Thank you all for the help. I received my registration
certificate today. In the end I was able to use the UK SSR Part 3, as I am normally resident in the UK. (even though the boat is not.) This does not require a tonnage survey, unlike part 1 of the registry.
In case it helps anybody, after purchasing
the boat in the US, this is what I did. This process was determined by talking with the local DMV in California, the various brokers involved, some online research
, and some trial and error.
The boat was federally documented with the USCG when I bought it. As a non US (British) citizen, I was not able to transfer the documentation
to my name, there are ways around this by forming a company in Delaware, however as my intention was to use the red ensign, this was not appealing to me at the time.
As such the boat had to be undocumented, this needs to be done pretty much as soon as you take ownership
of the vessel. I used a third party company to do this for expediency, but it is not a complex process to do yourself. The end result is that you will get a deletion certificate. (This can be used to prove the vessel is no longer documented in a foreign registry should your new registry of choice require such proof (SSR did not.)
As the boat was moored in California, and was sold in California waters, I needed to register the boat with the DMV in California, and pay sales tax, and yearly property tax. I again used a third party for this, but if I had been in the US at the time, I would have walked into the DMV some cash, and filled out the form. In return you get a CA title of registration, it looks like a regular ships registration document, is valid for the whole of the US, but is not strictly speaking internationally recognized. (Although some people do use it in place of a federal registration document and seem to get away with it, YMMV)
At this point, if the boat was sailing only in US waters, there wouldnt be anything else required, however as it is my intention to sail about a bit, I wanted the vessel flagged with a red ensign, with documentation
which would pass muster more or less anywhere. As such I chose the UK SSR, there are a bunch of requirements for this, which have been debated ad-nauseam on just about every boating
forum, needless to say after some consulting with the MCA, it was a no-brainer to use the SSR as its basically a bargain. I had initially thought this required a tonnage survey, however that is only required for Part 1, not Part 3 of the SSR.
To get this, I filled in a form online, just before christmas
, and received my certificate a week or so later. (the royal mail accounting for almost 90% of the time....) Once I had the SSR number, i then logged onto the website for offcom and got my radio license
, call sign, and MMSI number.
Now, the next part is to obtain a TIP from the USCG, it isn't entirely clear how to do this, and it seems that as the boat is already in the US, taxes are paid, and its state registered, there is no need to do so at this stage. It seems I would need a TIP when the boat clears back in to the US, as I'm leaving the US shortly to head
south, I wont be able to clarify if that is the case or not.
Before leaving the US, you need to unregister the boat from the state registry, else you are liable for property tax and all sorts of other fun stuff for the state of California, to do that, head to the DMV with proof that the boat is registered elsewhere, (ie, the SSR certificate) and you're done.
Once I'm successfully cleared into another country, Ill give an update on the
I also considered some other options, having lived for a number of years in the Netherlands
, Dutch registration was also appealing, whilst more expensive than the UK SSR, it would also be a very straight forward process, and has no requirements about residency (must be EU citizen or form EU company) however for full registration in the Kadaster you must have a microdot fitted to your boat, which can be done only by certified people, which would have been prohibitively expensive in my current
situation, but possibly ideal had the boat been in the Caribbean
Working for a Belgian company also gave me some options, as they have similar requirements as the Kadaster but without the microdot, the process would have cost a few hundred euros however, for no additional benefits over the SSR. Should I ever use my boat for commercial purposes this may be a better solution, whilst the requirements are not that much different from the MCA coding, it will probably be cheaper to have the boat certified so outside of the EU compared to the MCA coding process.
Finally - the tonnage survey itself is a specific survey particular to British (and some other commonwealth countries) used predominantly for taxation. Whilst it is possible to calculate these figures accurately yourself, the document needs to be provided by an accredited surveyor, who must inspect the boat in person. There are some in the US, and Carribbean, but few on the west coast
All the best, and thanks again for the help, advice and encouragement.