doumenting it would land ya in a big Mess ! I could be wrong but I don't think so! Im sure some of the smart folks on here will know just what to do !! but as I said I would redocument before I left!! just my 2 cents
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Old 16-03-2013, 22:34   #3
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

I think you first have to un-document the boat with the German authorities. Hopefully their consulate in Panama would be able to do this. Then you can document in US. I think you can do this over the internet.
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Old 17-03-2013, 05:40   #4
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Maybe you can "undocument" it. Maybe not.

"Undocument" is a process we have used in the USA to buy a USA boat. Many years ago, we bought a Swiss boat in the USA and we did not "undocument" it from the Swiss registry. We just bought it, no sales contract, and then sailed off.

Check it out for yourself for the German situation, but do not believe anyone who has not already gone down the same path you contemplate. And if you find someone to follow, only believe half of what they say!
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Old 17-03-2013, 05:44   #5
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Crimea Cruiser.
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Old 17-03-2013, 07:52   #6
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

By the way, Coast Guard documentation frequently takes months in routine cases, so I hope you have some time. And, yes it does have to be "undocumented" or whatever they call it from the German registry and you need that proof for the CG documentation. Just a thought might be to have the new owners state register it in the state they plan to keep it in (or possibly Florida). That might be good enough to get the boat home, particularly if you don't stop in Mexico, which seems to be about the biggest stickler for paperwork down there. Then you could take your time to figure out the best way to get it Coast Guard documented. I believe it would be legal, but I am uncertain about that. I think this is one time I would recommend going to a professional documentation company for assistance. Might be worth paying the price to avoid really serious hassles. I suppose another option might be Panamanian registry.
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Old 17-03-2013, 08:06   #7
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

contact dona jenkins, a documentation service, and they are online--they do world wide and international documentation--is worth the investment.
as far as offshore purchasing--is better to buy offshore and wait the year needed to avoid the healthy tax some places like california stick on boats--is called an equalization tax. lol.
so--contact dona jenkins, or the documentation company of your choice, and let them worry about the paperworks.
will take about 3 - 6 months to receive the uscg document.
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Old 17-03-2013, 08:29   #8
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

Here's the link to Dona Jenkins. One other thought on this, that someone like Jenkins will walk you through, is you need to have all the proper CG documents in a row for documentation. They require their own particular CG-approved bill of sale for example. Don't know in a situation like this, but I have found the Key West Customs folks less than friendly in the past. There might be a better port to bring her into for the first time.
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Old 17-03-2013, 10:57   #9
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

This is similar to how I bought my boat. French-flagged boat bought from French nationals. You will want to document it before you bring it home, although I don't think that is strictly necessary. You cannot maintain the German registration unless you can convince the German authorities. It is OK to have a little lag time after purchase before you get the US documentation done. As others have said, this DOES require the vessel be de-flagged from its current jurisdiction. Be sure the seller does this. Also, the CG will require many pieces of information to document the vessel anew, so be sure to get as much paperwork from the PO as possible, including original construction and sale documents. It can take a long time, but you can pay the CG for expedited service. Pay once, and remind them with each ensuing submission. Then you have customs duty. Hire a customs broker who knows what he is doing. There should be plenty in Fla. I used Jay Reynolds and just wrote him the check when it was time to pay. Very easy, and not TOO expensive. Good luck. Its a bit of a hassle but eminently doable.
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Old 17-03-2013, 11:17   #10
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

I would contact a doc company in FL and ask. I bought a boat while in the Caribe. I never mentioned where it was to the person in FL who Documented it for me. The key after possession changes is the first departure. If you can get the Customs stamp when leaving you have all you need for the next Port of Entry. Otherwise you might have an issue. My experience is that they dont look so hard at things when you are leaving... Your passport is good to go usually ....
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Old 17-03-2013, 13:11   #11
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

Thanks for all the suggestions guys. Yes it sounds like I need to ensure all is done on German side regarding deregistering before documenting in USA and bringing to USA. Looks like overall advice is to have a document, import and customs oriented company handle the details.
Cheechako...Yes I was worried about the exit customs detail as well as the boat has sat for several years. Will need to look more closely at that detail also.

Another question. What basis do the customs agents look at for duty fees? Sales invoice or market value of similar vessels?
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Old 17-03-2013, 15:42   #12
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I just purchased a foreign flagged vessel, I made sure the owner de-flagged her before transferring the funds. If there are any liens or other issues he will not be able to de flag. You can sail her back to the states with a letter from attorney saying US documentation is applied for. Customs accepted my bill of sale for value. I am using Jim Perry http://www.yachtlawyer.com. Hopefully my documentation will come through before I leave for the Bahamas June 1st. It does take a while.
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:24   #13
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Re: German S/V in Panama Bought and Brought to USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimea Cruiser View Post
Another question. What basis do the customs agents look at for duty fees? Sales invoice or market value of similar vessels?
In the greater scheme of things, duty is a small percentage and as applied to the difference between market value and what you paid it will probably not move the needle.
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