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Old 07-09-2007, 09:36   #1
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Got the motivation and money but not enough experince

Hi - being new to this forum, I will start by saying a proper hello to all you knowledgeable sailors out there.

As indicated, my girlfriend and I have found our dream boat in florida, and are prepared to quit job, house and everything to live the dream of cruising.
Money's not the issue, and the boat's surely up for the job.
We are experienced sailors - but not with long range blue water cruising, and especially not familiar with buying a relatively expensive boat "overseas" (we are from Denmark)

It's and aluminium monohull (48") and is located approx 200 miles north of Miami. Does anyone know a professional, reliable and "local" surveying company, who would be interested in undertaking a full survey and giving advise during the buying phase?

We have been told by the agent selling the boat that if we submit an offer, we shall deposit at least 10% of the offered amount on the agent's bank account up front, and find that a little "unusual", in order to make the offer official. Is that normal practise in the states?

We hold a "navigation certificate" which qualifies for sailing in Danish waters, but are a little unsure as to what certificates/courses will be ideel to complete before heading out. Also in relation to getting the best insurance qoutes.

Gosh - realise these were many questions, and that I can keep on.... Will search for a proper thread for the other questions....

Meanwhile....
Hope to hear from you, and thanks in advance
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:07   #2
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Ten percent in escrow is a common practice in the states. A formal offer should be in writing and include some language stating that the offer is subject to a survey. This insures that your escrow is returned in the event that the sale is not completed.

There is no standardized certification or national registration for boaters in the US. Some certifications, like ASA, may have bearing on your rates. Also some states require boater training depending on the age of the boater. This will vary from state to state.
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:47   #3
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Does anyone know a professional, reliable and "local" surveying company, who would be interested in undertaking a full survey and giving advise during the buying phase?
Welcome to the Forum, SV Liv. Glad to have you aboard.

I would like to offer you the name of a surveyor who is based in Jupiter, FL. His name is Brian Stetler, and his company is Stetler Marine Surveys. Here is a link to his site:

Stetler Marine Surveys: SAMS Marine Surveyors, Marine Surveyor, Florida

Since you don't indicate where, exactly, the vessel you are considering is located, it may be that Jupiter is not close enough. If Stuart is closer to the vessel, I can offer the name of a surveyor there, as well.

I have used Brian myself, and I am very impressed with his thoroughness and professionalism. In fact, I was given his name by a fellow member here at Cruisers Forum.

The information Pura Vida has given you, above, is all accurate. I have strong, personal views about the 10% "earnest money" deposit typical in yacht sales here in the US, but I won't bore you with those in this post. Feel free to PM me if you want to know what those views are.

Again, welcome to the Forum.

TaoJones
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Old 07-09-2007, 19:44   #4
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It appears members have already got you going in a good direction as far surveying and general issues. You will need some help in boat registration. Since the boat is likely documented with the US Coast Guard it will be pull from documentation as part of the sale title transfer to you because you are not US citizens. You will need to re register the boat in your native country. I would seek out all those legal requirements in Denmark before you agree to a purchase. This will be your papers that prove you own the boat. A bill of sale alone is not enough. A US Coast Guard bill of sale is however an important part of the paper work and any broker will have those papers to allow the title to be removed from USCG Documentation and thus allow you to register it in your own country. You can not register the boat in a country you are not a citizen. Commercial vessels do however use holding companies to get around the requirement but the fees and other costs may not prove in your best interest and can be complcated when you sell the boat in the future.

You should expect to see a contract on a preprinted form with attachments describing the boat and outlining the price. After your survey you can prepare a conditional acceptance form outlining the conditions you will accept the boat and the seller may then agree to some or all. This proces can continue until the contract expires or you close the sale. If you choose not to close you should get a prompt refund of the 10% money. You pay all surveying costs directly to the surveyor in any case. If you buy a boat in Florida there is a time limit you must remove the boat from the state (proof is often required) else be subjected to a sales tax. Not being a US citizen will not make any difference. Here again all the timing for your transaction needs to be well planned so your paperwork can be processed on both sides of the ocean before you can depart.
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:25   #5
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Thanks for all the input.
Registrering the boat in Denmark, will mean that we will have to pay an additional tax of 25% of the sales price + customs fees, which will add up to a considerable amount.
We were told by the dealer that registering the boat else where would not be a problem, and as I read it, it might no be - allthough expensive, apparently?
Plan is for the boat never to reach Denmark, hence we are hoping to register at Cayman Island or similar "tax free heavens". Any experiences with that anyone?
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:41   #6
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Plan is for the boat never to reach Denmark, hence we are hoping to register at Cayman Island or similar "tax free heavens". Any experiences with that anyone?
I believe Dave (maxingout) has his Privilege 39 Exit Only registered and flagged in the Cayman Islands. You might visit his website Welcoming to Maxing Out and see if he mentions it there. At any rate, you will find a wealth of valuable information on his site.

TaoJones

PS: Your English is excellent, but the correct term is "tax havens," although it will seem like heaven.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:19   #7
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We documented our boat offshore in the Cayman Islands when we purchased the yacht. We did it because we were living outside the USA and we were essentially citizens of the world. We didn't have a home anywhere, and the Cayman Islands worked for us. Your tax issues aside, it will cost you about $2,000 per year to maintain a Cayman Island documentation on your yacht. Your documentation papers will actually be British as they are part of the Commonwealth, and you will fly the Cayman flag.
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