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Old 10-26-2010
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Documentation / Licence required in USA waters?

Hello all, I am new to Sailnet. Can Anyone tell me what licence and documentation I would require to sail in US waters. I am a Brit and am looking at buying a yacht in USA, sailing up and down the east coast and the Carribean for a few months then sailing across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Any help and advice will be gratefully received.
Regards to all, Bluesky60
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Old 10-26-2010
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Laws differ by state but in most adults won't need any special license for boating, just the documentation you need to legally be here (passport, visa, etc). In Florida anyone born before 88 needs no license to boat, born after 88 requires the completion of a safe boating course.
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Old 10-26-2010
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The licenses and documents you require depend upon the flag of the boat. If the boat is US documented (in which case you would need to be a LPR or US citizen) then things will be easy as you won´t need a license to operate the boat. If you don´t have citizenship or a green card, you could register the boat with a UK or red ensign flag and, again, you won´t need a license to operate the boat. You would need station licenses for VHF, UHF and would need to get a SRC or LRC certificate, but that would be it.
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For non comercial purposes there are not any federal requirements, some states may require a safety course, but you would have to check each state individually. We don't have any day skipper requirements or such, it's pretty much if you can afford the payments you can sail the boat.
The boat would have to be registered somewhere whether in the US or some other country.
For commercial purposes you would need an OUPV, "six pack" license, full masters tickets are limited to US citizens only. I'm not sure but I almost remember some friends of mine saying that there is also a form you would need to export a boat from the US, but I may be mistaken.
Kind Regards,
UR
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Zanshin—

ONLY US CITIZENS can USCG document a boat. Legal Permanent Residents DO NOT HAVE THE PRIVILEGE of doing so. The boat must be majority owned by a US CITIZEN. A Green Card holder won't cut it.

Since the OP is a Brit national, he would be best off registering the boat in the UK or possibly the BVIs. He would probably be required to meet whatever the UK or BVI requires for licensing and such, since the boat is flagged there.

He would also need to get a cruising permit for the US waters, since he will be a foreign flagged vessel.

He may be required to pay sales tax on the boat, depending on the state it is purchased it.
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Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
The licenses and documents you require depend upon the flag of the boat. If the boat is US documented (in which case you would need to be a LPR or US citizen) then things will be easy as you won´t need a license to operate the boat. If you don´t have citizenship or a green card, you could register the boat with a UK or red ensign flag and, again, you won´t need a license to operate the boat. You would need station licenses for VHF, UHF and would need to get a SRC or LRC certificate, but that would be it.
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Smile Documentation / Licence required in USA waters

Thanks very much for all of your replies. Most of the yachts I am looking at are based in Florida. I have quite a few years of sailing experience and have sailed to India, the Med and to Norway as well as around British waters but don't have any formal sailing qualifications, hence the question. It sounds like Florida has the same outlook regarding licencing as UK. I'm 60 years old so was definitely born before 1988! I'm a bit confused about the need to register the yacht in UK instead of USA. Is this an immediate requirement or can it wait until I return to UK? If it is an immediate requirement, where would I do this in Florida? Again, any help will be appreciated.
Kind regards to all, Bluesky60
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BlueSky—

You could state register the boat in Florida, but it would make far more sense, given your plans, to register the boat in the UK. Yes, it has to be done at the time of purchase or shortly thereafter. You should probably contact the UK government regarding the proper procedure for registering a boat that is bought in a foreign country.
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Bluesky,
Just having helped my wife go through the legal docs toward naturalization, I guess a question is, what are your goals? Are you just coming to visit a while and go home? Are you trying to make the US your new home? If so, there are a lot of docs and stuff you gotta do, which I am sure you are aware of. I guess though the answer is in you, what do you want to do???
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One the big issues will be bringing a boat that is NOT CE back to any EU home
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I only intend to cruise in USA for a few months then head back to Europe. I'm not sure what is meant by "CE" Tommays, can you enlighten me please?
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