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Old 24-08-2018, 13:19   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Annapolis, MD
Boat: Sabre 34-1 (sold) and Saga 43
Posts: 445
Moving newly acquired boat

I have only bought one non-trailer boat in my life, my Sabre 34 that had a MD title. I walked into the DNR office, and out 20 minutes later with a title. Some years later, I sent some paperwork into NVDC and got it documented, slow but little fuss.

I am now looking to buy a bigger boat. My search is broader, and even includes out of country (one boat on my radar is in Toronto). In or out of the country (similar but different issues), I ponder how to get the boat home. I will probably end up with a broker (nearly all boats in my target are listed by brokers -- it's hard to find a $100-200K boat that is "by owner"), and I'm sure he will help, but I'd still like to understand the process in advance. It seems that I transfer the funds, the owner signs over title in some fashion, I send paperwork into the NVDC, and then I wait for 2 months before I can move it. That just doesn't make sense!

How does one legally move a newly acquired boat on the day of purchase? In the US, you can go on the "you won't get stopped anyway" view, and at least move it some. But in this example Canadian boat, 50 miles later I'm going to clear customs and declare it! That's probably a bit more paperwork... LOL. With cars, the dealer can give you a temporary tag, but I don't see that happening with boats.... or does it?

Arguably, during that two months it can't legally even sit at the pier, since the prior owner has given up title and the new owner does not have provable title, or suitable "registration"


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Old 24-08-2018, 18:57   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Southport CT
Boat: J/36
Posts: 1,207
Re: Moving newly acquired boat

Your best bet might be to call the USCG and Customs & Immigration and ask them both what documents you might need. When we purchased our boat, (though it did not involve Canada) I recall being quite relieved to hear from the USCG that so long as the paperwork for U.S. Documentation had been filed and we had copies of the application on board, we would be fine. A broker may be familiar with your situation and be able to help as well. Make him earn some of his commission!

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Old 25-08-2018, 06:30   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Mexico
Boat: Passport 40
Posts: 332
Re: Moving newly acquired boat

I believe you can for example use the bill of sale as a temporary document. As a foreign flagged vessel, the CBP will take your bill of sale in custody until you get your foreign papers in order (been there). I guess you can do the same thing and then when you get your USCG papers they can release the bill of sale to you.

But I agree that with the papers filed you should be more than ok.
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Old 25-08-2018, 11:26   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 24
Re: Moving newly acquired boat

As already stated, the bill of sale and copy of documentation application will make you legal while moving.

I bought from a Canadian couple while they were in the US on a permit - boat was here. Did most of it on our own (sales contract, etc) but ultimately brought in an agent to handhold the transaction. Mainly because the laws/rules were so vague and inconsistently translated by the “experts” (different answers from everyone you talked to at Customs, etc.). Ultimately it was worth some money to get someone in the middle that was going to be contractually bound to make it happen correctly and legally.
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Old 25-08-2018, 11:28   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 24
Re: Moving newly acquired boat

Hit send too soon...if you use a boat broker they’ll provide that “agent” function in house or have someone they work with. If you by a boat from out of country you’ll likely need a customs broker in the middle.
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