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Old 23-09-2015, 04:57   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Santander, Spain
Boat: Actively searching for one...
Posts: 62
Isle of Man registration

I was evaluating the possibility of importing a sailboat from the UK to Spain, but I'm appalled at the complexity of the paperwork and costs involved. This is a non-exhaustive list of the procedures involved:

- Obtain a temporary permit at the nearest Spanish consulate. For that, you need to provide some sort of technical info about the ship (not sure what kind of certificates are required).
- Sail to Spain.
- Obtain a seaworthiness certificate. For that, you must present a report by a certified naval engineer detailing the characteristics of the boat if she has no CE-marking (1000-3000)
- Pay local taxes (4% of value)
- Pass a technical security inspection (it seems Spain is the only EU country with that requirement). For what I've read, the outcome greatly depends on the mood of the inspector. Also, it comprises both "dry" and "wet" inspections, and of course, hauling is paid for by the owner. The inspection is valid for five years.
- Pay the registration fees

So it's no wonder that many spaniards are fleeing to flags like Belgium and Netherlands, which have far more reasonable requirements. In fact, there are already many boats owned by Spaniards, moored in Spanish marinas, but under belgian flag.

In my case, I'm thinking about buying in UK, but many interesting boats are unregistered, and they cannot be legally sailed into another country's territorial waters. One possibility would be to register in Isle of Man, which doesn't require being a resident. However, among the required docs a "Class Certificate" is mentioned, which must be issued by a Classification Society (Bureau Veritas, Lloyd and the like). The official website is not very clear about this, though it seems to be just a simple thing to certify LOA and tonnage. But it wouldn't be fun to get stuck on IoM because of some bureaucratic issue, or having to pay a costly survey.

Does anyone any practical experience with this? Thanks in advance!
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