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Old 06-02-2019, 23:51   #1
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Boat purchasing logistics as a foreigner.

I am here to pick all of your wonderfully informative, salty brains! Although I love it, there is only so much trawling through other people threads, and reading every website EVER that you can tolerate.

So... My partner (a kiwi) and myself (a brit), are currently in NZ working, saving and planning..... to do what exactly.?

Our plan (A), is to buy a yacht in America/ Caribbean, cruise around the Caribbean for a season, pass through the Panama, across to the Pacific Islands, and then eventually back to NZ (2 year plan). We will remain in NZ living on the yacht for another year, before heading to Australia and beyond. Easy right?!

I am wanting to know as much information as possible about the logistics and legalities for buying a yacht as foreigners in Caribbean/America. Is it possible and what will we need to do?
We will aim to buy and prepare the boat as quick as possible but aware it will probably take longer than we think. What visas will we need to obtain for searching/buying and then onward cruising?
Also where would you suggest the best place to register it? NZ/UK/USA?
Any advice on whether we would need to pay tax leaving the US?

I understand these questions could be rather vague- for which I apologise. However, we just want to try and get some clear and hopefully up to date answers and ideas.

Everything we will do will be as shoestring as possible!
To give you an idea, we will be buying a yacht (34-40ft) for around USD$25000 ($40000 NZD). Hopefully with little or no work needed to be done. Anything that does need to be done, we will do ourselves.

We have experienced 2 years living on a yacht in Greece and are now ready to take the plunge into the sea of dreams, and do it long term on our own vessel. (sorry if its all a bit cliché!!)

Depending on what information you all come up with, we then might let you in on Plan B!

Much appreciated and thanks in advance...

In other news... Any generous salties out there have a yacht that matches the description..?
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Old 16-03-2019, 16:47   #2
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Re: Boat purchasing logistics as a foreigner.

I'm quite curious about the answer to your questions. I would be / am in a similar situation. Just as an FYI I have no experience so everything I talk about below is just based on 2nd hand information I have scraped together.

Worth looking into the taxes around bring a boat into NZ, from my understanding it is really high, but depends on your residence (probably tax residency). You might be able to get around it because you're British, but if you are planning to sail the boat here, and then working from here, I suspect you would have to pay the tax. It's because of this that (as far as I understand) people will leave there boats in Fiji and fly back to NZ rather than sailing here.

Annoyingly my understanding is that NZ also charges tax on the delivery cost... and that doesn't exclude delivering it yourself. I think they base it on what it would cost for a hired crew. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong about that.

It does make me wonder about just buying something in NZ although it would likely be more expensive. Also there seems to be less selection and variety. It could work for me, as I would like to head north and eventually to Korea and Japan. But can't really argue with starting the Journey in the Caribbean or Med.
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Old 16-03-2019, 17:49   #3
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Re: Boat purchasing logistics as a foreigner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annabelkwilson View Post
I am here to pick all of your wonderfully informative, salty brains! Although I love it, there is only so much trawling through other people threads, and reading every website EVER that you can tolerate.

So... My partner (a kiwi) and myself (a brit), are currently in NZ working, saving and planning..... to do what exactly.?

Our plan (A), is to buy a yacht in America/ Caribbean, cruise around the Caribbean for a season, pass through the Panama, across to the Pacific Islands, and then eventually back to NZ (2 year plan). We will remain in NZ living on the yacht for another year, before heading to Australia and beyond. Easy right?!

I am wanting to know as much information as possible about the logistics and legalities for buying a yacht as foreigners in Caribbean/America. Is it possible and what will we need to do?
We will aim to buy and prepare the boat as quick as possible but aware it will probably take longer than we think. What visas will we need to obtain for searching/buying and then onward cruising?
Also where would you suggest the best place to register it? NZ/UK/USA?
Any advice on whether we would need to pay tax leaving the US?

I understand these questions could be rather vague- for which I apologise. However, we just want to try and get some clear and hopefully up to date answers and ideas.

Everything we will do will be as shoestring as possible!
To give you an idea, we will be buying a yacht (34-40ft) for around USD$25000 ($40000 NZD). Hopefully with little or no work needed to be done. Anything that does need to be done, we will do ourselves.

We have experienced 2 years living on a yacht in Greece and are now ready to take the plunge into the sea of dreams, and do it long term on our own vessel. (sorry if its all a bit cliché!!)

Depending on what information you all come up with, we then might let you in on Plan B!

Much appreciated and thanks in advance...

In other news... Any generous salties out there have a yacht that matches the description..?
Well, this one slipped under the radar...

Also where would you suggest the best place to register it? NZ/UK/USA?

If you can I would register her in the UK.... even better buy a boat already UK flag....do not... I repeat... do not put her under NZ flag esp if you are planning on going there...

If you are going to NZ best you have the yacht in your name and that you are not a NZ resident.

we will be buying a yacht (34-40ft) for around USD$25000 ($40000 NZD). Hopefully with little or no work needed to be done.

Good luck with that....

A class of boat covering that price range... https://au.yachtworld.com/core/listi...esterly+conway

The one in the US ( with the grass growing around it ) needs a lot of work... I can see that in the pics and in the specs......
The one in Spain ( have you thought of buying in the Med?) ... double the money but presents well....

You may be able to do the labour yourself but things still cost.... the US one has a 40 yo motor.... the Spanish one... a 20 year old Beta..

Then there is the rig and sails....... and so it goes on...

Good luck
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Old 01-05-2019, 11:55   #4
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Re: Boat purchasing logistics as a foreigner.

Quite a nightmare .... check your country laws regarding registration and flag
Check if taxes are paid on the boat!

Buy closer to home possibly Langkawi ?
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:39   #5
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Re: Boat purchasing logistics as a foreigner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annabelkwilson View Post
...we will be buying a yacht (34-40ft) for around USD$25000 ($40000 NZD). Hopefully with little or no work needed to be done.
Hate to burst your bubble, but any 35 ft. boat that you find for $25k USD is most certainly going to need at least SOME work before it will be ready for the kind of journey you are talking about. Probably a LOT of work!

As to buying a boat, at least in the United States, there are no special restrictions on foreign citizens, nor any special visa required. Many states will exempt you from paying sales tax if you remove the boat from the state within a certain amount of time (90 days for Florida).

But what you really need to be aware of is that every state is different. They all have their own laws, and no two are exactly alike. Just like every country in the Caribbean is different. In the end, you have to research the laws for the specific place that you end up finding a boat to buy.

Good luck.
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Old 01-05-2019, 15:09   #6
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Re: Boat purchasing logistics as a foreigner.

As you are not US citizens you cannot US flag the vessel. As you are of two different citizenships, you may find that the vessel cannot be flagged with both of you as owners--you'd have to check NZ and UK law to find out if a non-citizen can be on the papers as an owner. Or you may need to have one of you the "51%" owner and the other as the 49% owner, in order to allow flagging.

Who owns the boat is not just a matter of estate planning and finances, but your insurer may have a voice in that, and if one of you becomes ill and the other has to sail the boat across borders, you may need formal papers giving you that power, unless you are listed as an owner. Keep that in mind while you query the NZ and UK authorities as to what your options are.

As to visas while you are boat searching? Those would be tourist visas for whatever places you are going to. If you go to see a boat and immediately fall in love with it, it can still easily take a week to line up the survey and seat trial, another week to line up funds and go to contract (and that's unusually fast) and then you may find it takes a week or two to shake down the boat, find out what needs to be done, two more weeks to order in spares (not as likely to be on hand in some of the islands)...a 90-day or longer visa might pay off so it covers your whole process.

Many of the "we're buying a boat!" folks on YouTube have found surprises two to four months AFTER they bought it, and that's supposedly after a reputable survey. Buying a boat in that price range, you can expect a month of work and waiting before you are ready to set off and if you want something like proper new sails? Problematic, because it can easily take two months to get those made and shipped to someplace where you can pick them up.

Especially if you are planning to extensively cruise on the boat, you need to expect to spend time prepping and fixing, or doing it while you are underway.
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Old 04-05-2019, 08:10   #7
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Re: Boat purchasing logistics as a foreigner.

Hi there

I am doing something similar, but I'm a bit further along than you - I just bought the boat.

I have dual Aus / UK citizenship, and live in Aus.

I decided to buy a boat in Grenada, West Indies - partly because I didn't need a visa (I think that's true for all Commonwealth countries, so it'd work for you both), partly because it's outside the hurricane box, and I knew I'd want to spend some time fixing the boat and getting used to sailing her. Grenada also has plenty of boats to pick from, and it's a beautiful place.

I was going to register the boat in Aus, but the documentation agent advised against it. Aus rego is very expensive and I don't want to sail to Australia - only around the Caribbean. Your situation is different, but if you do NZ rego and sail to NZ, as others have pointed out, you'll have to pay the taxes when you get there (as Aus registered boats have to do when they enter Australia).

For UK registration, if you have at least 6 months' residency in the UK each year, you can register on the small ships register (SSR) - dead cheap and easy, apparently. If you don't meet the residency requirements, then you can still register on part 1 of the UK ships register, and you'll need to nominate someone in the UK to receive the paperwork. Part 1 is also very affordable (around 125 pounds for five years, I think?), but you will need a tonnage certificate from a recognised surveyor. As with NZ, if you sail a UK registered boat to the UK you're up to pay the tax.

On the agent's recommendation, I am registering the boat in Delaware (US). I am not a US citizen and can't do US Coast Guard registration, but apparently the Delaware state rego is widely used internationally. You don't need to be a state resident and there are no survey / tonnage requirements. You can do a one or three-year rego and the fees depend on the boat length, but they are pretty affordable (as an indicator: US$300 for three years for a 40ft boat).

One thing the agent did tell me was that she had had a client who had had trouble entering Aus with a Delaware rego. For me, that's not a concern because I'm not wanting to sail to Aus; not sure what the situation would be entering NZ. I've seen some online discussion about problems checking into the French Caribbean islands with only a state rego, but the consensus over here from the boat owners I've spoken to who have Delaware rego is that no one has had any issues.

One additional thing I hadn't really thought about was getting an MMSI for the radio once you have your rego - factor that into your planning and budget.

Lastly, as someone else pointed out, the rego and the flag are different - the flagging refers to the owners' nationality. Our boat with be Delaware registered and Australian flagged.

Best of luck with your plans!
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