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Old 20-08-2008, 07:33   #1
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Buying a yacht in Florida

Hello everyone.
I have just sold my boat in Europe and would like to fly to Florida without a return flight and buy a used boat there. I am a UK citizen and understand that I have 90 days tourist visa in which to do the purchase. What I can't find out is how I go about flying in on a single flight and sailing my newly purchased boat out of the US.
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:25   #2
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I would suggest you re-think this strategy. It will put enormous pressure on you to buy a boat you do not want. It will also put enormous pressure on you to sail long distance when the boat may not be capable/ready.

Yes a second journey will cost more money, but such a small amount compared to the cost of the boat.........
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:32   #3
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Buy a round trip ticket in case you don't find a boat. You can always extend your visa, or take a ferry to the Bahamas, and returning for yet another extension. Don't limit yourself to Florida. St. Maarten is a great place to buy a boat. Many dreams end in the Caribbean, and boats can be sold cheap.....I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE! I almost went to Thailand to purchase a boat 50cents on the dollar. A Hans Christiansen Christina only several years old........BEST WISHES
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Old 20-08-2008, 08:44   #4
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Depending on your plans, the BVI is also a great place to find a boat. Check with Chris and Karen at BVI Yacht Sales: http://www.bviyachtsales.com/

And, of course, it's "British" :-)

Bill
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Old 20-08-2008, 09:04   #5
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And for a differing view, I think you are right to look in Florida. For the sheer volume of boats for sale, it's hard to beat.
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Old 20-08-2008, 09:10   #6
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I know that you cannot sail into the USA on a visa waiver on a private boat and am fairly certain that the rule also applies to leaving the USA - which would mean you need a US tourist visa in your passport in order to sail your new acquisition out of the country. Usually the airlines will not allow you to fly to the USA on a one-way ticket unless you are a US resident. You can get around this by purchasing a round-trip ticket that is fully refundable and getting your money back for the unused portion, but those tickets tend to be quite pricey.

Addendum - I read on a German forum some posts by a gent who did this, entered the USA on a visa waiver program and wanted to depart on a boat that he had purchased. After mailing and talking with the German embassy, the US Consulate in Germany and homeland security he could not get a staight answer on whether or not this was possible. In the end it turns out that the all-important I-94 issued by airlines is different from that issued when arriving at a port and that there would probably be issues when checking out of the USA with the "wrong" I-94. I would want to have some US agency clarify this in writing before attempting to leave on your boat without having entered on a visa.

Of course the Tourist Visa is pretty easy to get as an EU-citizen, in my case the assigned date for the visa interview took several weeks and then they kept my passport for a week before it was mailed back (with a visa). So if you have enough time to prepare then just go and get the visa so that you won't have any problems.
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Old 20-08-2008, 14:46   #7
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I did just what you are planning, but way back in '98. Had no problems at all, but since 911 all the regulations have changed. There are lots of multis for sale in FL. GOOD LUCK

Dave M
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Old 30-08-2008, 18:58   #8
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Aloha Mercedes,
Welcome aboard! I hope you can find your dream in Florida.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 18-09-2008, 07:21   #9
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Anyone have any advice of the whether it saves to buy a yacht in the US and have it shipped to Australia. Just curious.
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Old 18-09-2008, 08:34   #10
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Retazra - I did some math for a ~50 footer and concluded that it was worthwhile to purchase in the USA and sail it to Oz (and pay duties on it) but that if the cost of shipping via Dockwise or similar carrier were factored in it was almost a wash. The advantage is that the selection (in terms of models and numbers) as well as condition of boats from the USA was usually better.
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Old 18-09-2008, 09:11   #11
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Last year there was a special import clause that allowed purchase of a new yacht in the states and import to Aus tax free - check it out.

UK has a tax law that states that if you have been using the boat as your primary abode, for more than 6 months, you can import tax free. Shame that Aus does not have a similar one - this is giving me a severe problem, as I had intended to invest my housing money in the boat and sail to aus, eventually to sell and get back in the housing market. With this rule, it is going to take a significant chunk of my money.

I am allowed to bring a tax free car, but not my boat what a bad joke!
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Old 23-09-2008, 12:22   #12
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All this talk of shipping costs,, and on a sailboat too !! How about sailing from US to Aussie ? Sounds like a long trip, but just think of all that fun, and it need not take that long either. Think about it.
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Old 23-09-2008, 14:35   #13
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I recently heard an interview on the radio in which at least one U.S. company say that they sell 2/3 of their reposessed yachts overseas due to the combination of weak U.S. economy and weak dollar.
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Old 30-09-2008, 19:32   #14
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other American hot spots for boat purchases besides FL

Don't forget Oriental, NC and Charleston, SC to name two spots with large boat selections.

Charleston is just a beautiful and historic place to hang out anyway. Don't miss it. A really pretty coastal city
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Old 20-10-2011, 19:02   #15
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Re: Buying a yacht in Florida

I know this post is pretty old but did you ever do this? Im looking to do the same and finding it difficult to get information on it. Any help would be very much appreciated.
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