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Purchasing a boat from Canada and importing to the US

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Sep 19, 2011
53
Beneteau Oceanis 423 Rhode Island
Hi Everyone,

I am looking at purchasing a boat that is located in Annapolis, but the flag of registry is Canada. I believe the boat is manufactured in the US by Beneteau.

Can some one help me plan for this? I will be registering my boat in Rhode Island. What steps would I need to do associated with US Customs.

thanks
 
May 24, 2004
6,585
CC 30 South Florida
Check and see what are the tax implications and consider maintaining the Canadian ownership registry if it would pose a significant advantage. The state of Rhode Island is only likely to care that you register the boat and pay the decal yearly fees.
 
Sep 19, 2011
53
Beneteau Oceanis 423 Rhode Island
Canada needs their 13% - 15% provincial tax for any boat purchased and registered in a Canadian province. If I am not mistaken registration would be tied to country of residence also.

I am not so concerned about RI, but more about the US border, or what the local port of entry will require.
 
Jul 28, 2010
914
Boston Whaler Montauk New Orleans
Feb 6, 2009
257
Hunter 40 Camano Island
I have seen this done to take advantage of the exchange rate.

there are a few pitfalls, especially if the hull already has a convoluted title through the NVDC

However, If you take posessions in international waters, and take the boat back to the US, you absolutely must have with you fully signed and detailed transaction documents and bills of sale that exactly match the names and IDs of the boat at each point in its past. Any slight difference in the history of the boat can make getting current US Coast guard registration a tedious process.

customs/Homeland security can provide you with the necessary forms required on bringing the vessel in, but I have seen that is much easier than getting corrected docs through the NVDC.

One of the things that will be difficult to document is the previous history. The us NVDC will have record if the boat started as a US vessel, however if it was exported to a dealer in Canada..........who knows. I saw an american built boat, originally documented, expired, sold to canada, expired, registered in province, Canadian national registration reapplied for, and through all this and errors in the Hull ID and first two vessel owners name. Then came the difficulty of deregistering a boat when you are not a canadian, it seems only the previous owner can do that in canada. (another stumbling block) and of course we cannot have registration current in 2 countries now could we????

When it came time to re-import that boat back from canada..... well it can be fun.

IT can be a trying process. IF it was not for the professionalism and can do attiide of the NVDC, that boat would probably be still sitting in Western Canada..

Talk with the current owners, Get copies of all current documents, if not current at this time, make the registration current before the sale. Dont skip steps. Dont let anyone die during the process.

have fun.
 
Jan 22, 2008
1,483
Hunter 37 C sloop Punta Gorda FL
Not necessary to Doccument your boat with the NVDC. Nice for the bank if you can, but difficult to dredge up all that history.
 
Dec 3, 2003
544
None None Rochester, NY
I bought my used Hunter 33.5 from a broker in Toronto, Canada. I live in Rochester, NY and also border Lake Ontario. I paid the broker an agreed upon price. They did not charge tax because the boat was leaving Canada. When I sailed it to Rochester, New York, I had to call the US Customs folks and explain that I bought a US made boat and sailed it back to the US from Canada. There was no problem doing this. I then had to register the boat with the NY Department of Motor Vehicles. They collected sales tax on the amount I paid.

I then documented the boat myself with the US Coast Guard. I filled out their forms and mailed it in. The documentation certificate was sent to me a couple of months later as I recall.
 
Sep 19, 2011
53
Beneteau Oceanis 423 Rhode Island
Very interesting. Another twist here is I cannot document the boat with the US coastguard. I am a Canadian citizen and therefore must register the boat in a state. I am living and working in New England

So the boat is sitting on the hard in Annapolis. I am planning to launch and sail her to Rhode Island and keep her near my home.

Appreciate everyone's thoughts here. I have not placed the offer on the boat yet
 
May 16, 2007
1,509
Boatless ! 26 Ottawa, Ontario
Very interesting. Another twist here is I cannot document the boat with the US coastguard. I am a Canadian citizen and therefore must register the boat in a state. I am living and working in New England

So the boat is sitting on the hard in Annapolis. I am planning to launch and sail her to Rhode Island and keep her near my home.

Appreciate everyone's thoughts here. I have not placed the offer on the boat yet
You should be able to just transfer the Canadian registration to your name with proper bill of sale. Then apply for a cruising permit for the USA. As a foreign flagged vessel sailing under a valid cruising permit state registration or licence should not be required. At least it works that way in Florida for many Canadian boats.

Your state of residence may force you to pay sales taxes there.

You do pay any Canadian taxes unless you decide to bring the boat back to Canada and import it. Buying a Canadian documented boat will be the easier for you than buying a US documented vessel (unless you also have US citizenship).

If the boat is listed with a broker in the US you will need to use one that knows how to do a "high seas closing". It requires a newspaper, GPS and wire transfer while offshore with notarized photographs to prove it all.

If you need more details PM me, I can give you the name of a broker familiar with doing this type of transaction.

Bob
 
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