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Old 12-02-2020, 19:40   #1
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Boot Ownership NON US citizen - buying a NON US boat - registration - taxes and so on

Hi all,

I am about to buy a sailboat. The purchase agreement has been signed by both parties and the survey will be the end of March.
I am a green card holder, and other than my 5-year-old son, there is no US citizen in the family, at least not yet.

Pretty early in our boat search, we were made aware by a broker that we cannot document a boat with the US coast guard since we are NOT US citizens. However, we were also told that that is not a problem. We should register the boat with the state where we intend to use and keep the boat, pay taxes there, and it will be OK. We were also told about the "Delaware Option," but I am not really a friend of this.

So far, this doesn't sound pretty complicated. We are living in PA, and the boat will be kept and sailed in the upper Chesapeake Bay for about 2-3 years before we can take it on longer trips. The vessel is currently located in CT, after the final purchase we would bring the boat to the Chesapeake Bay and register it with the State of Maryland, pay the taxes there and we should be OK.

However, I am not sure if I am missing an important something?

What could be complicating the situation is that the boat is actually from England, the owner is British Citizen and the boat I assume is registered in Britain. The boat is probably on cruising permit in the US, but I am not sure. The broker told us the owner/seller would pay for all the import duties before we finally buy the boat.

The longer I think about this; the more my so far warm and fuzzy feeling goes away. But since I have no experience and the broker didn't mention any potential problems, I don't really know what could go wrong here. I just have that feeling that there is a potential for problems.
Should I consider to hire a company specialized in Marine Documentation to support me in the process?

While I cannot document the boat with the USCG, what will be my proof of ownership? Can I get a title similar to the ones I get for a car?

Does the vessel have to be deregistered in Britain? How can I get proof of that? I bet I may need that later.

What else do I miss here?

I appreciate all your input.

Thanks,
Christoph
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Old 12-02-2020, 19:48   #2
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Re: Boot Ownership NON US citizen - buying a NON US boat - registration - taxes and s

Quote:
Originally Posted by miraculix View Post
Hi all,

I am about to buy a sailboat. The purchase agreement has been signed by both parties and the survey will be the end of March.
I am a green card holder, and other than my 5-year-old son, there is no US citizen in the family, at least not yet.

Pretty early in our boat search, we were made aware by a broker that we cannot document a boat with the US coast guard since we are NOT US citizens. However, we were also told that that is not a problem. We should register the boat with the state where we intend to use and keep the boat, pay taxes there, and it will be OK. We were also told about the "Delaware Option," but I am not really a friend of this.

So far, this doesn't sound pretty complicated. We are living in PA, and the boat will be kept and sailed in the upper Chesapeake Bay for about 2-3 years before we can take it on longer trips. The vessel is currently located in CT, after the final purchase we would bring the boat to the Chesapeake Bay and register it with the State of Maryland, pay the taxes there and we should be OK.

However, I am not sure if I am missing an important something?

What could be complicating the situation is that the boat is actually from England, the owner is British Citizen and the boat I assume is registered in Britain. The boat is probably on cruising permit in the US, but I am not sure. The broker told us the owner/seller would pay for all the import duties before we finally buy the boat.

The longer I think about this; the more my so far warm and fuzzy feeling goes away. But since I have no experience and the broker didn't mention any potential problems, I don't really know what could go wrong here. I just have that feeling that there is a potential for problems.
Should I consider to hire a company specialized in Marine Documentation to support me in the process?

While I cannot document the boat with the USCG, what will be my proof of ownership? Can I get a title similar to the ones I get for a car?

Does the vessel have to be deregistered in Britain? How can I get proof of that? I bet I may need that later.

What else do I miss here?

I appreciate all your input.

Thanks,
Christoph
The broker should be able to help put you in touch with an agent who can handle all the details.

I am not sure exactly HOW to transfer title from the current owner to the state of Maryland, but this is something that happens all the time.

You're approach is correct, and you have the basics, but in any legal paperchase like this one the devil is in the details. Somebody how has done it before and knows the details is an invaluable resource. With enough research you CAN (probably) do it yourself, but your time has value...
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Old 12-02-2020, 20:12   #3
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Re: Boot Ownership NON US citizen - buying a NON US boat - registration - taxes and s

This isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds, but there are a lot of details to watch.
  1. Entry Summary - legally you can’t even agree to buy the boat until it is imported and duty is paid. Since this is hard to prove, and the seller’s problem don’t worry about it too much. If the broker and seller say they will deal with the importing, then do not hand over any money until they have provided you with CBP (Customs and Border Protection) form 7501 - Entry Summary. This is your proof that the boat was properly imported. If you receive a complete 7501 then you know they have paid duties, filed EPA paperwork, etc.
  2. Bill of Sale - Maryland simply requires a bill of sale in order to register and title the boat. I’d recommend downloading the USCG form even though you won’t be documenting the boat. It just provides a good/recognized bill of sale.
  3. Deregister - the boat should be taken off the UK register. The USCG would require it for documentation, MD probably won’t even know to ask (my experience with state registration departments, YMMV).
  4. MD Register scroll down to the section on used boats that have “another state” title.

https://multihullcompany.com/article...-and-pay-duty/
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Old 14-02-2020, 07:46   #4
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Re: Boot Ownership NON US citizen - buying a NON US boat - registration - taxes and s

Hello,

@Dsanduril

Thank you for your comprehensive answer. That was really helpful.

Christoph
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