Canadian Buying, Reg, in U.S. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-16-2011 Thread Starter
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Canadian Buying, Reg, in U.S.

I'm buying a boat as a liveaboard and found a few options in the southern states. My plan is to travel down and inspect the boats and hopefully purchase. I have many offers for a residence so an address wouldn't be a problem. What other steps would be involved as I'm still a Canadian citizen.

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post #2 of 12 Old 11-16-2011
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Each state will vary a little, of course. I don't think it matters, as it pertains to being Canadian. Check with the local DMV (Dept. Motor Vehicles) office wherever you purchase said boat and they'll get you through it. In Florida, a DL isn't even required to own a vehicle. Odds are, whoever you purchase the boat from will be in the know as it pertains to their state's regs.
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-16-2011 Thread Starter
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What are the laws down there for boating license, required insurance...etc.
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-16-2011
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Rick, you'll have to get a state licence if you plan to register the boat in the US. You cannot get Coast Guard Documented which is only available to US citizens. You can get the boat registered in Canada through the Ministry of Transport but you may have to pay PST and GST or HST depending on where you live. If you plan to use the boat mainly in the US, licence it there as it will save a lot of hassles because you will not need a cruising permit and having to phone and report your movements. I don't know how much you plan to spend but you can get a boat broker to assist you with the purchase. The broker gets paid by the seller and in Florida seller/buyer brokers split the fee 50/50. Your broker will help you with the registration and other details like surveys.
You can get insurance no matter where it's registered or licenced. I have mine through BoatUS. You just need a US address. There are Canadian companies who will insure you. One I know of is Bayside Insurance in Ajax, On.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-16-2011
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You should contact US Immigration, or at least view their website, regarding the rules applying to entering US. My understanding is if you plan to 'residence' there you will need to comply with the rules. On the other hand, if you are merely a tourist, it is different, but you will need to declare when you intend to return (return air ticket typically). The days of slipping over the border to stay there are long gone . . . do your homework in depth first, rather than risk being deported and banned from future entry. Not intended to be alarming, but get it right so your dreams aren't shattered.
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-16-2011 Thread Starter
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Getting across the border has never been an issue, went to Cleveland last year with no ID, no problems at the border, just a few questions. I'm waiting on my passport cause that's all I'll need to obtain a license in the states. As for an address, have that, I think all I need to worry about is checking back into Canada every six months to still claim permanent residence/citizen here.
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post #7 of 12 Old 11-17-2011
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Definitely check immigration. I believe visitor visa, what you get on entry as Canadian, only allows six months out of 12.
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-17-2011
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As far as "boating license" in Florida, the only requirement for Boater Safety applies to those born after Jan 1, 1988. For driver's license, you need your Canadian birth certificate and passport, plus proof of residency (two items I think) and your current Canadian DL, of course.
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-17-2011
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You can buy the boat in the US and register it in Canada (federally) without having to pay Canadian taxes (HST or whatever it is where you live). The taxes are only payable when you physically import the vessel. The majority of Canadian long-distance cruisers have boats that have never been to Canada and likely never will. If you are Canadian registered you can only get a cruising permit for one year (unless you have a residency visa), then you have to take the boat out of the US for at least 15 days before you can get a new permit. Depending on where you are, this could be the Bahamas or Mexico for example.

In most US states you have to pay sales tax if you register within the state (RI is the obvious exception - it is sort of like the Liberia of US states; you don't have to live in the state to register there, just indicate where in the state you would use the boat (from time to time). It is my understanding that most states will still ding you for sales tax and possibly property tax if you are resident in the state for too long even if you are registered in a different state - don't think this would apply to foreign registry.

It is complicated.

Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-17-2011
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"Rick, you'll have to get a state licence"
ebs, that must be a slip of the tongue. Most states have no requirement for a boat "license", just boat registration. Some states require a boating education card or safety certification--but AFAIK those are still a small minority, and it is just a safety certification from a half-day or online course, about $50. Many also grandfather older boaters or exempt engineless boats.
Or has licensing become suddenly popular this year?
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