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post #2 of Old 04-09-2012
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Re: NZ/UK national buying older yacht in the USA

Originally Posted by milesinnz View Post

I've been a member of this community for a while now, but never posted.

I am in New Zealand and have been thinking for some time now, about buying a yacht on the West Coast of the US and maybe taking it back to the Pacific Islands and then at some stage to NZ.

I have been impressed by the support and help given by the members of this community.

I think I understand most of the issues involved. I have the practical skills in yacht construction and maintenance as well extensive sailing in European waters - but no big ocean crossings.

I was wondering what the predominance of Osmosis was on late 70's yachts of the like of the Islander 36.

Also my understanding is that if I am to avoid local purchase taxes the yacht has to be out of US waters within 30 days? This just seems too short a time to make sure the yacht is in good order and there is a decent weather window - very worrying.

What would be the advisability of taking the yacht South to Mexico as a shake down cruise but having somewhere where it could be hauled out of the water and worked on by myself in Mexico if this proves to be necessary?

I feel getting stuck in some expensive bureaucratic nightmare is more daunting than the sailing.

There is also the issue of the proper paper work for departing from the USA - would having the yacht registered under the UK flag (SSR) but purchased in the USA pose any additional problems?

All suggestions gratefully received....


I recently bought a CG docuented boat in the USA USVI and transferred it to SSR. You get a cert from the CG when you deregister it which you need.

Once you have the SSR you can apply for a cruising permit which allows you to keep the boat in US waters for one year. If you have a NZ passport this may not apply see more info here

You will need the B1/B2 visa.

If you buy through a broker they will do most of paper work but you will have to visit in person at times N.B. US gov. offices dealing with maritime matters are often NOT on the waterfront but miles inland. A real PITA.

ALSO DO NOT EXPECT ALL US GOV. OFFICIALS TO BE AWARE OF THE PROCEDURES EVEN IF IT IS THEIR JOB. Be patient and ask for a superior if they appear confused. The rules can be applied some what arbitrarily and there is overlap between state and federal rules at times.

having said that I had no problems other than a very stroppy officer who insisted that I was anchoring in the wrong place as his out of date paperwork gave my designated anchorage as being in anther part of the island. Part of the problem was I had not removed the registration letters from the bow.

My 78 boat had been epoxy coated below the water line.

Don't know about Mexico.

There are some really good deals to be had in the USA just now. Some very motivated sellers.
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