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Old 07-08-2009, 18:29   #16
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One other “not so small” benefit of being foreign flagged is if you happen to have hired full time “paid crew” for support.

While it does not (and should not) allow the employer to behave unfairly to their crew, it does protect the Owner from nuisance claims from a disgruntled employee who wants to use local Dept of Labor to make life difficult.
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Old 07-08-2009, 19:12   #17
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No property taxes on boats in Maryland.
Just the water tax (equivalent to sales tax) when you register the boat and $5 a year after that for the sticker. USCG documented vessels need to be state registered if in the state for over 90 days.
The water police (by county usually, ie: Baltimore County police) stop boats without stickers every weekend in Middle River and around Annapolis all the time. I see them sitting near the 6 knot limit marker with binocs checking out boats passing by. If there are no speeders (they love Jetskis) they look for stickers. If it is calm water I usually stop by and offer them a soda on the way out. Nice guys just doin their jobs.
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Old 07-08-2009, 19:20   #18
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While it does not (and should not) allow the employer to behave unfairly to their crew, it does protect the Owner from nuisance claims from a disgruntled employee who wants to use local Dept of Labor to make life difficult.
But it does mean you can - if you feel the need / desire to do so. Being better than other people does carry the burden to demonstrate it. It's not an easy burden I'm sure.
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Old 07-08-2009, 20:30   #19
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Hmmm... it looks to me that most of the post here are about a hypothetical situation where a US citizen would erect a BVI company, put the boat in that company, registering it in the BVI, and put it in a marina in the US (or a private dock behind the house even!). This construction does not make sense.

However, this is a cruisers forum, so I was under the impression that the boat would wander around the world, basically hanging out everywhere incl. (sometimes) the USA. This would not be a problem at all. When you visit the USA you need to clear in and get a cruising permit like any other "foreign" flagged boat visiting the US. The cruising permit is valid for one year. Only boats that were built in the USA can extend it (indefinitely, see CUSTOMS DIRECTIVE NO. 3130-006A), all others have to clear out and clear in again (Canada, Mexico, Bahama's, Bermuda trips). The cruising permit is federal. It is like your free pass to the individual states as it overrules any state legislation, shielding you from any duties, taxes etc.

I have never seen a marina that charges different rates for different ensigns. So, marina rates will be the same, regardless of where you register the boat. There are no savings in marina fees when you register in the USA.

It is not strange at all for a US flagged boat to sail in UK waters. The authorities will have no problem with that, and US flagged boats are not rare at all.

You can register your boat in every country that allows non-citizens to own the shares of a local company. Maybe Iran wouldn't want that, there's always exceptions, but it basically is possible everywhere. The reason that most countries are never used for doing this, is because they charge taxes for owning a boat. Bad countries. The list mentioned before are good countries: no tax, not even on any profits that the company makes!

If in the EU, it's not just Jersey that is good for registering a boat. All the channel islands and of course Isle of Man is very popular too. Gibraltar is becoming a little unstable; it might already be Spanish for all I know ;-)

A BVI flagged & owned boat is completely legal in EU waters as long as it clears in and stays for the maximum 18 months. It doesn't matter what the nationalities of the crew are, that is something for immigration (might need visa's etc.). The clearing in & out is a customs procedure. Many Panamanian flagged ships have an EU captain. Again, the thing is that when you live in the EU and put your BVI flagged boat in your sailing club forever, they are gonna catch up with you some day because that is not legal.

I can assure you that foreign flagged boats are not stopped or boarded in US waters when they don't have some sticker that is for US flagged boats only. They do not start jumping up and down when they see a foreign flagged vessel. It's the other way around: you get the nice treatment because you are a visitor. That is anywhere but Miami (they say but we had no trouble there at all).

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 07-08-2009, 21:05   #20
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I can assure you that foreign flagged boats are not stopped or boarded in US waters when they don't have some sticker that is for US flagged boats only. They do not start jumping up and down when they see a foreign flagged vessel. It's the other way around: you get the nice treatment because you are a visitor. That is anywhere but Miami (they say but we had no trouble there at all).

cheers,
Nick.
I can assure you that if a foregn flagged sailboat went down Middle River and was spotted as a stickerless boat it would be stopped simply because the BCo water police probably wouldn't recognize the flag or know it was a foreign vessel. Don't get many of them thar ferin boats up here down on the river.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:18   #21
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US Registration

Hi
I bought a boat in Houston two month ago, the registration (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department) is valid until Jan 2010, in the old owners name, the boat is in Rio Dulce, Guatemala, I am a french citizen and will be cruising the area for the next few years. My question, How can I renew this registration and change the name of ownership ? To register the boat in any of the countries around here is only possible after paying import duties (expensive).
many thanks and kind regards
Marco Gross
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Old 09-08-2009, 15:44   #22
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How can I renew this registration and change the name of ownership ?
If you never registered it then you can't prove you own the boat. Some states do not require you to be a resident. USCG documentation clearly does. If you tried to fill out an application and lied you could be in jail because of it (if they caught you). States have different rules. Your bill of sale can be used to register the title of the boat but it is not itself registration or "proof of title". The registration sticker and documents you have that does not expire until 2010 is not yours it is the original owners. It was invalid after they sold the boat to you. They should have removed the registration in their name as it could be used in action against them as the registered owners. You really don't have a valid registration if someone checks. If they don't then you have time.
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Old 09-08-2009, 22:17   #23
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But it does mean you can - if you feel the need / desire to do so. Being better than other people does carry the burden to demonstrate it. It's not an easy burden I'm sure.
You’re right Paul; the burden is very much on the employer.

Anyone hiring full time crew should prepare a very detailed and yacht specific “Crew Agreement” that defines in contractual legalese the rights and responsibilities of the employer and employee.

Specifically list behavior which constitutes ‘gross misconduct” that are grounds for instant dismissal.

As well as being gross misconduct, specifically add a section, that local authorities will immediately be notified if crew are found possessing drugs, firearms or performing activities, contrary to local laws… as this addition may help to indemnify the yacht owner and employer from criminal or really stupid crew.

There are many other issues like “recreational accidents ashore”, “gross or willful negligence” “Income Taxes” and “Payment scheme” that need to be legally clarified in this Agreement, with the bottom line being that both parties know what is expected from them and in which Court, any disagreement will be heard (normally your country of Registry)

I would never hire a full time crew member unless they signed my Crew Agreement, (which is a fair and reasonable document).

The value of being “Foreign Registered” in your area of primary cruising is that any Employment Contract dispute will be legally judged in your country of registry.

This is especially valuable in 3rd world countries where you or the boat can be held hostage to local crew and Dept of Labor conspiracies if you have not been proactive in protecting yourself.
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Old 15-08-2009, 17:52   #24
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If you plan on cruising in the US then you're going to jump through a lot more hoops and have legal requirements that can make the decision seem less desirable. Non-US documented/registered boats are required to have cruising permits and must file Advanced Notice of Arrival (ANOA) forms with DHS/CG 96 hours prior to arrival.

Getting your boat documented will save much of the annual fees but many states have time limits for stays to avoid citizens grabbing that loophole. That's the way I've gone on my personal boats.

There are a lot of reasons why folks register their vessels elsewhere: tax savings, fewer "problems" with boats displaying the US flag, and tighter requirements. For many, BVI, Cayman, Channel Islands, and lately, Marshall Islands flags are showing up more often.
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