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Old 10-10-2007, 02:57   #1
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Avoiding hassle from USCG/water cops etc.

1. I am a resident of Arkansas right now, but I am selling my house and wish to buy a cruiser for liveaboard. At that time, I plan to become a resident of my boat and likely will never come to AR again. Would I be able to remain an AR resident and take advantage of very cheap registration fees or I am required to become a resident of another(coastal) state? Is it possible to be a resident of the US but not a resident of a state. That really sounds like a stupid question(even to me), but I'm curious. Also, are there any other countries like maybe Costa Rica or similar places where you can register your boat and have minimal hassle?

I suspect that I will spend time in many places, but will likely stick to florida and bahamas for the first year. After that, I don't plan on living anywhere for any length of time. I want to travel, but I want to be able to do it without being hassled or fined/jailed because of paperwork.

2. What is the best way to get a boat legal or quasi-legal without paying tons of fees? For instance, is there a state where I can register the boat, pay whatever is due, get a number or sticker or whatever is required, and then be done with it? Meaning no yearly fees or taxes on the boat.

3. What is the dif between registering in a state and doing it via the USCG? (cost, requirements, hassle) Is it easier to travel the world with the USCG option?

4. Does boat length come into play? I was looking to buy about a 35'er but then I read someones post that said his boat is under 30' so he doesn't have to worry about it. I got the impression that his boat is not required to be registered though it seems unlikely to me.

I've read many posts about people being hassled in the keys and elsewhere. Is there anyplace left where you can go and just be left alone. I plan to live almost exclusively on the hook spending just enough time at the marina to fuel up, buy supplies and maybe a beer and sandwich at the bar. I wonder if there are any good anchorages at that island Tom Hanks was stuck on in Castaway? That place is about my speed. Well, maybe just a little closer to civilization. Are there Islands where you could go and stay for maybe a year and never see another person. And if you did see someone, they wouldn't shoot you or take you to jail? (or worse) Not that I plan on doing this but it would be nice to able to if desired. Sailing away on a boat has always seemed like the definition of freedom to me, but reading posts here and on other sites has led me to believe that real freedom is fantasy. Perhaps I can declare my boat a soveriegn nation. haha

Let me add that I'm not planning on doing anything with/on my boat that nations would frown on or trying to totally avoid fees/taxes assoiciated with the boat purchase/registration. But, I've been saving my pennies for a long time so I could do this and I simply want pay cash for a used boat, make it legal and then leave with no strings attached. No mailing checks to KEEP it legal. Am I just dreaming?
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:37   #2
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First and formost you should be comfortable on/with your boat for your cruising grounds. Every boat is a compromise be it a 20 feet or 65 feet.

Your time with US customs will be less than 20 min face to face. Boat over 29 feet will need a decale which can be gotton on line. Still lots of places to be on the hook in Fl and Bahamas.

In most states you can registar your boat without living there. Ca. now requires that you registar after 90 days and most states have a time limit as well. Your choice.

Fees, buy the boat in the state that you want to registar it.

USCG option? Do you mean documnation? Most states you have to pay both. I would not worry about this until you are planing to leave the Bahamas.

Boat length - Small is good?!?!?!? How little space to you want to live in and how MUCH weight and draft can you live with. Lots of threads on this. If the additional cost of $ 150 matters that much to you then get a 26 footer. It will save you much more.


Places to be alone - Good luck. Make sure that your boat can handle it. In the Bahamas and USA - BIG BROTHER is watching. There is some areas in the keys that do not have much boat traffic and some in the Bahamas as well. Most cruising guides tell you of these. If (when) something bad happens you will be on your own. That said - draft of 3 feet try Fl Bay in Northern Keys or the Everglades for deeper draft. Bahamas - West of Abacos and South of Andros.

Do your best to get out there even if it is with a small coastal cruiser and then upgrade latter. The view from the cockpit of a 20 footer is the same as a 65 footer.

Note: casting off in 2 weeks for 3 year cruise in the Bahamas and East USA in a 26 footer. I could not have left so soon in a bigger boat.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:08   #3
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Aqua,
The amount of money you spend on registration is only a tiny fraction of what you can expect to spend on your boat.

Lynx,

Headed off in the Mac. Keep us updated.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:35   #4
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There is a reason to consider Florida as your state of residence: no state income tax. If you are going to live somewhere, while living nowhere, this will let you avoid the tax and the hassle of filing. You can file federal on line from anywhere. If you are leaving, state numbers are not required, only USCG.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:55   #5
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Yes, you are dreaming.

Aquaholic: Yes, you are dreaming. But while you are dreaming. The good anchorage on the Castaway Island is at the end of the lagoon on the starboard side of your boat. The harbormaster has a spot for you there with an "X" mark in the sand.
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Old 10-10-2007, 21:55   #6
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If you are ready to retire move to Asia. Lot's of places with zero hassle factor.

The US is ridiculous.
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Old 28-01-2008, 17:14   #7
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Ex-Calif, can you give us more information about Asia?

Best

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Old 28-01-2008, 17:29   #8
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I have lived in Asia since 1984. I haven't lived everywhere but I have lived in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Japan. I have also traveled extensively in just about all the Asian countries.

Retirement in Asia is a good deal in my opinion. There are several countries that are friendly to retirees and offer specific visa programs. I have investigated a few. Here is a summary that I did for another member recently.

There are a lot of western people retired in Thailand. Phuket is very popular. I have a few friends there living on land. The drawback to Thailand is property ownership and proximity to "good" healthcare. Most everyone I know retired in Phuket comes to Singapore for medical and dental work. In regards to property ownership I think you have to have a local buy anything landed and therefore you can be at some risk.

Singapore is fantastic but incredibly expensive and will only become more so.

Indoenesia is a crap shoot. There are too many islands, too many feifdoms and too may palms to grease to keep things moving. While I have great heart for The Philippines and the Filipinos, unfortunately they can't organize thier way out of a paper bag. The promise of the People's Revolutoin never came to fruition and it has been a series of one crook after another. I have a friend who lost his property in the last regime change with a basically, "This is my ancestral lands lost under Marcos and I am now claiming them back. God Bless Macapagal!"

My best option so far is Malaysia. Malaysia offers retirement visas under the "Malaysia My Second Home" program. Malaysia is a muslim country but quite moderate and there are multiple religions practicing in the country including Mulslim, Christian, Buddhist and Indian religions.

Malaysia is well organized and for the most part the rules are established and followed. For boaters the most popular retirement spots would be Langkawi and Penang. I am including a link to the government program so you can read up on it. You can sail to Singapore in a couple of days, there is a good marina a day sail away and you can also drive to Singpapoe in a day from anywhere in west Malaysia.

I met a guy moored up in Malaysia, living aboard with his wife and she was being treated for cancer in Singapore. Singapore health care is top notch, pricier than most of Asia but a bomb less than the west.

In terms of boats Singapore, Malaysia and Thialand are very easy places to import boats. You can keep a boat in Thailand for up to 6 months and then it's a mater of a couple of days to Malaysia to get a "a chop" in the documents. Although I haven't investigated in detail Singpaore and Malaysia offer pretty easy import terms.


Any questions just holler...

Rgds

:: MM2H :: Malaysia My Second Home
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Old 28-01-2008, 17:37   #9
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Great and quick reply, thanks a lot sir
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Old 29-01-2008, 03:50   #10
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Quote:
Would I be able to remain an AR resident and take advantage of very cheap registration fees or I am required to become a resident of another(coastal) state? Is it possible to be a resident of the US but not a resident of a state.
You have a lot of things to consider in just this small question.

1. You can always be a US citizen because you already are one. You will need a passport soon so if you do not have one - get one. There is nothing on the passport that says where you live. It only says you are you, your age, and where you were born. You can gain citizenship some place else (If they will have you) and still be a US citizen too. Your passport expires every 10 years. You will need a mailing address to get it renewed.

2. You can choose any state to reside in but if you actually live in a state for more than 6 months then you are by default a resident of that state and you can owe taxes there. Every state has a residency requirement of some matter of weeks. You need a real address some place. So if you never plan on living in AR again you can't remain a resident there. You can't use a "residency" some place else to avoid taxes. The calendar will screw you eventually. If you could then most of us would already be doing it as would a lot of folks that don't have a boat. You could however become an illegal non immigrant. It's just hard to own physical property. Your boat becomes your problem.

3. You boat however is by various state laws a resident after a certain period of time - even if you are not. Taxes may become due defacto. Do not confuse registration with taxes. They have almost no relationship to each other. The calendar will determine where your boat requires state taxes / fees. Boats large enough to be USCG documented can avoid state title registration but not state taxes or sometimes a state permit / sticker. Sales tax also becomes an issue as well. Suppose you left AR with your AR registered boat and never came back to the US. Sooner or later your AR registration will expire and you won't be able to renew it without an AR address. A US documented boat has documentation papers that must be renewed annually and they need an address too.

No matter what you do or where you go you will need to claim an address. This will be used by a lot of other people. You may in fact never be a legal resident but some place will need to be where you are from if only for the logistical purposes of asserting your boat registration and other papers. If you expect to have insurance that too will need an address. If you ever get a job then you establish a need for a residence. You may have to prove you own the boat and a bill of sale is not enough for all purposes. Your boat can be declared in tax / registration violation in any state if you stay long enough. Tax evasion is the only crime where you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. Many states watch boats closely. FL and MD are two that do.

Quote:
2. What is the best way to get a boat legal or quasi-legal without paying tons of fees?
You have to end up some place sooner or later and there will be a day of accounting - for your taxes. Taxes you already paid can count toward taxes owed. It's not that unfair. Later can be a real option though. A cheap old boat would save the most money and lowest taxes. Quasi-legal isn't legal. For your criminal activities they have to prove you guilty and they might but not tax evasion. Al Capone never got convicted of stealing the money - only not paying the taxes.
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Old 29-01-2008, 04:11   #11
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We've not had any hassles. I usually buy the local coasties a couple rounds at the town watering hole when I see them. I thank them for their service and tell them any time they want to board and inspect they are welcome. Never have been inspected but they are welcome anytime. We carry more then is required but I'm sure they could find something to write us up if they so choose.
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Old 29-01-2008, 04:51   #12
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Living outside the country

I bought my boat when we lived in Virginia. Paid the Virginia sales tax ($2,000 which is the max amt they levy). Had the boat documented with the USCG. That being the case, Virginia didn't require state registration. I believe many other states do, but it doesn't cost a lot.

If you plan to sail outside the US, you need to have the boat documented with the USCG. You will also need to get FCC licenses for your radio(s). If you sail from the US to another country, when you return, you will need a $25 annual Customs sticker on your boat (over 29'). You can apply online for it with Customs and Border Protection.

We sold our home in Virginia and moved to Nevis. We own no property in the States, but have IRAs and other investments there. We pay federal income taxes on any taxable income on investments based in the US, but no state income taxes.

We have a US mailing address in Florida at St Brendan's Isle, which is a mail forwarding service. Many full-time cruisers and folks who live outside of the country use SBI or similar services. Having a US "billing address" is crucial for having a US credit card. I've been told that I could become a Florida resident if I wanted to, based on the SBI address, and get a Florida drivers license.

You can be a US citizen and not be a resident of any US state. As Paul B said, watch out for the calendar if you're hanging out in one state for a while. Six months and a day is one criteria (for state income taxes). Each state may have other time limits for registering your boat and paying fees. Florida does, for example. Maryland and Florida are pretty aggressive in enforcing the boat registration regs.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 29-01-2008, 05:45   #13
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We've not had any hassles. I usually buy the local coasties a couple rounds at the town watering hole when I see them.
USCG are generally no problem they help far more than you know. They are very professional, exceptionally friendly, and carry automatic weapons. You are not a credible threat. Don't act like one!

It's the local marine police that tend to be a problem universally with some states worse than others. Arguments are never a good subject of conversation. You won't be local and they don't treat strangers better.

Being nice always matters and about the most you can do to receive it in return. Always tip waitresses, waiters, and bartenders. Add a clean shirt and you can go any place in the world and eat and drink well. After that it's all pretty much a variation of the same.
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Old 29-01-2008, 06:05   #14
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is there a place to anchor and be left alone? maybe but then there won't be any marinas or fuel docks around either. maybe somewhere in the far out islands of the bahamas but then you would still have to worry about fees and hurricanes. i hope you like seafood. if i remember correctly Tom Hanks was freaking out trying to get off his island. good luck.
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Old 29-01-2008, 06:16   #15
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is there a place to anchor and be left alone?
I think the problem is that one person finds a great place, then another person adds on and it's still a great place. Then a bunch of people add on and it gets a bit messy, loud, drunk, and / or dangerous. The local rif raff want to hang out there too. Next thing they are having kids and wanting things or they run out of things. It ends up to be not a place you really want to be in. They are then added to the cruising guides as "popular anchorages".

If you find a great place, it's best to just keep your mouth shut and just smile when asked
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