I did this with a French flagged cat which I reflagged as U.S. with Coast Guard registration.
First, although I'm a retired Coast Guard officer and can wade through bureaucracy better than most, I hired a vessel documentation service
(Kimberly Clark at ASAP in Miami
, 954-926-2387) and highly recommend it. The fee was ridiculously low for the amount of work
she did and the hassle and time she saved me, plus there are a number of tricks of the trade
that these folks know that you can't find published anywhere that might be of use if you're in a certain situations.
Second, in my situation it was vital that the old owner deflagged the vessel in France
. There was no way for me to do this as the new owner and I couldn't register the vessel in the U.S. without it.
Finally, the whole deflag/bill of sale/registration issue is generally going to require a trusted third party to act as escrow unless you know the seller well and you trust each other implicitly, which the vessel doc folks or a broker can do. Otherwise one of you is taking a risk and don't have any leverage to get the other party to hold up their part of the deal.
In general, this isn't worth doing as a DIY project
, the hassle is too high and the price
of hiring a professional are too low to justify it in my experience.