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Old 30-04-2021, 03:06   #1
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Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

Hi, I apologize as I know there are a lot of similar threads but was hoping for some advice. I am buying a Catamaran/Charter vessel currently registered in the BVIs but being worked on in St. Martin.

I am a US citizen and had planned to register the vessel in Delaware but now I'm rethinking about keeping the BVI registration, any pros or cons anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 30-04-2021, 05:49   #2
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

If you bring the boat back to the United States you will almost certainly have to register it with the state where you keep it. You will also probably have to pay an import duty of (I believe) 1.5% of the value. Depending on the state you take it to, you may also have to pay a use tax.


If you do not bring it back to the United States, then none of this applies, of course.
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Old 30-04-2021, 06:02   #3
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

If you are a US citizen, you will unlikely be able to transfer the vessel into your name on the BVI register. You will need to form a company in the BVI and pay annual fees and have a firm look after all the paperwork etc, not that expensive but a hassle all the same. If you buy the company, as opposed to the boat, that may already own it then you have some transaction risk and will likely need a BVI lawyer.



If you take it back to the USA, you will need to pay federal import duty of 1.5% as noted above. Then depending on where it is physically kept you may need to pay the State use tax which varies. Registering in Delaware with 0 tax is fine if you keep it there. The full answer is not as simple as above but these are roughly the choices.


The more expensive the boat the more sophisticated you can afford to get with ownership and tax avoidance as a % of total cost.
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Old 30-04-2021, 06:45   #4
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

So we don't plan to bring it back to the US, is registering in Delaware not an option? I was under the impression that you could with a registered agent.
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Old 30-04-2021, 08:44   #5
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

If you are a us citizen you just need to remove it from bvi registration and then document it with USCG. No need to register in Delaware unless you have other reasons to do so. USCG documentation is the easiest and least expensive route in the long run
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Old 30-04-2021, 08:49   #6
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

I think you would have to obtain a cruising permit to bring a foreign flagged boat into the US.
It's easier just to register it nationally which is called documented in the US. It's pretty cheap too.
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Old 30-04-2021, 09:42   #7
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

As the last few posts said, you do not (should not) need to register in any state. Just get US coast Guard Documentation on the boat. File form CG1258. You need a Hailing Port, but since you don't have one I think you can use your home town...? it was $84 for new ownership and $26 annually, so pretty cheap.

Now if you do bring it back to the USA, then you may have other import fees and state fees depending on where you sail it.
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Old 30-04-2021, 10:41   #8
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

Good info here. Go for USCG "documentation" not state "registration." If kept in a state with personal property tax on boats you will have let state tax authorities know and they will provide a decal to let state tax agents who search marinas and anchorages for tax dodgers know that you aware of the tax issue. Do not also state register the boa if you USCG doc it, that will terminate your USCG documentation.
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Old 30-04-2021, 11:19   #9
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

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Originally Posted by zstine View Post
You need a Hailing Port, but since you don't have one I think you can use your home town...?
You can use anything you want. It just has to be a real place, in the United States. Beyond that the Coast Guard does not care if you have ever been there, or if the boat has ever been there, or anything else.
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Old 30-04-2021, 11:25   #10
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

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Do not also state register the boa if you USCG doc it, that will terminate your USCG documentation.
I don't think this is actually relevant to the OPs situation, but this statement is completely false. Many states will REQUIRE you to register your boat with the state, even if it is CG documented. The CGs own website specifically says that you may be required to register the boat in the state where you keep it, even if it is documented.

If it is documented, then you do not display state numbers on the bow, but that is not the same as not registering it. I can assure you that there are many, many boats here in the Tampa Bay area that are CG documented, and registered with the state of Florida.
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Old 30-04-2021, 11:26   #11
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

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Originally Posted by zstine View Post
As the last few posts said, you do not (should not) need to register in any state. ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmschmidt View Post
.... Do not also state register the boa if you USCG doc it, that will terminate your USCG documentation.
This is so wrong, very, very wrong. You cannot title a USCG documented in a state that titles boats. The documentation serves as your title (proof of ownership).

You may, or may not, be required to register your USCG documented boat in your state of primary use. The state cannot require, and you are not allowed to display state registration numbers, but the state may require, and you may display an annual state registration sticker.

Quote:
IS A DOCUMENTED VESSEL EXEMPT FROM STATE JURISDICTION?
No, all documented vessels must comply with the laws of the state in which they are operated. The vessel's document must be shown to state law enforcement personnel upon their demand. States may require documented vessels to be registered (but not numbered) and to display state decals showing that they have complied with state requirements.

https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organiz...on-Center-FAQ/
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:26   #12
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

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Do not also state register the boa if you USCG doc it, that will terminate your USCG documentation.
You keep posting this same comment despite the fact that other members here have said that they have had boats that were both documented and state titled at the same time. Technically having both is not supposed to be allowed but actually the feds don't give a hooey what the states are doing and vice versa. Furthermore I don't think there is a legal mechanism in place to actually terminate a documented boats status just be cause it is state titled.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:23   #13
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

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You keep posting this same comment despite the fact that other members here have said that they have had boats that were both documented and state titled at the same time.
The discussion here is about state registration, not state titling. A very different thing.


Not sure how diligently the CG enforces it, but your boat definitely should not have a state title if it is documented. On the other hand, it absolutely CAN (and often MUST) be state registered, even though it is CG documented.
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Old 02-05-2021, 05:07   #14
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

Don, The OP first inquired about Delaware registration vs BVI registration which one can only assume means titling in one or the other of these jurisdictions.
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Old 02-05-2021, 07:55   #15
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Re: Buying a boat currently registered in BVI as US citizen

Maybe we need some more clarification from the OP, though he has not returned since the first day that he posted this. In any case, since he used the word "registration" I assumed he was talking about registration. Perhaps not.
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