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Old 08-10-2014, 15:30   #1
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Canadian buying a boat in states

Hello ! I'm very new to sailing and my question is if I am canadian and I purchased a boat in Florida , could I sail it to Cuba ? Would the boat be registered as canadian after I purchased it or would it still stay as a US boat ? Thanks for any info !


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Old 13-10-2014, 14:28   #2
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

Rick,

I think you can register in Canada or anywhere you like, if Canada, my understanding is no tax(HST) is payable until the vessel enters Canadian waters (if ever). If entering another country make sure you know their laws before arriving (contact Foreign Affairs here and they will put you in contact with the right authority) as laws change and we are often unaware...happy sailing!
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Old 13-10-2014, 14:51   #3
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

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Originally Posted by Rick004 View Post
Hello ! I'm very new to sailing and my question is if I am canadian and I purchased a boat in Florida , could I sail it to Cuba ? Would the boat be registered as canadian after I purchased it or would it still stay as a US boat ? Thanks for any info !


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Yup, you could. As others have said, no problem registering it in Canada, and you do not may GST until back in country, if it ever gets here.

As far as Cuba is concerned, just be aware that although most have had no problems, technically the US could ban you for 6 months if your boat was in Cuba. If your returning, you are better of going to a third country first (Mexico or Bahamas) and ports such as Stuart or Tampa are not as concerned as some of the officials in the Keys are.

I also think it is a good idea to hit Cuba before it totally opens up, and the unique character of it is gone. As you know, many of us Canadians fly charter there for winter holidays.
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Old 13-10-2014, 15:19   #4
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

If you buy a US boat that is federally registered or "Documented" (the correct legal term for a boat that is "registered" with the US Coast Guard) you would have to undocument the boat as non US citizens are not allowed to document a vessel.

You do have the option of registering the boat in an individual state since none of them have the same restriction. Of course you can register in Canada as well.

The other advise is correct. Some US Customs offices get kind of nasty if you check back into the US directly from Cuba. Key West especially and some other south Florida locations are known for this. Stop in Mexico or Bahamas on the way back if you plan to stop in the US.

Not my area of expertise since I am a US citizen but I think you may need some kind of paperwork to keep the boat here or to cruise here long term.
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Old 13-10-2014, 21:39   #5
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

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Hello ! I'm very new to sailing and my question is if I am canadian and I purchased a boat in Florida , could I sail it to Cuba ? Would the boat be registered as canadian after I purchased it or would it still stay as a US boat ? Thanks for any info !
May you sail a US registered boat that you'd just bought to Cuba? No, you'd have to register it Canadian first, because non-US citizens may not own a US registered vessel. And the same thing, a Canadian may only own a Canadian (or provincially) registered vessel. If you're going to sail to foreign countries it has to be Canadian registered.

The boat is not automatically registered Canadian when you buy it. You have to register it with Transport Canada. In Canada they do the vessel registrations Here's your setup...

Vessel Registration Office - Transport Canada
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Old 14-10-2014, 03:57   #6
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

Thanks for all the great feedback !! And to reply to seymore , do you physically have to do transfer in Canada or is this something that can be done by mail or internet ??


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Old 15-10-2014, 19:47   #7
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

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And to reply to seymore , do you physically have to do transfer in Canada or is this something that can be done by mail or internet ??
When you've bought the boat in the States, it can stay here while you register it.

Read the website carefully and then, certainly for your first time registering a vessel, go into a Transport Canada office and talk to them. There are small complex things in the registration process.

The second time you do it, you can do it by mail.
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Old 15-10-2014, 21:48   #8
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

You can buy the boat in the US as a canadian and have it registered in Canada, and not pay sales tax ( unless you bring it back to Canada, and why would you wan to ? )
Transport Canada and the Vessel Registration Team are quite helpful, just contact them via email.
Just finished the process in feb 2014 for a boat in Guadeloupe, and did it previously for a boat in Florida owned by a german.
If the owner is not a US resident, then you can do an 'offshore' transaction.

What to watch for:
- you will need a tonnage survey even for a production boat and even if they have identical boats already registered ( why, I don't really know). Will cost you ~ $1,000 . Veritas has office in Florida, and did mine, even if boat was in Guadeloupe - coordinated with the surveyor in Guadeloupe
- you will need the Deletion Certificate of the prior registration. That happens after the sale, can take a few days/weeks depending on where previously registered, and only then will TC issue your canadian certificate, so can't really sail the boat until all that happens ( took 3 weeks to get all that done with boat registered in France, while we sat around on the boat in a marina in Guadeloupe - OK, wasn't that difficult to do in February )
- Bill of sale required, of course
- an application to TC with $250, to reserve boat name and start process - you can start ahead of time, you reserve boat name for up to 12 months

- IMPORTANT - they will want originals ! ( which they do return) So ask for multiple originals of Bill of Sale, and be prepared to pay some Fedex charges ( We had to Fedex documents between France, Florida, Brazil where the owner was, Guadeloupe and Ottawa to get it done ! )

Hope that helps. Again, contact Transport Canada by email, they can be quite helpful







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Old 15-10-2014, 21:53   #9
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

Thanks 2ripples !! Very helpful !!


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Old 15-10-2014, 23:40   #10
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

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Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
May you sail a US registered boat that you'd just bought to Cuba? No, you'd have to register it Canadian first, because non-US citizens may not own a US registered vessel. And the same thing, a Canadian may only own a Canadian (or provincially) registered vessel. If you're going to sail to foreign countries it has to be Canadian registered.

The boat is not automatically registered Canadian when you buy it. You have to register it with Transport Canada. In Canada they do the vessel registrations Here's your setup...

Vessel Registration Office - Transport Canada
Your partially correct.

As a Canadian, you can not have a documented US boat (USCG registration). You can, however, have a State registered boat, which I as a Canadian have in Florida.

I am still contemplating whether I want to have a Canadian registration on that boat. It is a matter of weighing the advantages, versus the disadvantages, and I have not decided yet.

I certainly can sail my boat to Cuba or Mexico or elsewhere. If I go to Cuba, I may have an issue getting the boat back to the US (technically, although rarely enforced outside of the Keys). I have no problem sailing my Florida registered boat to the Bahamas.
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Old 16-10-2014, 21:36   #11
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

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Originally Posted by 2Ripples View Post
- you will need a tonnage survey even for a production boat and even if they have identical boats already registered ( why, I don't really know). Will cost you ~ $1,000 . Veritas has office in Florida, and did mine, even if boat was in Guadeloupe - coordinated with the surveyor in Guadeloupe
Not so. Small pleasure craft (under 24m, I think) can have a tonnage assigned to them that's calculated by a simple formula, for free.

When I bought Sea Breeze, a 10m LOA cutter, she was registered Swedish. For registration, Transport Canada assigned tonnage based on the simple formula. And I didn't pay no $1000 anywhere.

I remember the fee being $300. That's a one time fee. The registration is renewed every few years for no charge.

avb3, to go foreign, a boat must be federally registered. Yes, you can licence your boat with a state but, strictly speaking, then you can only tool around in the US. The only reason Bahamian Customs lets your boat through is because they're used to, and tolerate, loose Americans' practice and want your patronage. Cuba and Mexico may be as lax, but sooner or later you'll run into a Customs who will look at you sideways and chain your boat to the dock until you can prove legitimate ownership. Or something.

Rick004, go and talk to the folks in a nearby Transport Canada office.
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Old 16-10-2014, 21:39   #12
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

Thanks everyone for your input. !!


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Old 12-11-2014, 19:09   #13
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

A little off topic but not far. I had a friend purchase a boat in Detroit and sailed it back to Toronto. He didn't pay taxes, upon returning to Canada. He wasn't being malicious it was really more of a nave mistake. Any who, CBSA went for a stroll down his dock and saw the Michigan registration number. he ended up paying more in fines than he did for the boat. It was a Catalina 30, so he paid well over $20k for the boat.
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Old 12-11-2014, 19:53   #14
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

We are Canadians and bought a US documented vessel. We had the vessels documentation changed to Canadian. We hired a documentation company in Ft Lauderdale to handle the documentation. I did the tonnage measurement myself. It was just a form to fill out and few pictures, Transport Canada coached me on what they wanted.
We did an offshore closing so will not pay taxes. They will be due when we import it into Canada. We were waiting in a slip for 3 weeks until the new documentation came through.
A boat should be documented if it is over 30 ft and will sail outside of Canada. Probably not an issue in the Great Lakes but better to have the further south you go.
As a foreign flagged vessel you need a cruising permit in the US. It needs to be renewed once a year and the boat needs to leave US waters for 15 days before it is renewed. That explains the large number of Canadian boats in the Bahamas maybe ?
Good luck, Bob
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Old 22-11-2014, 19:45   #15
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Re: Canadian buying a boat in states

On a somewhat related topic. I am a dual national (Canada/ US) buying a boat in the US. Will mostly cruise outside of the US (Caribbean, etc.).

Is there any advantage to registering the boat as Canadian or US (Delaware)? As far as I can tell neither will require sales taxes. Beyond personal preference of which flag to fly is there any clear pros/cons to one vs. the other?

As far as I understand... With the Canadian registration I would need a US cruising permit and leave at least once a year. Also if I ever sailed to Canada sales taxes would be due (I presume on the then devalued value of the boat vs. purchase price). With either I would need to respect individual state cruising limits while in the US.
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