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Old 18-12-2012, 06:52   #1
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Purchasing a boat in the USA and bringing it back to Canada

I am considering purchasing a sailboat in the USA to be brought back to Canada for sailing in the Great Lakes. I have the option of sailing it back or shipping it back. I have had conflicting information regarding registration,duties, sales taxes, Coast Guard requirements etc. Does anyone have the full scoop on this topic?
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Old 19-12-2012, 22:54   #2
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Re: Purchasing a boat in the USA and bringing it back to Canada

I've done this two seasons ago in 2011 ... brought a power boat from Idaho to Ontario. I do not know how boat import is done on the water but from my many boarder crossings on land and on water, I would suggest doing it via land crossing. Canadian CBSA seems to be better prepared on land for clearing major imports.

There is nothing you need to report to US officials.

You need to have a bill of sale with all the details including HIN and price, and the deed/title transferred to you. Have supporting documents like an ad with boat description, seller offer, etc to support the purchasing price ... especially if you got a great deal.

You need to be there in person, or hire a bonded broker ($$$) to represent you (big waste of money, imho).

You just drive to the crossing, clear your person, and they move you to the office ... or meet the hauler at the office. There the officer checks the HIN, purchase price, and you pay GST and PST ... 13% total if your residence is in Ontario. You pay it right there, and they accept major credit cards. Really painless process if all papers are in order ... 30 mins and you are done.

Importing a transport trailer is a bit more complicated ... ask me for details if this is your case.

Once the boat is in Canada for period of time (3 or 6 months, cannot remember), you have to licence it with and get a licence number from Transport Canada. I think it was free or some small fee, and is valid for 10 years.

As far as CCG is concerned ... nothing to do, amazingly nobody asked for nor checked boat's compliance with Canadian standards. Once the boat is in water, it must be equipped with CCG required and Transport Canada approved safety equipment as specified for your type of boat.

I do not know what would be involved when registering the vessel with CCG ... but you do not have to do this if you are planning to stay in the waters of Great Lakes and tributaries.

BTW, I was crossing using 1000 Islands Bridge (Lansdowne Crossing), and it was two seasons ago. Please verify with CBSA the current procedures: Directory of CBSA Offices
Richard_W is offline   Reply With Quote

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