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Old 11-11-2015, 00:02   #1
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Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

Hi. Can I seek advice from anyone who knows of a foreigner purchasing a sailboat in the U.S. You see after buying a boat in the US I don't intent to immediately move the boat out of the US but would like to keep it in the US for at least one year before taking it back to my country.

I know I cannot register the boat as a USCG documented boat since I am not a US citizen. I also think I cannot register it with the DMV since I don't have a social security number.

Helpless! Has anyone done this before?


Philip
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Old 11-11-2015, 00:14   #2
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

You can register it in your home country. If you buy in Florida you will have 90 days to leave the state if you involve a broker. You can then sail to the Bahamas for 15 days and return to receive a 1 year US cruising permit.
It can be accomplished without leaving the country as well if you close offshore to begin with but can get a bit complicated so best to contact a documentation company such as ASAP documentation for that route.


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Old 11-11-2015, 12:17   #3
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

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Originally Posted by psiow View Post
I also think I cannot register it with the DMV since I don't have a social security number.
Depends on what state you are in, maybe. Florida has no problem with registering a boat owned by a foreign national.
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Old 11-11-2015, 19:05   #4
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat in the US

I don't have any intention of registering it in my home country. At least not at this moment. Can I incorporate a company in the US (someone suggested) eventhough I'm a foreigner just to circumvent the boat registration. Or can I use someone's name (who has a SS number) for registration. But would this cause any problem with sailing across the oceans only to encounter immigration problems in far away ports (now that ownership is not in my name).

As suggested by Denverd0n, can I then purchase the boat in California, in my name, and then register it with DMV in Florida? Is this legally allowed? This will solve the boat registration problem.
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Old 11-11-2015, 19:12   #5
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

There's lots of lawyers in Delaware that will do this for you. Form a corporation, CG documentation and take care of all the details. You can then fly the US flag and keep it in the US.
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:19   #6
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

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There's lots of lawyers in Delaware that will do this for you. Form a corporation, CG documentation and take care of all the details. You can then fly the US flag and keep it in the US.
Any lawyers you know in Delaware?
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:16   #7
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

There are probably ways around it but I was advised the corporation must be majority owned by US citizens or residents for the corporation to get US vessel documentation. It might be better to talk to a couple of documentation companies rather than a lawyer. The ones in Miami and Ft Lauderdale must be doing this often.

Probably best to have the documentation in your name if entering foreign ports, even the USA. You can keep a foreign flagged vessel in US on a cruising permit for one year. Take out of the US fir 15 days and you can get a new one for 12 months.

The broker can do a high seas closing and you do not have to pay any sales taxes.

You do need to decide what flag the boat will fly. A good documentation company company can advise you on the options and costs. This needs to be decided before purchase to be sure the vendor has the required documents to register the vessel in your country of choice.

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Old 12-11-2015, 09:19   #8
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

One thing I am sure of is that Florida will not register your boat without collecting sales tax unless previously registered in another state. As a foreign national you might be able to avoid registering but you would need some expert advice in the matter. I do not think lack of a social security number is a problem.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:56   #9
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

I think this is highly dependent on the US state you will be in. In WA state, even other US boats from other states, have to register and pay registration fees if they stay longer than a few months. It was just changed this year so that ports could have LLC boats (Limited Liability Corporations) stay longer so the ports could get longer term refit projects before the fees cut in.

I am not a lawyer, let alone a marine lawyer, and I believe this is a pretty technical area. You definitely need to do your homework. Somehow I don't think foreign ownership is the problem, it is just how to avoid some onerous fees, and, how long you can keep the boat in the US.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:59   #10
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

Register your yacht in the BVI. You create a corporation, and pay $1000 a year to renew it.
Here is a list from a website that registers them. The registration fees keep the BVI in the money. No import tax on goods, but there is an import tax on boat parts.
No corporate tax
There is no sales tax in the BVI when purchasing anything Red Ensign Group. Your ship will be entitled to British Diplomatic and Consular support BVI tax exempts Low Registration and Maintenance fees. Yacht registration and Certificates recognized worldwide. BVI stable government and British Judicial System BVI is the yachting centre of the Caribbean
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:47   #11
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

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Originally Posted by psiow View Post
Any lawyers you know in Delaware?
None that I trust. But just google it. Here's one I got from googling.
Why form a Delaware corporation for boat ownership purposes? Information about the advantages of incorporating a boat or any corporate vessel in Delaware
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:57   #12
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

I am a Canadian. I bought a boat I Washington. I licensed and paid tax on it in Washington. I am free to sail the boat anywhere in the USA But not to Mexico.
The previous owner cancelled the USCG registration.
I registered the boat in Canada. I do not intend to sail this boat to Canada; if I did I would have to import the boat and pay tax on it.
Under Canadian Registry I can sail the boat any where I choose.
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:17   #13
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

Any corporate registered boat must be 50% owned by a US citizen if you are trying to get a USCG registration.

Florida makes it easy to register. I am Canadian, and there is absolutely no issue, in fact, I also have my dink registered there.

Florida has an interesting twist on sales tax. If you have not yet bought your boat, make sure that you get two bills of sale. One is for the boat itself and attachments, the other for accessories, which can include removable such as sails, electronics, life jackets, sheets and lines etc.

They will only tax you on the boat itself. This is not evasion, as their own website promotes this, IF you buy privately, not through a dealer.

From their website:
If a dealer makes the sale, then tax is due on the cost of the trailer, motor (outboard and inboard), vessel, and accessories. If a non-dealer makes the sale, then the outboard motor, equipment, devices, and accessories included with the vessel are not subject to tax when the outboard motor, equipment, devices, or accessories are separately itemized and separately priced on the invoice.

Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:22   #14
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

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Originally Posted by oldtomcat View Post
I am a Canadian. I bought a boat I Washington. I licensed and paid tax on it in Washington. I am free to sail the boat anywhere in the USA But not to Mexico.
The previous owner cancelled the USCG registration.
I registered the boat in Canada. I do not intend to sail this boat to Canada; if I did I would have to import the boat and pay tax on it.
Under Canadian Registry I can sail the boat any where I choose.
When you say "registered in Canada" do you mean documented ? or licensed ? I think you still need a cruising permit in the USA if it is a foreign owned vessel as this is a US federal requirement. Have you ever cleared in through US customs and showed them your Canadian registration ?

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Old 12-11-2015, 11:59   #15
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Re: Foreign ownership of sailboat the US

I'm a canadian, and I bought a boat in the US...annapolis MD to be specific.

I took the bill of sale and the notorized coast guard documents to the registrar of ships in toronto. I also had to change the lettering on the boat, and provide pictures, beam, stern and bow. All that, along with a cheque for the fees, which can easily amount to $700, and I got a canadian "blue book" of ownership. In the end it was not hard to do, but did require the cooperation of the seller to get the uscg docs in order and notorized.

At no time was the location of the boat a consideration.

I had the boat trucked to canada. I used CAN-AM marine haulage and a customs broker. I had to pay GST at the border on the full purchase price...ouch!!!

I think if I had the boat licensed, rather than registered, I might have saved some money. But I dunno. FYI, it was a Hunter Legend 35.5, and it was awesome.
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