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Old 02-02-2019, 01:10   #1
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Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

I'm looking at a sailboat for sale in Australia, the broker says it's registered in the UK but is not sure if it is still valid or lapsed, I'm trying to find out how I would register that boat in the US or possibly the Caymans, it is registered in one of the states in Australia but not nationally so it can't leave Australian waters. I thought about Malaysia also. The boat is not going to the US as long as I own her. If the UK documentation is not current what kind of problems can I expect if any. Might have to contact a lawyer on this. Anybody with some insight into this would very much appreciated.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:12   #2
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

Whatever registration there might be, is not valid in any case, if you were not the person who registered it.



There are two types of registration in the UK -- Part I and Part III (SSR).


Part I can be used by foreigners, BUT you need to form (and maintain) a UK company to own the boat. If the boat has not been Part I registered before, you will need a tonnage survey. I don't know whether that can be done outside of the UK, but if the boat was already Part I registered, you should not need the tonnage survey. In this case, you should be able to register the boat on Part I with perfect legality. You need to:


1. Form a UK company, hiring an agent who will give you a UK address and forward mail to you. You can be sole shareholder and sole director, but you need a UK address.



2. Submit documents through the MCA website.


3. Receive the certificate of registration through your agent.




Part III (SSR) registration is far simpler and is done entirely online, other than receiving the certificate. No tonnage survey required. But it is legal only for bona fide UK residents. Some people just use a friend's address in the UK, but I don't think that's a good idea, personally -- it requires fraudulently claiming to be a UK resident.


SSR registration does NOT provide a certificate of title -- merely of registration. Yachts under a certain size (20 meters?) and used privately do not require any registration at all in the UK, so the SSR was invented as a way to provide a scrap of paper to satisfy foreign authorities. But it is indeed little but a scrap of paper.






One last thing -- you may or may not care about this, but if the boat is sold outside of EU waters, any VAT-paid status the boat may have, is exterminated, so bringing the boat back into the EU (and presumably into post-Brexit UK) (for use by EU or UK residents) will require payment of VAT.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:24   #3
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

Not sure if you plan to insure the boat, some flags can.be difficult to insure for offshore. US flagged boats are not open to some large insurers.
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Old 02-02-2019, 04:35   #4
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Whatever registration there might be, is not valid in any case, if you were not the person who registered it.



There are two types of registration in the UK -- Part I and Part III (SSR).


Part I can be used by foreigners, BUT you need to form (and maintain) a UK company to own the boat. If the boat has not been Part I registered before, you will need a tonnage survey. I don't know whether that can be done outside of the UK, but if the boat was already Part I registered, you should not need the tonnage survey. In this case, you should be able to register the boat on Part I with perfect legality. You need to:


1. Form a UK company, hiring an agent who will give you a UK address and forward mail to you. You can be sole shareholder and sole director, but you need a UK address.



2. Submit documents through the MCA website.


3. Receive the certificate of registration through your agent.




Part III (SSR) registration is far simpler and is done entirely online, other than receiving the certificate. No tonnage survey required. But it is legal only for bona fide UK residents. Some people just use a friend's address in the UK, but I don't think that's a good idea, personally -- it requires fraudulently claiming to be a UK resident.


SSR registration does NOT provide a certificate of title -- merely of registration. Yachts under a certain size (20 meters?) and used privately do not require any registration at all in the UK, so the SSR was invented as a way to provide a scrap of paper to satisfy foreign authorities. But it is indeed little but a scrap of paper.






One last thing -- you may or may not care about this, but if the boat is sold outside of EU waters, any VAT-paid status the boat may have, is exterminated, so bringing the boat back into the EU (and presumably into post-Brexit UK) (for use by EU or UK residents) will require payment of VAT.
Thanks Dockhead, I'm not wanting to register the boat in the UK, the broker bought the boat from the previous owner, he registered the boat in one of the states in OZ, basically what I want to do is buy the boat from him and register the boat somewhere else. Although Thailand has been my home base for the past 10 years my official residence is in the US. Can I, with a bill of sale, notarized, register that boat in the US or somewhere else. I would think that the UK registration, and I don't which registration it is was, is null and void now, I think it's been years since it was registered. Or should I just contact a maritime lawyer and find out what's what. As it stands right now, according to the broker, the boat cannot leave OZ waters. It can stay there but that's it.
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:51   #5
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pirate Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

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Originally Posted by SKG56 View Post
Thanks Dockhead, I'm not wanting to register the boat in the UK, the broker bought the boat from the previous owner, he registered the boat in one of the states in OZ, basically what I want to do is buy the boat from him and register the boat somewhere else. Although Thailand has been my home base for the past 10 years my official residence is in the US. Can I, with a bill of sale, notarized, register that boat in the US or somewhere else. I would think that the UK registration, and I don't which registration it is was, is null and void now, I think it's been years since it was registered. Or should I just contact a maritime lawyer and find out what's what. As it stands right now, according to the broker, the boat cannot leave OZ waters. It can stay there but that's it.
When it was sold in Oz the owner was obliged to return the registration if SSR and if Pt 1 notify the authorities of the sale and it would be deregistered automatically if no transfer process was initiated.
Both automatically expire after 5yrs if not renewed.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:09   #6
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

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Originally Posted by SKG56 View Post
Thanks Dockhead, I'm not wanting to register the boat in the UK, the broker bought the boat from the previous owner, he registered the boat in one of the states in OZ, basically what I want to do is buy the boat from him and register the boat somewhere else. Although Thailand has been my home base for the past 10 years my official residence is in the US. Can I, with a bill of sale, notarized, register that boat in the US or somewhere else. I would think that the UK registration, and I don't which registration it is was, is null and void now, I think it's been years since it was registered. Or should I just contact a maritime lawyer and find out what's what. As it stands right now, according to the broker, the boat cannot leave OZ waters. It can stay there but that's it.

I can't tell you about U.S. registration. There's plenty of information in the net about Coast Guard documentation.



It used to be popular to register boats in the Netherlands and Belgium, because the registries were open to non-residents and were simple to get through. That's been changed.



Cayman Registry has requirements similar to the British registry -- you need to be a British or Cayman citizen (until 31 March, and EU citizen) or a British or Cayman company. Since there is zero taxation of pleasure boats (besides VAT) in the UK, I'm not sure what they advantage of Cayman registry would be over normal U.K. registry.






There are some really simple flags of convenience from dodgy third world countries, but I doubt if that makes much sense. If you can do CG documentation without presenting the boat, I would guess that this makes the most sense for a U.S. citizen and permanent resident.


I am a U.S. citizen with a U.K. registered boat (Part I), and I can say that it's pretty convenient. Registration is simple and lasts 5 years at a time, and is cheaper than CG documentation, even considering the cost of establishing and maintaining a U.K. company, and the flag is respectable. The big issue for you, though, could be the tonnage survey, if there isn't a valid one (if the boat was ever Part I registered, then you probably don't need a tonnage certificate, even if the registration is long lapsed).
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:36   #7
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

I think for either CG or state registration in the US you will first have to import the boat and pay duty (which used to be only about 1%). I'm not sure if the boat has to be physically in US waters to import it. I doubt it.

For CG documentation (not sure about State but I suspect so) you'll also need to show chain of title. The easiest way to do this is to have a documentation company handle it. I brought an UK documented boat and the documentation company knew how to get the necessary paperwork from the port captain in the UK. Went smoothly.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:49   #8
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I think for either CG or state registration in the US you will first have to import the boat and pay duty (which used to be only about 1%). I'm not sure if the boat has to be physically in US waters to import it. I doubt it.

For CG documentation (not sure about State but I suspect so) you'll also need to show chain of title. The easiest way to do this is to have a documentation company handle it. I brought an UK documented boat and the documentation company knew how to get the necessary paperwork from the port captain in the UK. Went smoothly.
The named Port Captain will not have a clue.. all registrations are handled solely by these people.. the Port named is irrelevant.. https://www.gov.uk/register-a-boat/the-uk-ship-register
If you want to do your own search of the register for your vessel Phone the RSS in Cardiff 02920448800 they'll talk you through it ,and for a small fee e-mail/fax or post the info to you as well.

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Old 02-02-2019, 07:54   #9
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I can't tell you about U.S. registration. There's plenty of information in the net about Coast Guard documentation.



It used to be popular to register boats in the Netherlands and Belgium, because the registries were open to non-residents and were simple to get through. That's been changed.



Cayman Registry has requirements similar to the British registry -- you need to be a British or Cayman citizen (until 31 March, and EU citizen) or a British or Cayman company. Since there is zero taxation of pleasure boats (besides VAT) in the UK, I'm not sure what they advantage of Cayman registry would be over normal U.K. registry.






There are some really simple flags of convenience from dodgy third world countries, but I doubt if that makes much sense. If you can do CG documentation without presenting the boat, I would guess that this makes the most sense for a U.S. citizen and permanent resident.


I am a U.S. citizen with a U.K. registered boat (Part I), and I can say that it's pretty convenient. Registration is simple and lasts 5 years at a time, and is cheaper than CG documentation, even considering the cost of establishing and maintaining a U.K. company, and the flag is respectable. The big issue for you, though, could be the tonnage survey, if there isn't a valid one (if the boat was ever Part I registered, then you probably don't need a tonnage certificate, even if the registration is long lapsed).
Ok, Boatman and Dockhead, The broker tells me the UK registration is on the boat, we should be able to follow up and find out where this registration stands now. If in fact it's been over 5 years and the registration has been discontinued, or the owner contacted the registry office and informed them the boat has been sold, then where am I now, open a Brit company and register the boat in the UK as a US citizen, I'm with you on Flagging the boat in a dodgy third world country. There is another boat that's in Thailand that I'm serious about. It's a Westsail 32. A good one. I like the boat and I like the owner. He sailed it to Thailand from Florida with his Thai wife and 6 month old baby. He's thru with cruising and wants to sell
I went over her last month. He Thai Flagged the boat using an agent because he is now in Thailand permanently. Therefore he doesn't have to take the boat out of the country every 90 days or 6 months or what ever it is.I'm torn about how to Flagg this boat also if I decide on this one. I'm sure you can see I'm out of my element here and need to get educated about these matters. I could go the route he took, but it would not hurt my feelings to go to Malaysia every so often and then come back in a few months down the road. I would rather have the boat registered with a well recognized flag world wide. I'm going ask the broker to get the registration on the one in OZ, it's suppose to be on the boat, and see just what it is and the dates that are on it. I guess take it from there. As far as the W32 goes, I'll look into Flagging the boat other than Thailand if that's the one I ultimately choose. Thanks for your input on this.
Sam
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:59   #10
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

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The named Port Captain will not have a clue.. all registrations are handled solely by these people.. the Port named is irrelevant.. https://www.gov.uk/register-a-boat/the-uk-ship-register
If you want to do your own search of the register for your vessel Phone the RSS in Cardiff 02920448800 they'll talk you through it ,and for a small fee e-mail/fax or post the info to you as well.

Thanks, this seems to be the best approach once I get the registration that's on the boat
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:07   #11
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Ok, Boatman and Dockhead, The broker tells me the UK registration is on the boat, we should be able to follow up and find out where this registration stands now. If in fact it's been over 5 years and the registration has been discontinued, or the owner contacted the registry office and informed them the boat has been sold, then where am I now, open a Brit company and register the boat in the UK as a US citizen, I'm with you on Flagging the boat in a dodgy third world country. There is another boat that's in Thailand that I'm serious about. It's a Westsail 32. A good one. I like the boat and I like the owner. He sailed it to Thailand from Florida with his Thai wife and 6 month old baby. He's thru with cruising and wants to sell
I went over her last month. He Thai Flagged the boat using an agent because he is now in Thailand permanently. Therefore he doesn't have to take the boat out of the country every 90 days or 6 months or what ever it is.I'm torn about how to Flagg this boat also if I decide on this one. I'm sure you can see I'm out of my element here and need to get educated about these matters. I could go the route he took, but it would not hurt my feelings to go to Malaysia every so often and then come back in a few months down the road. I would rather have the boat registered with a well recognized flag world wide. I'm going ask the broker to get the registration on the one in OZ, it's suppose to be on the boat, and see just what it is and the dates that are on it. I guess take it from there. As far as the W32 goes, I'll look into Flagging the boat other than Thailand if that's the one I ultimately choose. Thanks for your input on this.
Sam
Why not just flag it with a Delaware LLC.. get to fly your own flag and.. judging by the amount of Turks, Greeks and other do it in the Med it cant be that expensive..
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:14   #12
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

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Why not just flag it with a Delaware LLC.. get to fly your own flag and.. judging by the amount of Turks, Greeks and other do it in the Med it cant be that expensive..
I have read a little about that, I will certainly look into that, no question, Thanks
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Old 02-02-2019, 16:44   #13
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

You stated that you are a US citizen which means that you can pursue USCG documentation and don't need a company involved.

What country will the vessel be residing?

Will you transit to other countries? If so for how long in each country.

The laws as to registration are very much country specific as to duration of waiver of foreign flagged vessels requiring being registered / documented in their country, just as is the case with registration requirements imposed by the individual states in the USA.

USCG documentation is a federal titling of the vessel.

Titling and registration are distinctly separate matters.
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Old 02-02-2019, 17:53   #14
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

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Why not just flag it with a Delaware LLC.. get to fly your own flag and.. judging by the amount of Turks, Greeks and other do it in the Med it cant be that expensive..
Delaware doubled the cost of registration a couple of years ago, from 150 to 300 usd for a 3-year 40ft boat. It's not bad, but the LLC costs can add up a bit.

I would register Part 1, since it has the tonnage already, and it is a title after all which works very well when you want to sell it. Getting a radio license and MMSI with Ofcom is easy, quick and over the internet.
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Old 03-02-2019, 03:40   #15
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Re: Registering a UK registered boat in the US or Caymans

I re-registered a vessel back into UK Part 1 after it had been in Swiss registry for a couple of decades. The Registry was quite strict on the documentation of prior changes of ownership, but the Registered Number (required to be carved into a "main beam" or perhaps etched into a plate "permanently" fixed somewhere around or fwd of the mast) enables them to establish the chain of ownership up until the owner who last renewed the registration. It is crucial that you get at least some documentation about each change of ownership since Part 1 registration expired.
I also had to get the boat re-measured for the calculation of the boat's "tonnage" (which is a nominal load-carrying measure, not displacement), which required a surveyor who is recognised by the Registry - so that cd be expensive if the boat is not near a big port; for me, the cost was a couple of hundred euros/dollars.
Although it sounds difficult, for me it went smoothly and the Registry was very helpful. And having a legal document of title has great advantages - the boat can't be "repossessed" by bailiffs trying to recover debts owed by previous owners, and conversely I could establish a legal mortgage on the boat if I wanted to (a marine mortgage registered on the UK Part 1 Registry is a valid mortgage, and a boat without a mortgage registered against it cannot legally be seized and sold to clear a previous owner's debts).
Just be aware that if your boat is registerd on this basis, you need to fly a Red Duster; so your patriotism might be threatened!
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