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Old 05-25-2009, 02:29 PM   #1
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Hya salty friends,

As my knowledge of sailboat options and the market progresses (slowly), I have a bureaucratic question: are there restrictions or particular requirements for a foreigner (in this case a Brazilian) buying a sailboat in either Australia, USA or UK? In that case, could I retain the original country registration flag of origin or would I be required to re-flag it back home (don´t want to!)? Would keeping the original flag require me to bring the boat back to its country of origin on a regular basis for inspection/paperwork?

Also info on procedures adopted in other countries (eg South Africa) would be very interesting to know. Thank you very much!

José
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Old 05-26-2009, 03:42 AM   #2
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There are generally no restrictions on purchasing a boat in a different country from your home country. But there are tax considerations as both your home country and the place where you buy the boat normally want a "cut of the action." That is, you have to pay tax to one or the other - if your home country has any such tax, many smaller countries do not have such taxes or at least do not have the means to track your purchases.

Most countries require you to be a citizen of that country to be able to "register/document" the boat in a country other than your own. Offshore registrations / "documentation" is normally done through setting up a corporation in the "other" country and the corporation owns the boat and you own the corporation. Basically it gets complicated when you try to register/document your boat in a foreign country. And then you have the problem of the boat being from one country and your passport being from your home country when you check-in or out of a country you are visiting with the boat. This is not a major p problem for very wealthy people with very expensive boats as they have legions of lawyers to take care of the details. But for ordinary folk the cost and complexity are generally not worth it to try to register/document the boat in a country other than your own.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:32 AM   #3
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Just to add a little to the above; in the European Union a citizen of one Member State living in another Member State (called the Host State in EU-speak) may register his boat in either his owm Member State or the Host State.

You might find that other countries follow the same principal and permit resident foreign nationals to fly their flag.

If you want pure flag-of-conveniencee registration then I believe that the Cook Islands are the best place to look for this at the moment.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:49 AM   #4
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Other countries that have, in the past, been flag of convenience sources: *Turks & Caicos, Anguilla, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. *I believe that Anguilla still makes it easy to do this.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:11 PM   #5
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Thanks for these fast replies! :-)

To be sure I wasn´t actually thinking of 'flags of convenience' (though I must say Cook Islands sounds tasty, is it simple to register your boat there?) but simply hoping to (a) buy a decent boat in a decent country, much unlike what I have at home, and ( avoid the hassle of sailing it back here to do re-registration.

Is there much of a problem with arriving at a port with a boat registered in a different country from your passport? Never thought of it! Horrible times these of pretended border security ...

More thoughts/info much welcome!

Regards,

J.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:52 PM   #6
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Never having registered a boat anywhere but in my own country I have no experience of how to go about it but there are lawyers and agents who specialise in this. A web search should give you the information you need.

On the other hand, I have netered many countries on vessels which were registered in other countries than my own, both commercial vessels and pleasure craft and there was never a problem providing the ship's papers were in order. It is a very common practise.

Aye // Stephen
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