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Old 11-11-2010, 08:40   #1
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British Owner Sailing US-Flagged Sailboat in USA

hi,just wondering what the regulations are for sailing in us waters for british owner with usa flagged sail boat.i am considering buying a boat in newport rhode island and sailing to florida where the boat will be based.would appreciate any info.regards frank wood
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:46   #2
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As I understand it, only U.S citizens can fly a U.S flag.

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Old 11-11-2010, 09:05   #3
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From the United States Power Squadron, Flag Etiquette:

"The national ensign worn by a vessel must be the flag of her registry—not necessarily that of the owner or operator."

Flag and Etiquette Committee
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:06   #4
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You need to get the prior owner to remove the boat from documentation. You will need the PO to file the following form "Application, Consent, And Approval For Withdrawal Of Application For Documentation Or Exchange Of Certificate Of Documentation (CG-4593)"

Available here. USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Forms Page

The good news is the CG documentation center is efficient and friendly, and you can get an officer on the phone if you have questions. I have done this when I sold a prior boat to a non-US citizen and it took a few weeks to process.

I think you could sail the boat while the forms are being processed without any hassles. They give you a case number and in the unlikely event you are stopped and you have that case number it shows intent to comply.

Rhode Island doesn't have a state sales tax on boats, and Florida will require you to pay a "use tax" if you keep it there longer than a defined limit (most states are 60 days per year). States have reciprocal agreements so if you pay tax in one it will be allowed for the next (and you have to pay the higher rate) so keep your receipt and payment records forever.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:27   #5
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You should investigate registering ("documenting" in the USA legal vernacular) your vessel under your own flag. Then cruising in the USA under a cruising permit will allow you to be exempt from taxes in Florida.

from "
Sales and Use Tax on Boats
Information for Owners and Purchasers


" Foreign Flagged Vessels
Boats flying a foreign flag are exempt from Florida use tax if they have a current license to cruise issued by the U.S. Customs Service. Licenses to cruise are available only to boats flagged in countries that have a treaty with the United States. The boat will remain exempt as long as you do not violate the provisions of the license to cruise."
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:30   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olorin View Post
From the United States Power Squadron, Flag Etiquette:

"The national ensign worn by a vessel must be the flag of her registryŚnot necessarily that of the owner or operator."

Flag and Etiquette Committee
I repeat that to be US registered and therefore fly a US flag, the owner must be a US citizen. Thems the rules, whatever flag etiquette may dicate

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Old 11-11-2010, 09:39   #7
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I bought a Hunter37 a few years back (04).... so am working from a dodgey memory here....
Basicily I was told that I'd have to register it in the UK.... however as it was a US registered boat origonally, it could come and go with no future restrictions... Myself however was a whole different ball game... the usual visa's, restrictions etc, also you'll need an annual cruising permit.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:24   #8
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hi olorin,think that going to be my best bet.do you know aprox. what the cost would be to register boat under my own flag?regards frank
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:45   #9
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Quote:
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I repeat that to be US registered and therefore fly a US flag, the owner must be a US citizen. Thems the rules,
May need to re-check 'em, Cliff. I saw a lot of Delaware registered boats in Italy. And none spoke American!

I think there is something cooking with tax etc there. So there may just be the odd loophole in your law.

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Old 11-11-2010, 10:56   #10
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:23   #11
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hi olorin,think that going to be my best bet.do you know aprox. what the cost would be to register boat under my own flag?regards frank
Hi Frank,

Actually, I want to register my boat under your own flag, but there is a restriction. I have to be a permanent resident of the UK, but I am not. I live in Greece and I do not have a permanent UK address. Your registry is quite simple and affordable, so if you don't have any serious reason to avoid it, just go for it. Additionally, it is better for cruising in the EU than the US registry.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:28   #12
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I repeat that to be US registered and therefore fly a US flag, the owner must be a US citizen. Thems the rules, whatever flag etiquette may dicate
Hate to say it, but this is utterly wrong. I just bought a boat from a Canadian who only a week prior had registered the boat in the U.S. He lived in Whitehorse (Yukon Territory) and kept the boat in Skagway (Alaska). According to Alaska state law, and I'd imagine other states are similar, if your boat is residing in the state for more than 90 days, you are required to register it in Alaska. The exception is if you're sailing under a cruising permit. He had absolutely no problem registering it in the U.S., which is good, since I was not able to get a loan for a foreign flagged vessel. So it IS possible and, according to him, easy to get a vessel registered in the U.S. while being a foreign citizen.

Pyrate

P.S. The cost for registering in Alaska is $24 for 3 years. This, and other taxes associated with this cost probably vary by state. Check with the state's DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for specifics.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:42   #13
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There are two forms of documentation/registration in the US--federal and state. The US Coast Guard administers the National Vessel Documentation program. Here's how they describe federal documentation...
Quote:
Vessel documentation is a national form of registration. It is one of the oldest functions of Government, dating back to the 11th Act of the First Congress. Documentation provides conclusive evidence of nationality for international purposes, provides for unhindered commerce between the states, and admits vessels to certain restricted trades, such as coastwise trade and the fisheries. Since 1920, vessel financing has been enhanced through the availability of preferred mortgages on documented vessels.
In order to document your vessel in the federal system, you must be a US citizen.

The other type of "documentation" is to register your boat in the state in which you will be keeping the boat--Florida, in the case of the original poster. You can also title your boat in a state to show proof of ownership. The counties in Florida administer the boat registration/titling process. You do not need to be a US citizen to register or title a boat at the state level.

The last time I checked, if you buy a boat with the intent of moving it to Florida, you'll be required to pay a sales tax on the boat, as well as a fairly nominal registration and titling fee. If the boat was purchased more than six months before entering Florida, and wasn't purchased for the purpose of bringing it to Florida, you aren't liable for sales tax.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:47   #14
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If you want to title and register the boat in Florida at the state level I don't think you'll have any problem but paying use tax. Since you are not a US Citizen you cannot get USCG documentation (the equivalent of a US national Flag or Title). In the US or or carribean this makes little difference. The one major difference it will make is taking the boat to cuba. With a UK or European Flag you could go to cuba, and I suppose you still can, but the boat cannot, at least legally, except under special permit for the time being.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:50   #15
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I think there may be some confusion between state registered and US Coast Guard documented vessels. As far as I know, anyone can register a boat in a US state but one must be a US citizen to get USCG documentation.

Some countries accept a US state registration for entry (Canada does but I think Mexico doesn't) but in most cases a boat must be USCG documented to travel internationally.

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