Photo: In Trinidad...
A 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) is charged on
most goods, ser vices, and consumable items.
This includes items purchased in grocery stores,
hardware stores, chandleries, fabric shops, etc.
A yachtsman is exempt from paying VAT in the
1. When a business supplies materials and uses
these materials to make repairs; both the
labour charge and the product supplied can
be VAT-free. Conversely, if a party other than
the one conducting the repairs supplies the
product then the VAT must be charged for
2. The goods are imported directly to the vessel
and consigned as Yacht-in-Transit (see Chapter
2). The Captain/Owner of the yacht must
usually be present to clear the goods through
3. When a cruiser buys a case of Rum (for
example), the vendor prepares an export
document known as a shipping bill, which
must be presented to customs at the time of
departure from the country. Once cleared
out, the goods are physically brought on board
under the supervision and approval of the
customs officer at which time the documents
are stamped signifying that the vessel has left
the country with the goods in question.
4. It is important to note that there are no
provisions to get blanket VAT exemptions for
foreign flag recreational vessels.
So...you need to work with a yard or chandlery there closely to get the best results. The site:
and the weekly newspaper "the Boca" which is linked there are invaluable sources of information for Trinidad and particularly Chaguramas where virtually all boat work is done. Make contact with some of the yards and get your ducks in a row well in advance or else it will cost a lot of $$ to clear customs with stuff!! I second the notion of St. Martin being a better place to get stuff in and out of so would suggest you minimally equip in Trini and sail north to get the rest of the work/equipment done.
Further I would warn you strongly that a lot of hurricane IVAN boats have been fixed up in Trini and are now on the market as regular used boats. Buyer beware!!!! If I was buying a boat there I would FLY in a surveyor.