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Old 03-07-2012, 06:20 PM   #1
Rear Admiral
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 333
Default US vs OZ registration

We've just put Mico on the market as I believe we are also now the proud owners Antigua 44 in Malaysia. Been a weird week!

Mico has a set of new sails and looking spic n span with her new two pack respray and basically every bit of new electronic kit and gear you could think of - its all a bit sad - she's a darling of a boat but we want to move aboard full time and simply need the extra space.

So we would appreciate any advice from anyone concerning foreign purchasing. Our situation is this:

The new vessel is US registered and we want to keep it in Malaysia for the next 12 months and simply fly back and forth for holidays as work is pretty full on at present. Then we will import it into Oz, pay all the custom and duty and register it as an Australian flagged vessel.

If the present owners inform the US register that they no longer own it, I'm assuming that it's US registration will then be removed. Our question then is this:

As we will not be bringing it into OZ for another 10 - 12 months - what flag will it be flying under and does it make any difference?

Any thoughts - as this is all new territory for us

Fair winds,


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Old 03-08-2012, 04:17 AM   #2
redbopeep's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

Congrats on the new boat! Good luck on finding a new home for Mico as well.

The only folks I know who have done similar to what you are doing immediately registered the boat in their home country even though they weren't taking the boat "home" for some years. Of course, that made it such that they paid fees earlier rather than later. And, sales tax? Suspect your country will get you for that now or later either way.

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 03-08-2012, 05:49 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 333

Just had some good news from AMSA - Our national registra of ships. I can actually register the new vessel while it's in another country. A few forms and the usual fees but basically I can register from here in OZ, send up some rego stickers and the word 'Australia' to Malaysia. Get someone to apply them, take a pic and send it back. I'm then issued with an Australian registration. Of course - I'll still have to pay the 10% GST when I eventually bring it into OZ as per our usual Customs rules but apart from that - it's all looking good. For some reason I just never thought that Australia would allow you to register a foreign vessel before it actually got here. The guy was telling me that it happens a lot and many vessels never come into Australia at all.

One win - many more battles to go

I also have to track down the Coates Brothers who built the Antiguas after buying the moulds from CSY when they went under. I need a letter stating that the vessel was built in the US and used more than 35% US materials. If I get that, I wont have to pay another 5% import duty because of the US / OZ free trade agreement.

One win.

Which brings me to the next. How do we transfer money to a US account without being beaten to death in a back alley by the banks? Went into our bank today and they said sure - we can do that - we'd just take our cut basically 75% of the exchange rate

How have others handled this? Should I stuff it all in my socks and underwear and fly over to the US or is the US still accepting payment in potatoes and wool. In which case I'll send a sheep or two and a sack of King Edwards

Fair winds,

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:57 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Home Port: Darwin
Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,917

Hi Mico, I have just been through the whole thing. Bought a US flagged vessel, currently in San Carlos in Mexico, and arranged Australian registration, whilst touring Thailand on a motorbike. AMSA have been great and have supplied all information quickly and without fuss. I'm waiting for the final Certificate of Rego at the moment.

Mr Peter Baker of AMSA also gave me a link to Oz Customs, who have been equally helpful as far as the process for importing the boat is concerned. The only problems may arise where it takes too long for the delivery to take place, for it to be called a delivery. In that case they may assess the value of the boat as it arrives in Australia. So if you bought nice and cheap, and spent a few dollars on upgrades you may have to pay GST on their assessment of its worth at the time of import and, you may not be allowed to claim the cost of delivery against the estimated value.*

I need to clarify this, but a normally unreliable source told me you can pay the import duties while the boat is still remote from Oz. Sounds a little implausible to me...but I will email Customs just in case.

* I understand this is somewhat discretionary and could be a very good reason therefore, to keep on your very best behaviour when dealing with them.
"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 08-10-2012, 08:52 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 333
Default Got Aussie Rego now :)

All done and dusted here. I'm holding our new Aussie registration and now awaiting the new ships licence and then the AMSA MMSI number.

We've decided to leave Australis in Borneo and just fly back and forth and explore the South China Seas bit by bit. 4th trip coming up at the end of this month and we'll head up to the Phillipines then perhaps across to Cambodia or just explore some of the islands in the middle. 8 weeks we are certainly looking forward to.

Mico our Alajuela 33 is looking all spruced up and on the market but we're not that concerned if she does'nt sell as its great to have a vessel back here in Oz we can take out on the weekend and extended trips.

You're right - AMSA are very helpful and great to deal with. The one additional agency you'll be seeing will be AQIS. I'd advise (if you have not done so already) to call them. While they are also very helpful their costs for checking an imported yacht - especially from the US for termites is simply gobbsmacking (and not in a nice way) They are targeting US vessels with a timber fit out and you'll have to pay to fly a doggy and its handlers up from Brisbane if you do not call in there. We calculated 5 - 10,000 AUS as they charge $95 per 15min x 2 handlers and gawd knows what the dog gets

So for now we'll fly the Aussie flag in Malaysia and avoid having to sell our left kidney to bring her home.

fair winds

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