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Old 26-03-2021, 11:12   #1
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Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

So Iím looking at buying a boat in the Caribbean. Iím use to doing business in the states with titles but it seems as though they only use bill of sales which scares me. Iím nervous about wiring a bunch of money to an island and only getting a bill of sale. I feel like that is risky. What are your thoughts/experiences?
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Old 26-03-2021, 17:39   #2
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Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

If buying a Federally Documented vessel in the USA its the same...you only get a Bill of Sale. That BOS is then used to change the name of the registered owner. The process for State Registered vessels is similar, but varies by State.

If you buy a USA Federally Registed vessel that happens to be in a non-USA country the process is essentially the same. Some local laws may also come into play, but usually not.

The BOS, and sales contract, and transfer of funds, document the process. What else is it that you are expecting to receive?

That said, if a transaction goes wrong, then your legal recourse in other countries may vary.

Most USA cruising boats are Federally Documented. This makes for an easy transaction. The Owner literally just completes the BOS and the deal is effectively done...just follow thru processes to be completed.

If you buy a boat that is registered in another country, then it all depends the laws of that country and can get protracted if documents need to be shipped around internationally.

Hire a Documentation Service and they can handle the entire process for you.
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Old 26-03-2021, 17:59   #3
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pirate Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

You could do what I did for a private sale in St Marten if your worried about your money...
Did it through a Broker and let them haggle about how the commission was split between him and the representive..
They settled on 2.5% each which came out of the owners price..
Oh.. and the broker handled the de-registration from the French registry.
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Old 04-04-2021, 16:41   #4
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Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
If buying a Federally Documented vessel in the USA its the same...you only get a Bill of Sale. That BOS is then used to change the name of the registered owner. The process for State Registered vessels is similar, but varies by State.

If you buy a USA Federally Registed vessel that happens to be in a non-USA country the process is essentially the same. Some local laws may also come into play, but usually not.

The BOS, and sales contract, and transfer of funds, document the process. What else is it that you are expecting to receive?

That said, if a transaction goes wrong, then your legal recourse in other countries may vary.

Most USA cruising boats are Federally Documented. This makes for an easy transaction. The Owner literally just completes the BOS and the deal is effectively done...just follow thru processes to be completed.

If you buy a boat that is registered in another country, then it all depends the laws of that country and can get protracted if documents need to be shipped around internationally.

Hire a Documentation Service and they can handle the entire process for you.


Itís not that Iím expecting anything else, but essentially Iím wiring money to a stranger and then hoping the rest of the process goes like itís supposed to. Iím sure itís fine in most cases but the broker has been a dumb ass the entire time so far. Iím not thinking either one of the boats down there are going to work out at this point so it may not matter. I think the documentation service would be a good option, I didnít know that was an option. Thanks for the input.
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Old 04-04-2021, 16:43   #5
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Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
You could do what I did for a private sale in St Marten if your worried about your money...
Did it through a Broker and let them haggle about how the commission was split between him and the representive..
They settled on 2.5% each which came out of the owners price..
Oh.. and the broker handled the de-registration from the French registry.


Thatís an option too. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:33   #6
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Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Good Life View Post
Itís not that Iím expecting anything else, but essentially Iím wiring money to a stranger and then hoping the rest of the process goes like itís supposed to. Iím sure itís fine in most cases but the broker has been a dumb ass the entire time so far. Iím not thinking either one of the boats down there are going to work out at this point so it may not matter. I think the documentation service would be a good option, I didnít know that was an option. Thanks for the input.
In the end thats the nature of buying a boat...pay and hope it all works out and that you didnt just buy a big problem.

But, a good documentation service knows the drill and should give you some peace of mind, plus increase the odds that it will work out.

Do not rely on any Broker, they do not represent YOU. Whereas the Doco Service is working for you.

I assume you are a USA Citizen? If so, buying a USA Documented vessel greatly simplifies things and speeds up the process. Whereas a boat registered in another country will usually need to be removed from registry there, registered to you somewhere else, and the whole deal taking place in yet another country(s). This can take some time.

I got stuck in Martinique once waiting on paperwork for a boat I was going to deliver...for almost a month. It was horrible, beautiful full service marina in the Carib, French bread, food, wine every day...mostly paid for by the buyer...oh the horror!!!
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Old 05-04-2021, 11:58   #7
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Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

Haha! The two boats I was ready to buy were both flagged in other countries. Ive found the best deals on this side of the pond to be in the Caribbean. If itís in the states it adds about 30% compared to the carribean. But, neither one is going to work out. Iíll find one one of these days.
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Old 05-04-2021, 12:18   #8
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Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

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Originally Posted by The Good Life View Post
So I’m looking at buying a boat in the Caribbean. I’m use to doing business in the states with titles but it seems as though they only use bill of sales which scares me. I’m nervous about wiring a bunch of money to an island and only getting a bill of sale. I feel like that is risky. What are your thoughts/experiences?
Has the boat been titled? By the way, USCG documentation is just a Federal form of titling, albeit also avails the vessel USA nationality / flagging.

If so, where?

One can obtain an abstract of the title from the titling authority so as to know if there are any liens posted to the vessel.

The BOS provides written evidence of a transfer of ownership, [not proof of ownership mind you].

The BOS does NOT provide for clearance of any or all liens associated with the vessel.

Title will NOT be transferred by a titling authority with out written release of any and all liens associated with the vessel. Your BOS will not convey title if there is lien outstanding.

Depending on which government agency has titled the vessel, one may only need a BOS to transfer title, but with others one may need to have the title document itself executed as to a transfer of title and the title document will then need to be surrendered to obtain new title.

So determine the titling of the vessel and research how that titling agency avails transfer of title [release from its registry].

Then determine under which titling authority you wish to have your new to you boat titled with and learn the rules for having your vessel titled to you.

Do this before you exchange any monetary consideration.

Make as a condition of your offer that title has to be conveyed free and clear of all encumbrances. If title is not transferred free and clear then you can revoke your offer and have the deposit returned to you.

Make any and all liens associated with the vessel that predate your purchase to be the sole liability of the seller. The seller must represent and warrant and guarantee free and clear title.
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Old 05-04-2021, 12:54   #9
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Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

FYI:

As many of the yachts sold in the caribean are built outside of the US an import duty of 1.5% of the yacht’s value, based on the sales price, will be due when it reaches US waters. US waters include the territory of Puerto Rico, but not the USVI.

A boat can be registered or US Coast Guard documented yet never have been to US waters. Therefore import duty would still be due.

Sales tax is due to your local state, and is based on the value of the sale.

Recommend the use of an import agent to streamline the process with US customs for the import duty payment.

One should investigate the duty and VAT rules of the jurisdiction of which one is intending to purchase so as to ascertain what taxes may be due by the seller or the buyer.

All the best. Good luck with your new boat.
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Old 05-04-2021, 13:44   #10
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Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

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Originally Posted by The Good Life View Post
Iím use to doing business in the states with titles
Not all US States title vessels.

States That Do Not Require Titles

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.

The states of Mississippi and Idaho are "optional titling states," allowing boat owners to choose for themselves.
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Old 05-04-2021, 15:08   #11
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Re: Buying a boat in the Caribbean.

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Not all US States title vessels.

States That Do Not Require Titles

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.

The states of Mississippi and Idaho are "optional titling states," allowing boat owners to choose for themselves.


Vessels that are not titled carry a higher burden of risk as to encumbrances on the asset, and a lack of recordation of claimed ownership. Similar say to not having clarity of title of a vehicle or of real estate [land, homes, buildings]. Always a considerable degree of worry when title is not readily traceable from manufacturer / builder to most recent seller.
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