Join Date: Jul 2002
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Castan and the group:
This thread seems to be roaming around quite a bit, with suggestions being offered based on terrorism threats, cost, legalities, citizenship and more. Quite a realistic portrayal of the realities of cruising, IMO, as things outside the U.S. are far more ''grey'' than they are black & white. And sometimes, they can be the most ambiguous in the most rule-bound of countries - which is a fair description of the EU environment, e.g.
Castan, you''re making a decision you''ll live with for some time so I''m not sure any BB posting (mine or any other) is where you should be seeking your info. Perhaps you should talk with a helpful new boat broker who deals with this issue all the time when selling upscale boats to customers just like yourselves: not tied down to the U.S., perhaps of dual citizenship, and who wish to to do something other than walk over to the local Tax Collector''s Office. A knowledgeable broker will know far more than any of us possibly can, as they wrestle with this many times each year. (You might seek some referrals from fellow [new] boat owners).
However, it would be helpful to seek that advice while armed with some basic info:
1. You seem focused on your ability to leave the U.S., thereby wondering why you need be registered anywhere. As I tried to point out earlier, the world''s view of your boat -ultimately - won''t be the same. Fight it or not, you need to make a choice or one will be made for you. And as you make that choice, examine what obligations you have re: equipping and operating the boat under that country''s flag. (As one example, also mentioned above, putting a British flag on your boat obligates you to things; wouldn''t it make sense to know what they are?)
2. Yachtsman are far more ''targeted'' by virtue of being viewed as ''rich yachties'' in the first place, the type of boat they have and where they choose to cruise than by their flag. One of the fortunate facts about cruising is that most people in the world can and do distinguish between we Americans as a ''people'' and the U.S. as a country. But if you have a concern, simply don''t stick your flag up in the air if you sit in a port you think will be unfriendly to your flag; that''s always an option. (And why folks would think a Red Duster is a generally safe flag to fly these days escapes me...)
3. Your boat can be ''owned'' and therefore registered/documented in the name of a legal entity or in the name of one or both of you. Since you really should have wills and powers of attorney to begin with, especially so if cruising offshore, your individual financial equity in the boat can be protected outside probate via wills...which means registration can be done based on overall cost and simplicity vs. just based on your different citizenships.
4. Whether all of this is more or less important is a function of where you realistically plan on cruising. Based on a lot of different sources, I don''t see the form of registration/documentation of a boat to make any significant difference for the vast majority of the cruising venues visited by yachts today. If you plan to visit the Middle East or Indonesian Waters e.g., that may be a different story...but if your plans - realistically - are more typical (SoPac, C America & Caribbean, W Europe, the Med), your risks are unlikely to come from registration decisions UNLESS you head out with the vessel unregistered. At that point, you''re fair game and you''ll be had by someone, somewhere with little to say about it.
I''m sympathetic to the fact that this isn''t an easy issue to address but getting frustrated about it isn''t going to help much. Look at it as one simple introduction to cruising, which is what it is. The further afield you go, the more of these that will surface. The trick is to keep it in perspective and realize its just one small piece of an overall rewarding lifestyle.