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Old 25-06-2008, 04:24   #1
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Questions: Living Aboard in Europe

My wife and I are at a serious crossroads in life. Perpetual crossroads, perhaps!

One of the several options we are exploring is doing what we are doing in the States in Europe instead to make it more liveable.


I have several questions regarding living aboard in Europe:

1) Big, scary VAT. I'm an Irish citizen and an American citizen. If I live in say... the UK or Spain or something, will I have to pay VAT on my British built boat that is currently documented in the States?

2) Where are some good liveaboard locations in all of Western Europe that are easy on the wallet? Is there such a thing? Canals? Can you anchor out and take the dinghy to shore like we do in the States without a hassle? Will people think you're a gypsy/vagabond and shun you? What is the most cost-effective way to set up as a liveaboard in Europe?

3) How do you heat your boats? I like wood. I don't think it's readily available in much of western Europe, from what I recall. But... I'd rather live in the South and forget about heat.

4) Taxes in general: I am an Irish citizen (American as well). If I work in say... Spain, how will my taxes be assessed? What percentage do you pay in taxes on your income?

5) Can I set up my own business easily and quickly doing boat repairs, like in the States, or is it truly a nightmare, as I have heard. Also, will my income be taxed any differently if I'm an Irish/American working in Italy or Greece?

6) If I take the "executive" route and go for a managerial position, what are some of the best ways to find these positions and submit my CV?

7) How is the state of the economy, unemployment and immigration in general? Is Europe still full of Europeans, or is there massive immigration from the Middle East, Africa, etc? I ask because my wife and I fit in very well with the cultures in Europe. It is one of the main reasons we are considering moving there. If the cultures are eroding, there is less reason to move over to work.

8) We have mastered the art of living like a Tibetan monk - no material possessions, cheap clothing, no toys, no eating out, etc... We dress in t-shirts and short or jeans. We anchor out and take the dinghy to shore. We save a lot of our earnings. This works in the States, but from what I recall, in Europe, you'd be rounded up and sent to the police station looking like we do. Would we have to spend a lot more money on clothing, looking right and keeping everything in better shape than we do now in order to fit in?


So yes, we are seriously considering this as an option so we can enjoy some travel while working to pay off the boat and save up a cruising kitty.

I am starting another thread for some input on our various choices (all choices have the aim of getting us cruising as fast as possible). This thread is to find out what we would be up against living and working in Europe to pay off the boat.

Thank you in advance for any input.
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Old 25-06-2008, 05:24   #2
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Re question 1). Big scary Vat. I am told a passage out of the EU to say Tunisia with all the relevant documentation is sufficient to get round this problem provided it occurs within 18 months of your original entry into the EU.
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Old 25-06-2008, 05:51   #3
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Sean,
I suggest that you and your Mrs. take an extended trip to Europe. Select the location of your intended resettlement and pose your question to the government in power. You will also have the ability to walk among the locals and establish connections for the move. Some countries have a very high income tax. Emailing the consulates in the U.S.A. would also provide much information. I found Europe to be romantic but I would not want to live there. The cities are much too crowded. Chartering you would need a city with an international airport.
John
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Old 25-06-2008, 05:57   #4
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Thank you for the input, John. I have lived/worked in Europe for a US company for a couple years already and we have already taken a couple weeks there on vacation.

We understand the place, but not the boating/taxes, etc...

I have no clue what I'm doing for work... so chartering is one of about half a dozen paths I'm trying to figure out.

I need the above information to understand what options are available to me should I choose to use my Irish citizenship.

Thank you for the input though. I will be opening another thread with the half a dozen options in a "choose your own adventure" style post. Choose option A if you want Sully to work on boat in the united states, choose option B if you want to see Sully do a trans-Atlantic... etc... ha ha

This post was collect info on Europe to help in the decision making process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scallywag View Post
Sean,
I suggest that you and your Mrs. take an extended trip to Europe. Select the location of your intended resettlement and pose your question to the government in power. You will also have the ability to walk among the locals and establish connections for the move. Some countries have a very high income tax. Emailing the consulates in the U.S.A. would also provide much information. I found Europe to be romantic but I would not want to live there. The cities are much too crowded. Chartering you would need a city with an international airport.
John
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Old 25-06-2008, 06:00   #5
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Sean,
I did not realize you had the European experience. Hopefully, some of our European posters will respond.
John
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Old 25-06-2008, 08:51   #6
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Thats a lot of questions, but here goes. If your boat is Us documented taking it out of the Eu every 18 months will suffice.
I would heartily recommend the Spanish coast, a booming sailing center with all the facilities you could want, and as long as you stay out of the major yachting plces such as Puerto Banus or Valencia etc slips are not onerous.
you will have no problem setting up a bost based business, the downside to that is that you will then have to be in one of the aforementioned yachting centers, if you are any good you will have all the work you want, and then some.
Europe in general, and Spain in particular are in the midst of decent economic times. I am a dual UK/ US national, in Europe I pay EU taxes in the USA I pay US taxes, the USA in particular taxes your worldwide income, but if you can prove that you have paid EU income tax you are relieved of that burden, although in theory you still have to file. You can choose not to file and they will be none the wiser.
You will have no problem in europe in general dressing down, and the spanish are well used to cruisers, HOWEVER, it is a more formal society than Americans are used to, and you will get more business in trousers and a shirt than you will in shorts and a t-shirt.
IN spain you will need miniaml heat on your boat, I find that kerosene lamps take enough of the winter chill out . I personally like Alicante, not too heavily touristed, close to the yachting centers and far enough away to be affordable,
hope this helps
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Old 25-06-2008, 10:00   #7
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Thank you!

Thank you very much for the helpful and insightful post.

I was already looking at Spain for a few reasons:

1) Hablo un poco Espanol por que los Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, etc.. en Los Estados Unidos.

2) It is warm enough to not worry so much about heat.

3) It seems to be a destination for many ex-pats from the UK and for people with the money to spend on yachts.

I guess some of the "dressing up" I am thinking of involves elegant dinners with clients in Barcelona, Milano, Paris, etc... where everyone on the street was dressed extremely well. I take it the expectation for a marine service technician is to be dressed in trousers and a shirt (even in the hot summer)?

Of course, part of going somewhere is dressing appropriately and blending into the culture. If it is trousers and a buttoned shirt for marine repair, that is what I will wear. Thankfully, it doesn't sound like I need to wear high Italian fashion clothing to work on boats... just appropriate clothing, right?

I will research the areas you have suggested.

Thank you very much for the thoughtful response. It has been of tremendous help already.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhosyn Mor View Post
Thats a lot of questions, but here goes. If your boat is Us documented taking it out of the Eu every 18 months will suffice.
I would heartily recommend the Spanish coast, a booming sailing center with all the facilities you could want, and as long as you stay out of the major yachting plces such as Puerto Banus or Valencia etc slips are not onerous.
you will have no problem setting up a bost based business, the downside to that is that you will then have to be in one of the aforementioned yachting centers, if you are any good you will have all the work you want, and then some.
Europe in general, and Spain in particular are in the midst of decent economic times. I am a dual UK/ US national, in Europe I pay EU taxes in the USA I pay US taxes, the USA in particular taxes your worldwide income, but if you can prove that you have paid EU income tax you are relieved of that burden, although in theory you still have to file. You can choose not to file and they will be none the wiser.
You will have no problem in europe in general dressing down, and the spanish are well used to cruisers, HOWEVER, it is a more formal society than Americans are used to, and you will get more business in trousers and a shirt than you will in shorts and a t-shirt.
IN spain you will need miniaml heat on your boat, I find that kerosene lamps take enough of the winter chill out . I personally like Alicante, not too heavily touristed, close to the yachting centers and far enough away to be affordable,
hope this helps
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Old 25-06-2008, 10:55   #8
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you are welcome, by the by Denia ( around Alicante) is wonderful, got a nice little harbour and a nicely protected anchorage, if thats a bit too busy for you ( its quite touristy and commercial, Olva and Javea are much quieter.
Buttoned up shirts are not required, but a short sleeve open neck is ok
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Old 25-06-2008, 12:35   #9
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Thank you again.

Does anyone know if Palma De Mallorca is filled with enough boats and free anchorages to set up a marine technician business while anchoring out for free? Just another thought.

I am leaning toward the marine tech idea over chartering so our boat can be our home.
Also, are there free anchorages near Puerto Banus or Valencia?

Ideally (to maximize cruising kitty savings) I am trying to work from the boat and get to the docks via dinghy/tender. No car, if possible.
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Old 25-06-2008, 13:07   #10
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Its been a couple o years since I was there, but I do not think there are any anchorages in Valencia or Puerto Banus, The moorings were not that expensive, and I remeber the slips a club Nautico in Denia as being very cheap.
The closest free anchorages I have listed are in Gandia, Punta del Reca, and Cala Sardinera, all of which a little ways from large towns, however this whole coast is very touristed and being a little ways wont really matter much, There are large charter fleets in the Balearics if that helps
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Old 29-07-2008, 22:40   #11
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Hi There Sullivan!

Hope to be able to help you out on somethings. We have been living on board for the last 5 years in the med (now we are in India, Alondra Sailing || Sailing in Style) and we think Turkey (combined with Greece) is the best.

All the other countries (including Spain, Itlay, Croatia) are quite expensive to live and the more southerly countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Siria, Israel, do not have good cruising grounds.

In Turkey you can also forget the VAT and... It is by far the most beautiful country to be in.

Dress yourself like you want. Anchor anywhere in hundres of bays (see our pictures) and enjoy wonderful people. Hop over to Greece every now and then to extend your Visa and because it is close (Rhodes, Kalimnos, Kos, Patmos, Simi, and many other Islands)

Work in the yachting industry for instance in Istanbul is possible, most likely you find a job there for the winter and, I did, make a lot of money and your help is appreciated.

The economy is upcoming (in turkey) and in most other countries in the eu they are suffering a litle bit but there are plenty of opportunities as long as you want to see them.

As we have been there for a long time I can say that most cruisers end up in Turkey and love it. Even here, now in India and Thailand people who have been there will eventually return.

Look at websites from cruisers like TAO2.com or zonnigzeilen.nl or ours but there are many. I hope you find your way but overall, you'll end up in the east med, for sure.

regards, Rene
SY Alondra
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Old 30-07-2008, 04:28   #12
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Sully,

You are a restless mind ain'tja? Anyway. Here is my suggestion if you decide to try a gig across the pond.

The Canaries

I have lived a winter there and Grand Canaria and sailed about a bit so I know the lay of the land , a bit. The key point here is that Tenerife and Grand Canaria play host to something like 15MM tourists a year alone and there are 5 other islands as well. These tourists will naturally be looking for resort based activities and you could hook yourself up with a nice day charter biz or even a overnight charter deal through one of the many tour operators based in UK or locally.

No need for heat. GC has supposedly the best climate in the world according to the WHO. And the islands offer some very interesting shoreside attractions, good food and cheap flights to Europe. I don't think there would be a lot of competition for what you have in mind and I would try to work out a deal with several large hoteliers to supply you with customers(for a referral fee).

What you won't find is lots of snug harbors to gunk hole in like NE or the Caribe. Most of the islands are volcanic and pretty steep to or offer open exposed sandy beaches. There are several large artificial harbors with massive sea walls and marinas inside where you would have to berth you boat as I doubt you could find a decent anchorage to live in. But I haven't explored the region completely. This DOES apply where all the tourists are concentrated. Bummer.

It's a possibility and you probably can research it on the web.
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Old 30-07-2008, 08:57   #13
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The Dutch side of St. Maarten is worth looking into. We had to have all sorts of work done on Imagine, because she had sat for 9 months. Lovely little anchorage outside of the gate.

Since you were on megayachts you are no doubt familiar with the layout. Everybody in the Caribbean sooner, or later ends up there. Budget Marine is based there along with several yards, cruiser's passing through, riggers, lofts, not to mention the idea of day charters.......BEST WISHES
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Old 20-11-2008, 16:29   #14
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id go with turkey,its cheaper than spain and you can find lots of free anchorages etc,there are planty of Marinas in Turkey.

As for the Canaries,its winter sunshine there,theres a strong link with the States on some of the smaller islands,There are plenty of tourists on the two largest Islands,Teneriffe and grand canaria.Another idea for earning some money is to contact the sailing schools such as Canary sail etc they use experienced and qualified skippers to train sailors.There were a lot of expensive yachts at Los Gigantos in Tenneriffe

On the smaller island of La Gomera there is a marina at San Sebastian that is quite reasonable and has a lot of liveaboards.
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Old 23-02-2010, 16:20   #15
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Need any help

Hey SSullivan,
I realise this thread is a tad old, however it has piqued my interest and I will share some brief thoughts. I am currently land based, have previously been a live aboard and will be again in the near future and have many live aboard friends from all walks of life and all nationalities. While i am tied down geographically by work, many of the friends i have choose to base themselves in Malta (how we met) over the winter period, some working in Yacht Maintenance etc. others working in IT, and others teaching English to save up some funds for the cruising kitty. Cost of living is low, climate is brilliant and sailing is pretty amazing. As an added bonus come April you're slap bang in the middle of the med within easy reach of just about anywhere you'd like to head off too for the cruising season. As an added bonus it is an EU Member State and as an Irish Citizen you should have no difficulty obtaining residence permission, moreover the Marinas here allow (for a small surcharge to cover the increased elec and water usage) liveaboards.

As far as the tax goes, if you need any help or advice feel free to look me up, it's what I do so just drop me a line. If you're already off on your adventure, then have a blast.

Rgs
S
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