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Old 12-07-2016, 08:30   #1
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Location: Annapolis, MD
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Legal Questions: Buying a foreign flag boat in the States

1. What is the procedure of purchasing a boat coming from other country by a U.S. citizen intended to use in the States?

2. I often see sailboat ads with foreign flag in Florida brokers site, they always have a statement saying the boat is not available to to sell in U.S. What is the story behind this.

3. Does the purchaser requires to go thru a broker or lawyer? This purchase is for formality only

4. I assume that the buyer requires to pay 1.5% import tax, is there other major expenses in this process.

TIA
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:39   #2
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Re: Legal Questions: Buying a foreign flag boat in the States

I am a Canadian and purchased a South African boat in Florida. It also stated not for sale to US citizens.
From what I understand, in addition to paying the import duties and registering it in the US it also has to pass Coast Guard regs.

Here are a few of the items that we did so that the boat reached Canadian regs.
1. Replaced all fuel line with A1 fuel line
2. Installed fire ports in engine bays
3. Added smoke and CO detectors in engine room, galley, and each hull
4. Replaced all life jackets
5. Replaced all fire extinguishers
6. Removed the propane system and replaced the entire thing with new
7. Replaced all seacocks (they were plastic)
And the list goes on...

It's an expensive thing to register some boats in the US and I suspect most sellers don't want to do that when they don't have a guaranteed sale.

If you are US citizen you could always see about travelling to seller's country and buying it there, then come home to US and pick up your boat. I have also heard of people in Florida just running over to the Bahamas to make the buy there.

Also, only US citizens can register in US. So they would have to create a company in Delaware or such and transfer the boat to the company, have it registered, etc. Real pain when there is no buyer
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Old 12-07-2016, 14:36   #3
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Re: Legal Questions: Buying a foreign flag boat in the States

The not for sale to a US resident is because the boats are in the US under cruising permit. See write up here Catamarans for Sale
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