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Old 06-05-2024, 14:30   #1
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Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

My first post!

My wife and I live in Colorado & are planning to move to a catamaran in the next two years. I know FL is the center of the US boating universe, but also that NH has no sales tax.

We plan to rent out our CO house & rent an apartment somewhere on the east coast to begin the searching for the boat, attempting to find a great boat sometime in the subsequent two years.

Neither of us particularly want to live in FL (both have lived there before), but realize literally everything boating is there. (We did go to FLIBS in Oct).

I realize being out of the Hurricane box makes insurance way easier.
We do plan on a power catamaran, FWIW. Likely purchase price in the $800K range.

Have any of you done something like this?

Between insurance & sales tax, is it worth sucking up NH cold winters and longer flights to look at boats / visit boatyards, etc?

Or for the convience of all things necessary to kick off this new lifestyle, is it worth sucking up FL boat tax & heat/humidity just to be able to drive to go look at boats/boatyards/etc?
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Old 06-05-2024, 16:56   #2
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

First, you should understand that people say they are going to do this sort of thing all the time that don't have any experience, and they never do it because the reality is way harder and more expensive than they thought. Or worse, they do it and we have to encounter those people on the water.

So, you should brace yourself for a lot of push back from the community on this. Don't take it personally. Just listen to voices of experience. It's OK to go against that advice because a lot of it is cynical or just wrong. Indeed, if you listened to all of the advice from other sailors, you would never get out of bed because the floor isn't the right kind of floor and you will surely perish if you try to stand on it. But, you should hear the advice and try to get a clear non-romaniticised view of what you propose to do.

How much experience do you have on large boats? How much do you plan to actually sail, and how much do you plan to just live on the boat parked? What kind of sailing do you enjoy? How much maintenance do you plan to do do yourself, and how much do you plan to hire out? Do you want to surround yourself with a sailing community, or do you prefer solitude?

As to your question, there are plenty of places that are boating havens. There is nothing special about Florida, in that regard. In fact, I wouldn't even rank it that high, all things considered. Though, I would say that if you have no experience and are intent on doing it anyway ... yes, Florida is perfect ... go there.
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Old 06-05-2024, 17:11   #3
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

I wasn't expecting a quiz about the seamanship & navigation part, since I didn't ask that question, but since you brought it up:

I spent many years as a qualified Officer of the Deck in the Navy, and have years of experience on very large boats, including being a board certified Chief Nuclear Engineer. Once upon a time, I was also a whiz with a sextant & celestial navigation - a great backup! Nothing about seamanship, navigation, rules of the road, or systems & repairs concerns me. I even won a shiphandling competition back in my training days aboard a YP (108'). I am ignorant on the rules for entering other countries, but that's not what this question is about either.

As it's been a few years, I have some refreshing to do, so I plan to take a course to knock the rust chunks off & familiarize myself with these tiny little boats (40-55'), after which I'll do some chartering to further cement the re-learning (and ensure the wife is as set on this as she says she is)

Now - back to the question at hand:
I see that New Hampshire has no sales tax, use tax, or income tax. Both for this exercise (will save ~$60K in taxes) but also for future retirement income, it is starting to sound pretty good.

Anyone else with helpful information on the topic at hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foswick View Post
First, you should understand that people say they are going to do this sort of thing all the time that don't have any experience, and they never do it because the reality is way harder and more expensive than they thought. Or worse, they do it and we have to encounter those people on the water.

So, you should brace yourself for a lot of push back from the community on this. Don't take it personally. Just listen to voices of experience. It's OK to go against that advice because a lot of it is cynical or just wrong. Indeed, if you listened to all of the advice from other sailors, you would never get out of bed because the floor isn't the right kind of floor and you will surely perish if you try to stand on it. But, you should hear the advice and try to get a clear non-romaniticised view of what you propose to do.

How much experience do you have on large boats? How much do you plan to actually sail, and how much do you plan to just live on the boat parked? What kind of sailing do you enjoy? How much maintenance do you plan to do do yourself, and how much do you plan to hire out? Do you want to surround yourself with a sailing community, or do you prefer solitude?

As to your question, there are plenty of places that are boating havens. There is nothing special about Florida, in that regard. In fact, I wouldn't even rank it that high, all things considered. Though, I would say that if you have no experience and are intent on doing it anyway ... yes, Florida is perfect ... go there.
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Old 06-05-2024, 17:46   #4
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

You do not have a choice where you register the boat.

That is determined by what state you keep it in. Every state has rules (not all the same) about how long a boat can stay before it needs to be registered. A very few states do not require registration at all if you are a documented vessel. But they all have ways of collecting the taxes and fees.

In short, you can not legally register your boat in NH, and keep it indefinitely in FL. Or the other way round. Of course they might not catch you right way, but that might just make the ultimate accounting more painful.
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Old 06-05-2024, 18:01   #5
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

I defnitely don't plan to keep it in FL. We want to be North in the Summer & South (Bahamas) in the winter. Happy to stop by NH while we're up there. Don't plan to spend more than 30 days in any one location. (Definitely not getting a boat so we can live in a marina).

The only longer periods in any one location would be while getting it fitted out initially, and while any major repairs are needed along the way.

We would of course be residents of whichever state we choose.
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Old 06-05-2024, 18:32   #6
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

If your goal is to get a good deal, make it a nationwide search. Prices in Florida are low because many people gravitate there during retirement and then sell their boats, but the boats are in poor condition due to the tropical conditions and neglect. Prices in the PNW are low because many circumnavigations end there, but the boats are in poor condition due to heavy use. In the NE prices are higher but boats are lightly used due to the local nature of sailing there and the short seasons. In the Great Lakes boats are usually in good shape but prices are all over the place because the market is tiny.


You choose....
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Old 06-05-2024, 19:18   #7
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

Given the boats Iíve narrowed it down to, it may include more that just US based boats also.
Today I saw one in France & one in the BVI.

Havenít even begun to contemplate those transactions.

But in any event, it will be a total cost analysis including condition.
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Old 06-05-2024, 20:14   #8
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

As noted every state is different. Part of it is where you keep the boat. I purchased in California and was able to leagally be exempt for the Ca sales tax. I did have to get it out of the state in 90 days. I used Wenther law group in San Diego to ensure it was done properly. I have read that RI is friendly the mareine industry and you can get a break on the taxes there. Some people form a business in Delaware and register the boat as part of the business. Florida requires registration in 90 days. You may be able to register the boat in Colorado an not have to pay sales tax if the boat is not in the state. As you said you will be moving but where will you spend winter. I am not and expert on any of the tax ramifications so please do your research to make your decision.
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Old 06-05-2024, 21:55   #9
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DontWait View Post
I wasn't expecting a quiz ...
I asked the questions because they are relevant to where you might want to be. But, if you were just looking for tax advice that wasn't clear to me.

The answers to the questions you asked require some context. How can anyone give you a good answer about whether NH or FL is better if they do not understand what is important to you?

Based on your answers, I would suggest that you do not have enough experience to make an informed decision. It is premature for you to be thinking about tax strategies when you have no sailing experience with these "tiny little boats".
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Old 06-05-2024, 23:13   #10
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

I have an acquaintance who purchased a new boat in the $3m range and took delivery in Seattle. He's actually a Vermont resident. USCG documented. He spent the better part of 3-years cruising up/down the coast and this never fell under state registration or taxation requirements He eventually settled the boat in the Seattle area and paid Washington State sales tax and registration at the depreciated value of his then 3-year old boat.

An added wrinkle: I don't think it works to register the boat in a no/low tax state, then bring it to a taxable state without paying the additional tax. The "new" state will seek the difference in sales tax. How they know can tell is beyond me, but suffice to say that states with large boating communities are pretty savvy about games people play to avoid paying taxes. I'm sure there are some practical limits of how long they can claw back sales tax, but where there's a 5-6 figure tax bill hanging in the balance, states like Florida, California, and Washington are keen to collect if you spend enough time in their jurisdiction to be registered. I'm sure there are others.
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Old 07-05-2024, 01:39   #11
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

how many dolores you have. this is most important answer for you

if you have unlimited $ answer is easy by new from brand you think like.
this is best for you
https://www.yachtworld.com/yacht/202...on-51-9340167/
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Old 07-05-2024, 04:20   #12
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

Don't worry about buying the boat and paying sales tax in Florida. As long as you move the boat out of Florida within 90 days, you can get an exemption.

https://floridarevenue.com/Forms_lib...e/gt800005.pdf

https://floridarevenue.com/Forms_lib...t/gt500003.pdf
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Old 07-05-2024, 04:52   #13
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

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Originally Posted by Hoosiersailor View Post
Don't worry about buying the boat and paying sales tax in Florida. As long as you move the boat out of Florida within 90 days, you can get an exemption.

https://floridarevenue.com/Forms_lib...e/gt800005.pdf

https://floridarevenue.com/Forms_lib...t/gt500003.pdf
Thatís only if you buy through a broker and arenít a Florida resident. If purchased from an owner in Florida you owe tax the same day.
Florida caps the taxable value at $300k, so max tax owed would be around $18k.
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Old 07-05-2024, 05:15   #14
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

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Thatís only if you buy through a broker and arenít a Florida resident. If purchased from an owner in Florida you owe tax the same day.
Florida caps the taxable value at $300k, so max tax owed would be around $18k.
If the OP is buying an $800k power cat, there's a pretty good chance a broker will be involved....
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Old 07-05-2024, 05:30   #15
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Re: Best State to find, buy, register & outfit a boat in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosiersailor View Post
If the OP is buying an $800k power cat, there's a pretty good chance a broker will be involved....
Could be. And if heís buying an $800k power cat, having to pay $18k in taxes is swatting at gnats.
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