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  #1  
Old 03-14-2008
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St Maarten

Hi all

I am considering a job in St Maarten and was wondering if anybody on sailnet has lived/worked there. If I were to go it would for a large part to be able to get back into sailing again, stay warm (I am sure sometimes to hot) and the money is very good to.

What are taxes like there?
If i import a boat (liveaboard) from USVI or BVI what are the restrictions/tax/duty on it?
Are there "safe" marinas for the hurricane season?
What are schools like and how much do they cost? I have a 10 yr old.
I hear that the cost of living is the same as where i live.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 03-14-2008
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From Alberta to St. Maarten?

I would think that was a no-brainer no matter WHAT the answers are to the questions you posed..........

I've vacationed there, wonderful place.........
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Old 03-14-2008
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Yes it's a no brainer but I still have to convince by wife that it is a good thing she worries about stuff like hurricanes.
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Old 03-14-2008
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Just mention that the only snow any of the locals have ever seen has been stuck to the inside surfaces of freezers. I liked both the French and Dutch sides of St. Martin; I even sailed through heavy weather from the BVI in order to get a baguette and a real espresso (luckily we have no Italians here who could argue that their espresso is better).

The place is a tourist destination, so prices are accordingly high. I recall driving by an expat foreign school but think it was a French one, not an English one. There is nowhere on the island that could be considered "safe" for boats (or humans, for that matter) during a direct hit by a hurricane.
As part of the EU the typical import restrictions will be that you will have to pay the appropriate VAT if your boat is to remain in St. Martin for over a year, but a quick trip to another country (BVI/USVI) will usually reset the clock - you can get the exact details depending upon whether you stay in the Dutch or the French side.
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Old 03-14-2008
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I've got a condo under construction in St. Marten. We currently base our boat out of there in the Winter. The airport is a plus w/ direct flights to a lot of places. There is no yearly property tax or capital gains taxes but there is an income tax. It is difficult to become a permanent resident but take the ferry to St. Barth's once every 90 days to renew your visitation. I don't know about work permits - in the islands they can be difficult to get. The schools are Dutch government supported and higher education is paid for in Holland for residents. Check out the local government web sites for more information.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Simpson Bay Lagoon is a good hurricane hole (although they lost a lot of boats when they were directly hit by Hurricane Lenny (?) a number of years ago. Some of the people working in the yacht trades are live aboards who permanently moor their boats in the lagoon. The cost of living is comparable with the US, although you should expect to pay less for your heating bills.

I'll post a photo of the Lagoon. Most of the permanently moored boats are tucked in close to the hill (known as the "Witch's Tit") which is on the right side of the photo just above and to the left of the guy in the striped shirt.

One downside of leaving a boat in the Lagoon is that after a few weeks they grow beards, and after a few months they are connected to the bottom by the slime colony growning on the hull. Leave a boat in one spot long enough and you don't have to worry about hauling for a hurricane. That said, there are lots of yachts there and the tech services are first rate.

Where is your work? The lagoon is about 10 miles from Phillipsburg (sp?). My guess is that the schools are taught in English.
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Old 03-17-2008
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I spent a season working in the caribbean and i can assure you that when the locals call saint Maarten the friendly island the mean it.
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Old 03-17-2008
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TT,

I've only visited there on my boat, and so am a "tourist". It's one of the major, if not THE major, sailing centers in the eastern Caribbean. Antigua and BVI might argue the point.

You might be able to get a little of the local flavor from the Daily Herald newspaper: St. Maarten News - The Daily Herald Newspaper Online | St. Maarten-St. Martin | West Indies - Caribbean News
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Old 03-17-2008
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Later this year there is going to be a big change in St. Maarten.
The whole relationship with The Netherlands is going to be changed. As you might know, SXM is a part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.
The changes that are going to be implemented might change the taxation / residency rules.
Better check with the authorities.
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Old 03-18-2008
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Actually, only half the island is dutch, the other is French.
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