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Old 11-09-2012, 09:33   #1
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Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Hi Folks

I live in the uk and have had a tricky few years what with parents dying etc. I realise that life is short. I have wanted to come to the US for a few years now and cruise to the Caribean do some snorkelling, fishing and relax before the next thing happens.
I have had a share in two boats in the UK in the past and can maintain boats and engines no problem but just lacking in sailing time.

I'm thinking of coming over in mid to late October with the intention of buying a cheapish sailing boat that I can sail myself as my wife is not a keen sailor.

Live on it for 2-3 months and then depending on my initial outlay give it to a charity organisation, or if I spend big bucks ship it back to the Uk.

As with everything purchase price is only half the story, but I don't know the US system to realistically know what the other costs will be. I don't need advice on general maintenance or that sort of thing as I know that this will be significant. What I need to find out about are typical prices lets say to insure a 27 - 30 ft boat.
If I buy off eBay or Craig's list will I have to pay a state purchase tax?
If I want to stay in a marina in Florida for example any idea of potential monthly prices. If I want to eat the fish that I catch, what areas should I avoid that have been affected by pollution, thinking BP.
I like the idea of tris but not sure if I would be capable of handling one by myself.
Any other costs and or issues that people can see. The biggest thing I don't understand is the boat registration. Does this have to change when the boat changes hands?
Michael
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:14   #2
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Michael:

Look on Yachtworld for prices of boats that fit your needs. They vary all over the place based on manufacturer, year, equipment and condition.

Boats in the US are either federally documented or state registered. Non US citizens cannot ordinarily federally document US boats, so state registration should work ok for you. When you register with a state you pay their sales tax.

Florida has a 30-90 day (can't remember) limit after which you have to pay sales tax. So you could buy in Florida but register it in another state as long as you move out withing the time limit.

Insurance is expensive in Florida. I would expect to pay at least $1,000 per year for a $25,000 boat.

Marinas are all over the place as well. The closer to Miami and the Keys the higher. Expect to pay $400 per month to dock a 30'er in south Florida. Liveaboard will be another issue as there are very limited liveaboard slots. Sometimes you can do it on a stealth basis, sometimes not.

David
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:54   #3
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Buying in the BVI might give you a better deal (particularly if you choose an ex-charter yacht) and the boat is already in the Caribbean and there are no sales taxes; plus the BVI is a red-ensign country.
I recently bought a boat in the USA, am a U.K. resident and flagged the boat in the U.K. You will need to get a U.S. cruising permit as a foreigner and you will need to telephone in to CBP each and every time you weigh anchor in the USA even with the cruising permit, which is valid 1 year.
As stated above, you will have problems registering a boat with a US flag. Full registration is only available for citizens or with LPR status. The correct way is to de-flag the boat when you purchase her and then re-flag the boat either as a U.K. vessel or whatever flag of convenience you might choose to get. This is really easy to do and usually the broker will handle the paperwork.
Note that registering under the U.K. flag you won't have to pay VAT until such time as you bring the boat into the E.U. and no U.S. taxes apply to your sale.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:52   #4
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Hi David and Zanshin. Thank you for your thoughts on this. I had no idea about the cruising permit. And the marina prices were different from what I was expecting. It is useful to know these things.
Regards

Michael
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:55   #5
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Here are links to the information you need to have to buy and register a boat in Florida...

http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/forms/2011/gt800005.pdf
Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

As mentioned, if you buy a boat in Florida, and do not move it out of the state within 90 days, then you will have to pay sales tax on the purchase price. The state sales tax is 6%, and some counties add another 1% on top of that. There is an $18k cap on the sales tax, but I don't think that is going to apply to you.

If you keep the boat in Florida for more than 90 days then you also have to register it with the state, in your name. The cost for that is usually less than $200, unless you are talking about a really big boat.

The state of Florida will have no problem at all with you being a British national. They are happy to collect sales tax, and registration fees, from anyone of any nationality.

Living aboard expenses really depend on where you are. Here in the Tampa area, there are a good number of marinas that allow liveaboards. Marina rates around here right now are at about $8-$9 per foot. There is often an additional charge of $100 per month or so to liveaboard. Most marinas will also require you to have liability insurance.

As for fishing, no problem at all (at least, not around Tampa Bay). Lots of varieties of edible fish in our waters. You will need a fishing license, and there are limits on what you can catch when, and how many. Again, Florida will be happy to sell a fishing license to a foreign national. All the information you need is here...

Fishing in Florida

Of course, as Zanshin said, it might be easier for you to buy a boat in the BVI. On the other hand, there are a LOT of boats available in Florida right now in the size range you are looking for, and prices are low. Whatever you decide, good luck!
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:06   #6
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

With the world-wide recession, there are lots of boats everywhere adn the prices are low and negotiable
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:56   #7
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

I think Zanshin's route may be the best for you. If you bought a bought in the US and registered it in any state, insurance might be an issue as US insurers might (I don't know) be reluctant to write coverage for someone with no domestic address, and UK insurers might be reluctant to write it for a US-registered boat.

In the US boats are generally treated as "motor vehicles" the same as cars. 50 states, 50 sets of different rules. There is generally a sales tax, levied on the actual sale, sometimes not. Sometimes an annual property tax or other tax, again varying by state. With most states, it is simply a one-time sales tax levied on the sale, which must be paid before a state will register the boat.

But if you want to cruise the Carib...I suspect Zanshin hits the nail on the head. Keeping everything "native" with a UK flag and title should make life simpler. Should you decide to buy a boat in the US, you can still do that, exporting the boat tax-free and UK flagging it, then coming back into the US with a cruising permit. (Which is normally obtained before you enter the US.) You might try contacting some brokers in Miami and the Carib and asking if they have experience in this, many do.
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Old 13-09-2012, 12:43   #8
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Hi Guys
Thanks for your comments on this again. I can understand where you are coming from re buying in the BVI. But interms of numbers I have to agree that on the surface there appears to be a lot more boats for sale in and around Florida compared with the bvi and that is what is keeping the prices where they are. I would not know where to see boats advertised in the BVI other than through a broker and once they go to a broker then normally they are top dollar prices. I could be wrong on this though. The idea of prices for mooring, taxes, and insurance and registration are really useful. In the uk it is not compulsory to register a boat, and if you do it's only to satisfy the French authorities when you cruise to the continent from the UK. My other alternative is to try and see if I could rent a boat for 3 months. Not sure what a good way of doing this would be but might solve some problems. I would probably be looking for something between. 24 and 30 ft.
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Michael
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Old 13-09-2012, 13:05   #9
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

There is really no reason why you cannot buy a boat in the US, you just need to make sure you know the procedures for registering it in the UK. Non citizens and non US green card holding residents cannot register a boat in the USA. All boats need to be registered or documented before they can be operated legally. Look into what you will have to do to have your boat documented as a UK vessel.

You should not owe any US taxes if you keep the boat in the USA for less than three months. But do check on this.
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Old 14-09-2012, 06:26   #10
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by WebWench View Post
Non citizens and non US green card holding residents cannot register a boat in the USA.
Absolutely not true. Perhaps you are confusing registering a boat with documenting one.

I can guarantee you that the state of Florida does not care one little bit what country you are a citizen of, or what sort of immigration visa (or lack thereof) you are in the country on. If you keep a boat in the state for more than 90 days they require you to register it with the state. And they are completely accustomed to dealing with people who live outside the state, or outside the country.

(Once again, the registration fee is minimal. Unless you own a mega-yacht it will certainly be less than $200 per year.)
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Old 14-09-2012, 06:58   #11
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

I have a Canadian friend who bought in FL. He re-flagged the boat Canadian, sailed around Florida for a couple months, then over to the Bahamas for a bit to avoid Florida sales tax, then back to Florida. After 6 months, he can leave the boat in FL by only paying the registration fee which is minimal.

If you are looking for a sound boat to use for a bit then donate.....This might be an option for you
(Disclaimer: This is not my boat! But I do know both it and the owner, and think it could be bought for 60% of asking price)
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Old 14-09-2012, 12:17   #12
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Im reassured that the registration cost will be reasonable thank you folks. The interesting thing will be the insurance for a UK flagged boat, not sure what sort of rates but I will have to see.
What a beautiful Tri in Geos photo.!!
I may come to Orlando with my wife on a 2 week fly drive package and use this time to get a boat in Early to mid October but may need to post a separate thread to ask where would be good places to start after all Florida is a massive state.
Michael
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Old 14-09-2012, 12:57   #13
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Re: Uk resident thinking of buying a boat in Florida, what are the extra expenses

Michael, you may want to speak to a broker in Fl or an insurer, to find out what they have to say in the matter. In the US, insurers aren't happy about boats being in hurricane country during hurricane season, and IIRC in Florida that's through the end of November. Finding out your insurance options, and then arranging to take formal delivery in a way that keeps the insurer happy, could make a significant difference. Similarly, if the boat is UK flagged and not in a "domestic" geography, you may need wider geographic coverage. Orlando is also a full day's drive from the Miami-FLL boating markets, more like 1/2 day from Tampa and the west coast--but of course a west coast boat is further from the Carib. So perhaps, a good map and some phone calls. And let us know what they have to say.
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