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post #25 of Old 01-21-2010
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Location: Annapolis, MD
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More on the Offshore flag

You are correct that you must take the vessel to a foreign port and make entry in that foreign port before coming back to the US where you make entry again. Only then can your cruising permit be renewed.

Everyone has a different situation. A month or two ago I helped a client who bought a 60 foot fishing vessel. The client has a captain and was pleased to save the tens of thousands in tax. I have another client who has a yacht in the 100-125 foot range, which has a full crew of four. They have placed the vessel in the Charter industry and outsourced the management and charter of the vessel to a third party. Yet another client who has a fifty foot boat for private use only. I also have plenty of clients I steer away from the offshore flag because it is no right for them.

People for whom the foreign flag is often appropriate include: those placing the vessel into charter in order to defray ownership costs, and those who wish to use their vessel in Maine, Massachusetts, Florida, or anywhere else near a foreign port. One group that I see an offshore flag being good for are the folks who are seasonal and move the boat north or south based upon the season. They will take the boat somewhere and fly in to use it. We get quite of few of these types of people who transit the Chesapeake Bay yearly. (Sometimes it is just the captain moving the boat and sometimes it is the owner.) The mid Atlantic owners can make a run to Bermuda which is not that far away.

Every offshore flagged vessel or person who develops an annual crusing plan to legally avoid unnessecary taxation should continue thier relationship with thier attorney and have a planning contact at least once per year. If that part of the service is not offered then look for a new counsel.

Todd Lochner
Proctor in Admiralty
Lochner Law Firm, P.C.
30 C West Street Phone: (443) 716-4400
Annapolis, Maryland 21401 Fax: (443) 716-4405
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