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Old 11-11-2011, 19:51   #1
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Selling a British-Registered Yacht in BVI

Hey, we will be looking to sell our yacht in Feb this side of Atlantic and we are investigating where would be best.

Is there any tax/customs complications to selling a british registered yacht in British Virgin Islands?

Is there some where else where there is a hub for people to buy and sell yachts in the east side of Caribbean?

cheers

Jarvis
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Old 11-11-2011, 20:10   #2
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Re: Selling a British registered yacht in BVI

The market, or should I say THE market for selling boats is Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Brokers I know who have listings in the Caribbean say those boats never sell - or if they do it is at a massive discount. This is because people have to invest a lot of time and money to fly down there to look at your boat. In a boat supermarket like FL it will be different.

We just bought a British registered boat and brought it to the US. Unlike the 20% VAT the Brits and Europeans charge, importation into the US is only 2% of transaction value.

Depending on the value of the boat, you might want to consider shifting her north to Ft. Lauderdale for a quicker sale.

Cheers.

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Old 12-11-2011, 04:55   #3
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Re: Selling a British-Registered Yacht in BVI

I've sold 2 full Part I registered British boats in the BVI. I will disagree with dhillen in that I think that the BVI is perhaps the best market to buy boats and surpasses southern Florida. Not only are numerous private vessels stationed there, but each year a large contingent of ex-charter boats floods the market. Many prospective buyers from all over the world fly in just to look at and purchase boats. In addition, in the BVI one doesn't have to deal with the difficulties involved in a non-US citizen or LPR purchasing a boat in the USA.

There are no tax implications in selling a Part I registered boat in the BVI; with one caveat - if the British flagged vessel is VAT paid and sold outside of EU waters then the "paid" status is lost and VAT is once again levied when the boat re-enters EU waters. There is a way around this as Guadeloupe and Martinique are deemed EU waters and thus the sale could be "effected" there and thereby keep the VAT-paid status. While St. Martin is part of France, it is considered outside of the EU for customs/tax purposes so that might not work. If the British boat isn't VAT paid then no worries.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:04   #4
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Re: Selling a British-Registered Yacht in BVI

I will defer to Zanshin who is there and has experience on the ground. (He has a great website, by the way, that I suggest you check out if you haven't seen it). All I know is what other brokers have told me vis a vis the merits of listing in the Caribbean vs. a larger market, such as the US or the UK.

Just perusing Yachtworld, I see the "All Sail" category yielded a surprisingly high number of boats for sale in the BVI: 622. Most of them seemed to be cats, and as Zanshin points out, most are charter boats. Buying a charter boat - if you know what you are doing - can be a good deal. Just looking under the same category on Yachtworld for Florida overall does show a greater number of boats, however. I guess I underestimated the size of the BVI market which is substantial and probably worth a look.

Cheers.

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Old 12-11-2011, 08:25   #5
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Re: Selling a British-Registered Yacht in BVI

Thanks for both your comments. My other concern is that most of the boats for sale in BVI are very different to ours. They are mainly newer boats in a lot higher price bracket.

Our yacht is a blue water cruiser with a long keel built in 1978. She is worth around 35,000 -38,000. Is it likely people looking at a newer production boats would even consider a older center cockpit vessel?

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Old 12-11-2011, 08:47   #6
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Re: Selling a British-Registered Yacht in BVI

Crazyhorse77 - You are right that you are looking at a very different market segment, the BVI is more of a 'plastic' place. But it does attract quite a few potential buyers of all types of boats.
You might have issues with a U.K. registered boat in the USA. First of all, you'd need to sail there - and the US Visa Waiver programme does not apply to anyone sailing on a private vessel so you'd need to get a B1 visa, which is normally done in your country of residence and takes a couple of weeks.
I often see comments on yachts for sale on Yachtworld to the effect of "not for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters..." and that might apply to you in Florida. My last boat was de-flagged upon sale (in the BVI) and re-flagged in the USA and that was no problem at all.
I've used BVI Yacht Sales in the past with some success, and giving them a call or dropping them an e-mail won't cost anything and they can give a realistic estimate of what the sale price and concommitant selling timeframe might be.

Another location of interest to europeans is St. Martin/Sint Maarten, I see a lot of more traditional boats for sale there and access via direct flight is easier via Paris or Amsterdam than getting to the BVI without transiting the USA.

Dhillen - what I'd heard is that a large portion of the boats for sale in Florida are not really for sale, they are listed at high prices and if someone offers that price the owners will sell. There are less 'dock queens' in the BVI due to logistics.

p.s. I leave tomorrow to pick up the new boat and will start posting diary/blog entries again. I'm quite excited to get to see the new "Zanshin" on Monday!
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