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Old 30-03-2019, 08:39   #1
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US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

Our boat was built in Canada. We brought it to the US five years ago and have been registered in Washington state ever since. We've learned that the Jones Act of 1920 prohibits foreign built vessels from being US Documented.

We were told recently (by someone we don't know well, but seems to be knowledgeable) that getting a waiver for the prohibition shouldn't be a big deal and they were granted fairly often.

Has anyone out there done this? How difficult was it? Mounds of paperwork/internet and time? Or easy-peasy?

Thanks everyone.
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Old 30-03-2019, 09:27   #2
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

We have not done this, as our boat was already documented in the US when we purchased her about 10 years ago.

However, she was built in Surrey, Canada and is now documented in the US, so it can be done. I wish I could tell you specifics on how to do it. Best of luck.

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Old 30-03-2019, 09:34   #3
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

Foreign-built recreational vessels can be documented in the US without any problem. Commercial vessels are different (and the Jones Act has nothing to do with it).


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Old 30-03-2019, 09:58   #4
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

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Originally Posted by Hartleyg View Post
Foreign-built recreational vessels can be documented in the US without any problem. Commercial vessels are different (and the Jones Act has nothing to do with it).


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Old 30-03-2019, 10:16   #5
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

Jones Act regulates to moving cargo between US ports, requiring a US flagged vessel. Doesn't relate to private vessels as far as I know.
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Old 30-03-2019, 11:18   #6
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

Where do you think all the benes, jennes and cats sailing around with the Stars and Stripes hanging aft were built.........Miami?
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Old 30-03-2019, 11:23   #7
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

As Hartley said.
And when in doubt, a fast phone call to the very friendly and professional folks at the vessel documentation center will get you accurate information on any part of the whole process--much more reliable than "some guy" or random posts on the internet.

Now, if you are planning commercial use or putting the vessel in "coastwise trade", that's something else again. The folks at the VDC will still have the right answers for you.
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Old 30-03-2019, 11:31   #8
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

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As Hartley said.
And when in doubt, a fast phone call to the very friendly and professional folks at the vessel documentation center will get you accurate information on any part of the whole process--much more reliable than "some guy" or random posts on the internet.

Now, if you are planning commercial use or putting the vessel in "coastwise trade", that's something else again. The folks at the VDC will still have the right answers for you.
Absolutely. The USCG documentation center is one of the very few government offices that answers the phone and is able to answer questions on the spot.
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Old 30-03-2019, 12:15   #9
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

Also agree. In 2015 we purchased a Canadian flagged Jeanneau, which was built in France and had no issues documenting her in the US. As others have said the vessel cannot be chartered or used in coastwise trade.
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Old 31-03-2019, 08:52   #10
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

Thanks everyone. I realize from reading your answers that I didn't include all the pertinent data (sometimes I just get too inside my head )

Our boat is custom built so unlike the Bene's and FPs the details of the build are contained in the final survey of the boat and some pictures taken during the build. With that in mind I wasn't sure if we could document or not.
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Old 31-03-2019, 09:04   #11
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

We are US citizens, and were living/working in The Philippines. Our Taswell 43 was built in Taiwan, to specific spec (custom??) for a Hong Kong Resident and dealer, later sold to a Brit who registered her in Singapore. We bought her, canceled the Singapore registration, sailed to The Philippines, and applied for USCG Documentation. Filled out the form, submitted, and...we're documented! And have been now for 19 years. Not an issue!
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Old 31-03-2019, 09:30   #12
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Our boat was built in Canada. We brought it to the US five years ago and have been registered in Washington state ever since. We've learned that the Jones Act of 1920 prohibits foreign built vessels from being US Documented.

We were told recently (by someone we don't know well, but seems to be knowledgeable) that getting a waiver for the prohibition shouldn't be a big deal and they were granted fairly often.

Has anyone out there done this? How difficult was it? Mounds of paperwork/internet and time? Or easy-peasy?

Thanks everyone.
Go straight to the horse's mouth...Google the NATIONAL VESSEL DOCUMENTATION CENTER for all the details...it can be done!

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Old 31-03-2019, 09:51   #13
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

As others have stated, the Jones Act has nothing to do with US Federal documentation. My boat was built in France and is documented without any special waivers. I plan on starting a day charter business which will require a waiver to the Jones act.
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Old 31-03-2019, 14:39   #14
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Thanks everyone. I realize from reading your answers that I didn't include all the pertinent data (sometimes I just get too inside my head )

Our boat is custom built so unlike the Bene's and FPs the details of the build are contained in the final survey of the boat and some pictures taken during the build. With that in mind I wasn't sure if we could document or not.
Someone gave you bad info.

Jones Act does not prohibit registration of a foriegn built vessel, regardless of how it was built. Custom built doesnt matter (it may as you point out require some additional documentation, but nothig to do w Jones Act).

Jones Act only applies to how the vessel is used. A foreign built vessel may not engage in coastwise trade in the USA without an MRAD waiver. This only applies if you plan to use the boat commercially, such as charter service. If just recreational use then nothing more is needed.

The MRAD process is easy, if you do want that.
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Old 31-03-2019, 22:22   #15
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Re: US Documentation of a Foreign Built Vessel?

You were told wrong. I own a cat built in South Africa. She is a documented US flag vessel. Ditto for another cat I was part owner in. When we bought it it was French flagged, we did what is called a "deflag/reflag" to US no problem.

If your boat is based in Washington State, US documentation won't help you a bit with their voracious tax collectors.

Note: To document a foreign built vessel for commercial use you need some additional paper work and if you engage it in commercial activity you need and exemption from the US Maritime Administration ($500 the last I checked), not too difficult if you can show a need and a benefit to the public where you intend to operate.
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