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GusMattos 08-25-2006 11:37 AM

Question about buying a 36’ outside of the USA. HELP!!!
I am from Brazil, but I have being living in Texas for 7 years…I love sailing and I am going to a big buy a sailboat pretty soon.

My question is:

Can I buy a boat outside of the USA (Brazil) and sail the boat back to the USA?
What kind of documentation do I need? Will USA accept a boat from another country?
What kind title work do I need?

Well any information will be much appreciated!!!

The Boats in Brazil are great and I have being looking into a 36’ brand new for less of half price for the same boats in the USA.

What do y'all think about that?
Thank you,

sailingdog 08-25-2006 12:06 PM

I don't see why you couldn't buy a boat in Brazil and bring it back. You will probably have to pay import duties, as well as register the boat in Brazil with the proper paperwork, and then re-register or document the boat in the United States when you bring it back.

As for paperwork or documentation, you might need to talk to a lawyer or boat broker about that.

pigslo 08-25-2006 03:17 PM

A boat cannot be documented in the United States unless the owner is an American citizen.

hellosailor 08-25-2006 03:30 PM

Gus, a lot will depend on your citizenship status. If you are not a US citizen you cannot document the boat, but you probably can get a Texas state motor vehicle registration for it. You'll need to ask Texas about that, and ask them about how to bring it into Texas as well. A Texas state registration is probably required if you are residing in Texas and the boat is in Texas' water for more than 30 days, all states have similar rules.

The other option is to title in in Brazil and do whatever is necessary there, then bring it in under a visiting status--but IIRC that would limit you to one or two years, the same as any other alien cruiser who wanted to visit in the US.

So, your visa staus, residency and citizenship are going to be the criteria and those will define which options you have for it. No, you can't just "bring it in", since even for Texas registration, you'll probably have to provide previous evidence of good title and for a post-1972 boat that will probably mean some kind of title work from Brazil.

I'd call or email the appropriate parties to get the direct facts, and then before going out for the boat, send them letters and ask for a WRITTEN reply so you "have it in writing" before you actually have to do the paperwork.

sailingdog 08-25-2006 03:39 PM

True, USCG documentation is only available to US citizens. Getting the requirements in writing, preferably from a government official, is probaly a good idea.

GusMattos 08-27-2006 08:33 PM


Originally Posted by pigslo
A boat cannot be documented in the United States unless the owner is an American citizen.

I have a G. wife is a citizen tho.

GusMattos 08-27-2006 08:35 PM

Thank you all!!!
Great Place!!!

sailingdog 08-27-2006 09:28 PM

Well, then the boat could be documented by your wife.

sidiag 08-28-2006 11:31 AM

Try here (USCG)

and/or here (this is the home page)

sailingfool 08-28-2006 12:17 PM

54 Attachment(s)
Good luck on understanding US documentation rules. Being a US citizen is one requirement, another for new documentation is establishing a validated trail of ownership back to the builder. This trail may be difficult or impossible to create if a vessel has changed hands a number of times or if the builder is defunct. My suggestion would be to talk ($$) to people who specialize in documentation services found at

USCG documentation may be a requirement for financing and/or insurance, depending on the where you live and how the vessel is to be used.

A 36 foot vessel on the Atlantic willl get very small, very quickly. Based on your questions, you sound new to the game, you might want to get some experience before considering a trip back from Latin America. Should you proceed, I'd suggest looking for a US vessel for sale in Latin America, already documented. Sometimes cruisers get half way and decide that's enough... and usually the seller is quite eager.

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