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Old 26-10-2008, 16:56   #1
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US Mainland or Puerto Rico to Pick Up Gear ?

I have been in the UK for the last three years, and have needed to buy some gear. Unfortunately I haven't been able to bring myself to pay the prices that are being charged here, when I know I can buy exactly the same stuff in the US at half the price. I have considered shipping from the US, but there is extra tax and duty to pay on the gear when it arrives here, and I want things like solar panels, which could be damaged in transit etc....
We will be heading off in the second half of next year, headed for the Pacific via the Panama Canal. I am considering going via Puerto Rico or mainland USA to buy the gear I am after.
Is shipping to Puerto Rico the same as having gear shipped anywhere else in the US or should I keep on going to the mainland?
Any other suggestions?
Thanks
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Old 26-10-2008, 17:14   #2
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shipping to PR will be higher.
Plan a week or two in Sunny FL and get everything you want
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Old 26-10-2008, 17:25   #3
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I am from the US and kept my boat for 12 months in Puerto Rico. The availability of parts and services are good in Puerto Rico but not as available as in the US. If you stay for any time in Puerto Rico you will find that the east coast is where the marinas and services are most abundant. The tax system and the mail system is the same and there are no extra taxes or duties between the two. The people are US citizens in Puerto Rico and they travel freely between the countries without going through customs. There is a West Marine store in Fajardo which is a taxi ride to the three main marinas. It is possible to have anything you need shipped to PR from the US at the same price or perhaps for a small shipping fee. On the other hand there is probably no better place to have access to the best of all parts and services than in a major eastern coastal city such as Fort Lauderdale or Miami, Florida. Their facilities are the best and there would be very little that you would have to ship since just about everything is available right there. The only problem with staying in a Florida city for more than 90 days is that they find your boat and eventually send you a bill for usuage tax equal to 6% of the appraised value of your boat. I am not familiar with other coastal state laws. Is there still a large disparity between the exchange rate with the recent fall in the exchange rate between the dollar and the Stirling?
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Old 27-10-2008, 00:48   #4
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Thanks for the information, it looks like we will be visiting the mainland then. The good thing is that it is all downhill from here . We will have to go uphill a bit though to head for Panama though .
We are looking forward to visiting the US again though, and hope to catch up with some of the friends we made last time..... Now we just have to get Visas.
The exchange rate has just plummeted, the pound is only worth about $1.50 US now.
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Old 27-10-2008, 08:41   #5
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What about Budget Marine in St. Maarten & Antiqua? You can check their catalog.
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Old 29-10-2008, 11:26   #6
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Thanks for the suggestion I2F, I had a look at Budget Marines web site and found that they only carried a brand of solar panel that I hadn't heard of, and some of the other items I am after are quite a bit more price wise.
I do like the idea of heading to Panama from Antigua though, it would be a much easier trip!!!
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Old 29-10-2008, 11:49   #7
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Besides Budget Marine, there are Island Water World(Kyocera) and Island Marine Outfitters located on St Thomas. Not sure what gear you are after other than solar panels.
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Old 29-10-2008, 13:10   #8
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St. Maarten is duty free, and I was able to haggle over price of an outboard. Plus these islands are on the way, so you save the cost, time, and wear of reaching the mainland.....my simple thoughts
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Old 29-10-2008, 17:14   #9
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Shopping List

This is my tentative shopping list,

Aqua King Premium Fresh Water Pump $135
TP10 Tillerpilot (for my windvane) $347
Freshwater Flipper MK IV Gusher Pump x 2 $60
Whale Gusher Pump Flipper MK IV-service Kit $17
Kyocera 130 Watt Solar Panel x 2 (or 4) $650
Rule Bilge Pump 3700 GPH $220
Rope Antenna
Manson Supreme 60 lb $540
150 ft High Test 5/16 Galvanised Chain Acco $540
Garhauer Blocks and Rope Clutches
Outback MX60 $549
Prices above are prices that I have found so far in the US

I have to decide how much difference in price I am willing to pay for the convenience of shopping in the Caribbean.

Thanks
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Old 30-10-2008, 07:43   #10
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I would think even at paying double it would be worth saving the time & wear? Might even be worthwhile buying in the U.K., so you know you have what you need, and sail instead of shop? BEST WISHES in having a successful voyage, and saving money too......i2f
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