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Old 04-11-2021, 14:06   #1
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Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

I'm an American who just purchased a catamaran, which is in Antigua. I was planning to register the boat with the USCG (prior British registry) but as far as I can tell it may months to receive the USCG registration documents.

While waiting I'd like to be able to sail to other East Caribbean islands. Does anyone have experience with this scenario? Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks in advance ...
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Old 23-11-2021, 06:04   #2
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

I'm still stuck waiting for registration ... doesn't anyone have any experience with this situation?

Can a cruiser check into a new country with the notarized Bill of Sale, copy of the prior registration, copy of the certificate of de-registration and proof that application for new (Canadian) registration has be made?

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Old 23-11-2021, 06:33   #3
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pirate Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

It has been done, most places will be happy with a notarised Bill of Sale, Insurance (in your name) and the old registration certificate.
A Bill of Sale on the back of a bar bill however...!!!
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Old 23-11-2021, 06:39   #4
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

Thanks for the reply!

I have a properly notarized Bill of Sale and insurance docs. The prior registry documents are all photo images.

Any idea of the consequences if my docs are NOT accepted? Any risk of being refused entry and then just being stuck in international waters?
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Old 23-11-2021, 06:46   #5
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

Why are you stuck?

You should not file to deregister the boat until your registration is approved.

You can sail the boat anywhere as long as you have a bill of sale. A a letter from the previous registered owner indicating that you are the master of the vessel will greatly assist.


This is actually a pretty common scneario.
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Old 23-11-2021, 06:53   #6
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

De-registration, performed by the previous owner, was a prerequisite to apply for Canadian registration (I'm a U.S. citizen but a permanent resident in Canada).

I think the USCG also requires de-registration before granting US registration.

I'm only "stuck" in Antigua IF I cannot leave and enter another country with the docs that I have. I won't have the Canadian papers for weeks.

Not as bad as USGC registration (my first choice). According to the USCG they are backlogged for months.
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Old 23-11-2021, 07:22   #7
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

Geez ... Transport Canada now tells me that I need a formal Tonnage Certificate in order to complete registration in Canada. It's a 44' Privilege cruising catamaran.

Anyone have any experience with THIS issue? Availability such a survey in Antigua? Cost?

If I can sail while waiting for the USCG then I may write off my Canadian fee and register with the USCG as first planned.

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Old 23-11-2021, 07:31   #8
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

When I bought my boat in Malta in 2019, it was registered/flagged in Malta. In order for me to register it there I needed to set up a Maltese corporation. I opted instead to register it in the US. This meant De-registering it from Malta which took 30 days. Once I had the proof ie: de-registered form I could then send it to the USCG to obtain US Documentation. That took another 30 days.

I was told by the broker that an unregistered/unflagged vessel in Maltese waters could be impounded. I was also told by the broker that because I had the paper trail that I would likely not have any problem with the authorities there. I took it out for a few day sails but did not cross any borders or try to check in to any other countries.

One thing I did do to speed up USCG is to email them and ask for expediated service because I was under hardship being on a unregistered/undocumented vessel in a foreign port accruing berthing fees. It still took about 30 days though.
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Old 23-11-2021, 08:26   #9
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

Thanks for the information.

I'm nervous about leaving Antigua with an unregistered boat as well.

Given the delays for registration to come through, months in the case of the USCG, it seems like this would be a common situation. I'd love to hear from someone who actually tried to enter another country with registration pending. Especially in the Caribbean!
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Old 20-01-2022, 10:15   #10
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

In 2018, after we had just purchased our boat, we traveled to the Bahamas without our USCG certificate of documentation, which was pending. In lieu, we had a "travel package" from our broker that included the recent bill of sale, proof of insurance, and the application for a USCG CoD. We had no problems entering or returning.
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Old 20-01-2022, 10:53   #11
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

USCG documentation isn't required to gain entry... Most boats don't even have it, right? Or maybe better to say many don't. Heck you have to meet a certain tonnage to even be able to apply from what I recall.

As long as your vessel is registered with a state in the US you should be good to go. (And yes like others said,. Copy of bill is sale and title and insurance, etc.
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Old 20-01-2022, 11:40   #12
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

Armysailor, correct. I should have said "exiting", not "returning".
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Old 24-01-2022, 00:37   #13
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Re: Can I sail while waiting for documentation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBCurtis View Post
While waiting I'd like to be able to sail to other East Caribbean islands. Does anyone have experience with this scenario? Any suggestions welcome.
Your vessel is basically stateless at the moment. The principle is that every vessel has to be registered. In other words have a nationality. Some countries might accept a notarised copy of the sales contract and proof you are in the process of registering, others not.

To play it safe, I would inquire prior to entering the territoriale waters of an other country. An other issue is your insurance. It would be wise to clear with them as there are insurance companies that require a vessel is formally registered.


Having no experience with the USCG, I do not know if they offer the option of a provisional (temporary) registration.
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