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Old 05-10-2008, 10:59   #1
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Shipping Spares to the British Virgin Islands

At the end of hurricane season we will be heading back to Virgin Gorda to recommission Quest and head out for some open-ended cruising. There are a few boat related items that we would like to pick up while we are here in the States and we wonder about shipping these items ahead or packing them in our luggage (we will most likely have checked luggage). Any thoughts on customs duties, regulations, etc for ship's spares?
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:24   #2
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I've never done this in the BVI, but there are generally country-specific rules applying to this issue.

Some boatyards or vendors will provide the service of accepting items for duty-free delivery, but you need to arrange it in advance. For example, you may need to have the items shipped to a local entity, like the boatyard you're in, and have the package marked a prescribed way, including something like, "Yacht in Transit". You may also have to have copies of your inbound clearance and your yacht documentation on file, as well as some government paperwork filled out.

Point is, you need to find out specifically what the BVI requires, or risk having to pay the duties on your spares.
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:05   #3
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This “Shipping Packages & Mail” thread died an early death, but perhaps it could be revived.

Shipping Packages & Mail

Sometimes customs duties & taxes can be avoided when goods are imported directly to the vessel, and consigned as “Yacht-in-Transit”.
Often, yacht parts sent for "Yachts in Transit" are duty-free, but require professional brokerage, local installation, and/or ‘special’ documentation. Private courier companies (UPS, FedEx, Purolator, etc.) can sometimes expedite things advantageously
Usually, the items to be imported must be specifically for repair or maintenance , and anything that could possibly be sold separately from the boat, is subject to duties.
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:27   #4
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I think you would be best served to ship to the USVI and then pick up the items there. Although "yachts in transit" shouldn't need to pay duties and VAT I wouldn't expect that the process is automatic. I had a rudder shipped to the boatyard on VG from France and ended up paying BOTH US and BVI import duties because they shipped through Florida. I didn't contest it because I needed the rudder and didn't want to wait the weeks it would most likely have taken to clear paperwork.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:46   #5
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Depending upon how much you are taking, the above advice about going to STT is probably a good idea.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:22   #6
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If you can fit them in your luggage, take them with you and go through the 'nothing to declare' line. The odds of the customs guys going through your luggage are less than one in ten thousand, as it scares away the tourists.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:24   #7
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donradcliffe - the last 2 times I've flown into the BVI the customs inspectors opened the luggage of every single passenger, belongers and non-belongers alike!

Then again, opening doesn't mean finding. I was asked what I had and stated "Personal effects only" and the officer opened up the duffel to discover about 200 sachets of coffee for a Nespresso machine, a battery powered drill kit and a big heavy commercial grade electrical buffer wrapped by 2 T-Shirts. He looked at this, dug around to see if there was anything else in there and then waved me on without a word.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:32   #8
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They always check baggage in BVI. Albeit somewhat sloppily. When I used to charter we always took enough munchies to last the three weeks. There is a 10% customs duty on food. We would tell the officer we had $100 worth of food and give him/her $10. We would then get waved through.
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Old 07-10-2008, 14:51   #9
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I have staggered through a lot of airport customs lines, carrying tens of thousands of dollars worth of bulky boat parts (autopilots,sewing machines, 5 ft wind generator blades, watermaker membranes, windlass motors, folding bicycles, etc.) into places like Sydney, Tahiti, Bangkok, Istanbul, Caracas, and Madrid, and never had a problem, but the local knowledge says you are better off flying into St Thomas and then bringing the boat over.

Turkey is a tough place to ship boat parts to, but I saw one guy wheeling a huge box off the plane in Istanbul with a picture of a child's electric car on it, and the customs guys turned their backs on him as well as me--maybe it was time for their tea break.
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Old 07-10-2008, 16:00   #10
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St Thomas or St. John is the way to go. I personally ship to St. John when ever possible because it is a shorter hop and I have a friend who allows me to share her post office box number...BUT they only hold items a limited time and then will return them... check and attempt to place a hold if your using a mail box number. The marina at Red Hook will also accept items if you have a slip reserved. They charge about $3.00 per item but do have a limited space in the office to hold items. Anything UPS or FedEx would ship would probably be OK. I've done this several times myself.

BVI does check luggage although some what of an overview in most cases... I've had several bags opened coming and going..
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Old 07-10-2008, 16:25   #11
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Jumbyway, if there is anything I can do to help, let me know. We will be cruising around the BVIs for a couple of weeks in the middle of November. I have a local mailing address (home) and a business PO Box at the main Post Office on St Thomas.
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