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Old 22-10-2013, 16:03   #16
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

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I'm going through a similar process, but I'm Canadian and thinking about buying a boat in Panama to eventually sail it through the Caribbean and up the East Coast to Canada.

This is my first boat and so not at all familiar with the process.

If the boat is registered in the US (and since I can't own it from what I've read), can I de-document it from Panama and get my Canadian flag from here as well? Can I do everything from my computer/phone in Panama?

Any Canadian knows who/where to knock to obtain Canadian Flag (I'm assuming the Coast Guard)?

Thanks,
Ben
If you are buying a boat built in a non NAFTA country you will have to pay GST/HST plus duty (another 9.6%). NAFTA built boats may be imported to Canada with GST/HST due only. Non taxes or duty is due until the vessel hits Canadian waters.

If the boat is under 15metres LOA. you can visit the Transport Canada website and do it all yourself including a simplified tonnage measurement.

If the boat is over 15metres LOA the tonnage measurement must be done by a Transport Canada Appointed Tonnage Surveyor ..... Me and it is possible to do it without seeing it If I already have that model on file or can get a hold of the builders line drawings (sometimes).

There are a few links here that will guide you.

I strongly recommend against a newbie buying a foreign, salt water boat as chances of getting badly burned are about 98%. P.T.Barnum is waiting for you.

Suggest you also read Marine Survey 101 and Buying a Hurricane Boat, these two articles will give you some idea of what a newbie is up against.
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Old 25-10-2013, 09:25   #17
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

Thanks Boatpoaker,

Very helpful and enlightning links. Definately helps in keeping cool in the buying process.

Who do I need to contact to de-flag a Florida registered vessel?
Any idea of the cost?
The deflag/reflag process should be done before I buy the boat or is it part of the act of selling (since I can't own a US boat as a Canadian...).

Thanks,
Ben
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Old 25-10-2013, 09:31   #18
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

I met a Brazilian/French couple who registered their ex US boat in The Netherlands, they said it was the simplest and you didn't need to be a Dutch resident.

If you can show a UK address, Part III registration is easy too.
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Old 25-10-2013, 10:40   #19
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesBen View Post
Thanks Boatpoaker,

Very helpful and enlightning links. Definately helps in keeping cool in the buying process.

Who do I need to contact to de-flag a Florida registered vessel?
Any idea of the cost?
The deflag/reflag process should be done before I buy the boat or is it part of the act of selling (since I can't own a US boat as a Canadian...).

Thanks,
Ben
You need a letter of release from the USCG for which there is no cost.
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Old 25-10-2013, 10:53   #20
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

what sort of boat are you looking to buy?
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Old 25-10-2013, 11:36   #21
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

Again, thanks for the replies.

I'm looking to buy a small used boat (>35') for coastal Caribbean cruising... and eventually sail it North up to Québec City. This is a first boat and I am on a limited budget (don't want a loan).

I have a contract in Panama that ends in March 2014, so that gives my time to enjoy the boat and get more sailing experience here (San Blas and Bocas del Toro archipels are within a 24h coastal sail each). If the boat is suitable, then I'd take it back sailing through Honduras, Guatemala (Rio Dulce), Belize, Cuba and Florida up!

Salud,
Ben
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Old 28-10-2013, 11:26   #22
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

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Originally Posted by JamesBen View Post
Thanks Boatpoaker,



Who do I need to contact to de-flag a Florida registered vessel?

Ben
If it's a Florida registered vessel it's just a state license that expires if not renewed. No need for USCG or de-flagging as it is not a documented vessel.
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Old 28-10-2013, 11:48   #23
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If it's a Florida registered vessel it's just a state license that expires if not renewed. No need for USCG or de-flagging as it is not a documented vessel.
Always seek some form of deflagging letter , many registries will not register without something stating the previous registration is terminated or lapsed

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Old 28-10-2013, 12:28   #24
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

"borrowed" from another person that actually talked to FL DMV.


Florida doesn’t have any system for formally de-registering a vessel.
• Informally, an existing registration becomes invalid (“historic” to use her word) should the annual renewal fee not get paid.
• But this is in no way the same thing as a permanent de-listing from the register, for which they have no set procedure or precedent.
• The only option open to me is to formally request a cancellation of the title and registration together.
• To do this I would have to send them the original certificate of title & original bill of sale, together with an accompanying letter explaining my request.
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Old 28-10-2013, 13:50   #25
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Re: Buy a sailboat being foreigner

Comming back to re-flag process. Due to I'm intrested in using the vessel 1 or 2 years in the Caribbean sea. I was wondering if re flagging under Bahamas Flag is an easy registration.
I don't want to avoid paying taxes in my country, the reason is I'be thousand of miles from there so I can't register the boat if there is no survey for the authoorities in place.
For instance, may I register under Bahamas Flag temporary when I buy a boat in Florida, and to go sailing to Bahamas and to make the permanent registration when I get there?
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Old 28-10-2013, 14:39   #26
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From memory, the Bahamas has a yacht registry that has no nationality requirements and provided the yacht is built to a recognised stsndard , there is no survey requirement. You can now apply completely by email I believe. You simply must have the intent to vist the Bahamas.

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Old 28-10-2013, 15:27   #27
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But I think, I cann't flag as Argentinian boat while I'm in US.
?
You are right. I have been in your position. Prefectura will not let you "document" the boat (using American dialect) unless you take it to Argentina and go through the importation process, which is very expensive and only possible if you have lived abroad for 2 or so years and had the boat registered in your name for those 2 or so years in the country where you lived.
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Old 28-10-2013, 15:55   #28
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I hope to stay in Florida less than 90 days.

So, my last question is as soon I´ll buy a sailboat, can I sail to Caribbean, with documentation you fellows said (ie stevensc) ??
You cannot "document" the boat with USCG (this is like registration with Prefectura ie a federal thing) because you are not a citizen.

That said, if things have not changed lately you can "register" the boat with the state of Delaware or Florida. If you choose Delaware you will get a registration number that starts with DL, as seen in many boats in any port in Uruguay that areowned by Argentines. I do not remember the starting letters for Florida, probably FL.

The state registration is not as "good" as the USCG "documentation" but should work for you in the Caribbean provided you do not go to the French islands or French Guiana. The French know that Delaware and Florida are not countries and may make your life very difficult. This state registration is very cheap for a cheap boat and is the quickest option.

If you are also a EU citizen you can do a Part III British Reg if you are a resident of the UK. Lots of people fake that residence by using a friend's address. I would worry about that.

If the boat is expensive then it may make sense to register in one of the former British colonies in the Caribbean, but expect costs of thousands of dollars to start and then in the order of at least a thousand dollars per year.

If you are a EU citizen you have other options that are more expensive than part III British registration but they do not require you to fake a residence and they are still cheaper than registering in a former Brit colony through a corporation.

If you have a close friend or relative who is a US citizen then they can buy the boat, document it and let you use it. Just make sure you get a good piece of paper that says you are authorized to use it.

If you register in Florida/Delaware in your name or go through an American friend/relative then make sure you understand how will you bring the boat back in to the US if your plans include that. I say this because there are some tricky issues. They can be dealt with but you need to plan in advance.

Feel free to send me a PM if you want more details.

Saludos

Charlie
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Old 28-10-2013, 16:21   #29
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Bahamas is $700 per annum , no initial fees , plus some charges for paperwork


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Old 31-10-2013, 19:48   #30
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46 USC 12103 is clear. A foreigner can own a USCG documented pleasure craft as long as it is held through a US corporation, of which the CEO, chairman, and majority of the board are US citizens. I set this up all the time.
The ownership percentages apply to fisheries endorsements or i think coastwise trade.
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