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Old 24-06-2012, 14:47   #1
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Buying a boat in another country, how hard

I live in the USA, but I have seen some boats for sale in other countries that interest me. But I am concerned about getting hit with paper work and "fees" that will turn what seems like a good deal in to a boat costing more than one bought in the USA.

The boats I am interested in are located in Thailand and BVI.

One nice thing about buying a boat in paradise is you do not have to sail there.

Has anyone done this, and if so would you share your thoughts.
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Old 24-06-2012, 14:51   #2
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Re: Buying a boat in another country, how hard

I did it. You have to look into import duties (use an agent for this - Jay Reynolds was good for me), state sales tax, USCG documentation (you can do this alone, but it can be time consuming). Import duties are not huge. State sales tax is the biggest cost. You can save fees by doing as much of it yourself as you can. This is if you want to bring it to the US. If you don't, it may be a lot easier.
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Old 24-06-2012, 15:06   #3
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Re: Buying a boat in another country, how hard

Depends. Are you going to keep it in Thailand or bring it to the US?
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Old 24-06-2012, 15:08   #4
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Fine Print is IMPORTANT

Read, Read again and then a 3rd Time the Listing details, Offer and Purchase Contract VERY - VERY - VERY carefully.
Many of the customary clauses and consumer protection wording i.e.; cancellation, walk away, etc used in many USA states are not present or offered in other countries.

Also if the contract does not mention specific items i.e.; Survey, Rig Survey, Engine Survey, Sea Trial, etc, etc. WRITE it in or attach a Rider that all parties sign.

Don't ask, just trust me on this one
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Old 24-06-2012, 15:52   #5
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Re: Buying a boat in another country, how hard

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Originally Posted by Doodles View Post
Depends. Are you going to keep it in Thailand or bring it to the US?
Good question.

Most of the boats I have been looking at are somewhere in the Caribbean, a place where I plan to do most of my cruising.

But I have read some good things about Thailand cruising and the cost of living. While that is a big move for someone who lives and has sailed in Florida and the Bahamas it is not out of the realm of possibility.

Which raises another good question, how hard is it to deal with the paperwork, what ever, of buying and keeping a boat in Thailand. Same question for Caribbean.

I have some idea what it would cost tax wise and to register and document a boat in Florida/US, but I have no idea what is required out of the US.
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Old 24-06-2012, 16:27   #6
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Re: Buying a boat in another country, how hard

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Which raises another good question, how hard is it to deal with the paperwork, what ever, of buying and keeping a boat in Thailand. Same question for Caribbean.
For Thailand I would recommend strongly using one of the big yacht brokers like Lee Marine (or Asia Marine or Simpson Marine) in Phuket for the transaction. It's complicated and you need someone that reads and speaks Thai and knows the system. They sell a lot of boats to foreigners, so they know the ins and outs of the process.

It will probably depend on your status in the country as well, i.e. resident or non-resident.

Cost? Not expensive tax-wise I don't think. If you have to pay the VAT it's 7% I think of the FMV which can vary a lot depending on the person doing the appraisal which is one on the reasons to get professional help. We learned this when we brought our household goods in from the US which were subject to VAT for retirees.
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Old 24-06-2012, 17:48   #7
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Read that Carefully Too

Broker's Agreement - Same advice = Read x 3
Caveat Emptor - will smack you in the head(and wallet) if you miss one detail or area of fine print

Also don't underestimate transportation getting back & forth to boat, any repairs or refitting in a foreign land, etc

Good Luck
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Old 25-06-2012, 00:21   #8
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Re: Buying a boat in another country, how hard

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Originally Posted by tomfl View Post
But I have read some good things about Thailand cruising and the cost of living. While that is a big move for someone who lives and has sailed in Florida and the Bahamas it is not out of the realm of possibility.

Which raises another good question, how hard is it to deal with the paperwork, what ever, of buying and keeping a boat in Thailand. Same question for Caribbean.

I have some idea what it would cost tax wise and to register and document a boat in Florida/US, but I have no idea what is required out of the US.
Tom - Further to our exchange on profile page.

Thailand offers a retirement visa scheme. I think having a legal residency in Thialand will be prerequisite to own and register a boat in Thailand. Basic retirement visa rules are that you prove you can support yourself. This equates to about US$25k in a Thai bank and income of about US$2k a month. The visa needs to be renewed yearly. Read about it here - Retirement Visa to Thailand | Thai Visa Application for Retirement

Owning a boat in Thailand may be a bit more complicated but lots of guys do it so I think no big problem.

Another option is registration in Malaysia. Langkawi is a duty free port so the Thai broker "exports" it to Langkawi and you register it tax free there. I haven't done the research but I understand that there is no problem with non-resident owning a boat registered in Malaysia.

As an American I don't know if you could register it in your state if it is not physically present there - while interesting to explore why would you want to? You'd likely pay taxes on it...

Malaysia also has a retirement scheme - Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H). It is more expensive to get going but the visa is for 10 years. Basically over 50 you have to drop US$50k in a Malaysia bank and have income of US$3k a month. This visa comes with other perks.

Malaysia My Second Home

The Malaysia scheme has actually gone up in recent years but is my current choice. Malaysia is more stable than Thailand and the rules are better established and consistent.

A good solution is the MM2H programme and Malaysian registered vessel.

Now if you don't mind moving around continuously, as an American you can usually get 60-90 day visa on arrival. Move between countries every 3 months and you are OK - Just gotta figure out how and where to register the boat.

My brother has been in Thailand/Malaysia doing just this since October waiting for the right time to head back to Oz. Where he will have the boat imported and registered.
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Old 08-07-2012, 23:56   #9
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Re: Buying a boat in another country, how hard

hi guys as of tomorrow am off to thailand from darwin to have surveyed a prout snowgoose and after sea trial myself and the owner are sailing south to langkawi where the final payment will be made if all goes well ,shall keep you informed on progress .at the same time i cannot go past the broker he has done very well [alan giles owner boatshed phuket]






RECENT SURVEY STATES , THAT 3/4 OF PEOPLE MAKE UP 75%OF THE POPULATION .
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Old 09-07-2012, 18:33   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jomac1
hi guys as of tomorrow am off to thailand from darwin to have surveyed a prout snowgoose and after sea trial myself and the owner are sailing south to langkawi where the final payment will be made if all goes well ,shall keep you informed on progress .at the same time i cannot go past the broker he has done very well [alan giles owner boatshed phuket]

RECENT SURVEY STATES , THAT 3/4 OF PEOPLE MAKE UP 75%OF THE POPULATION .
My brother used alan Giles. Pretty happy with the results. Alan is hard working and diligent. My brother did the same thing. Boat located, viewed and surveyed inThialand, sailed to Langkawi for title transfer.

Good luck!
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