Noob purchasing and commandeering a sail boat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 167 Old 12-04-2011 Thread Starter
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Noob purchasing and commandeering a sail boat

Ahoy Captains,

I am a noob who is about to potentially get burned in a boat sale over $100,000. I have never sailed a boat bigger than 14ft, yet I'm buying a 40ft sail boat this winter/spring, possibly from an NY American dealer (I'm from Ontario). So any help you can give me is appreciated. I know this is what I want to do with my life, but I'm having some trouble locating the information I need. Here are some questions that I know I have: (I'm sure there's more I don't know that I have.)

1. After I purchase the boat, I'll be sailing it back to Burlington marina. Who should I contact in US Customs about paying duties? (Since they won't be stopping me at the border, as I'll be sailing across Lake Ontario back to Canada.)

2. What additional costs are incurred by purchasing a sail boat in the US and importing to Canada for permanent residency? I ask because I have found a similar boat in Canada that is slightly more expensive and I'm wondering if buying the US boat is not the better deal after all...

3. Where can I find a good sail boat surveyor to look at my prospective boat to tell me about anything that is wrong with it? Do you guys know any Canadian ones who would be willing to travel to New York with me and look at the boat?

4. Where/how should I go about finding someone to help me commission the boat and sail her across Lake Ontario in spring of 2012 (this spring)? I'm looking for someone who would do it for some good memories, a friendship, beer, and perhaps a small fee... My family is poor and I don't know anyone who owns a 40 ft boat who would be willing to help me sail it across Lake Ontario.

Thank you very much for any information, links, etc.. you can provide. I deeply appreciate it. My life kinda depends on me finding the right, accurate information. Because my heart is set on becoming a sail boat owner, a liveaboard, and a good skipper aswell.
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post #2 of 167 Old 12-04-2011
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What dealer are you going through? I assume one located on Lake Ontario? I would think they would have a lot of that information available to you, no?

Brad
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post #3 of 167 Old 12-04-2011 Thread Starter
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Thank you for your guidance.

Yes, the broker has told me there is no additional fee, just the HST and no duty to bring it to Ontario.

But I am doing my due diligence because it is in their interest to make it sound easier and cheaper than it is in real life (so as to close the sale).

I am reading every word I can find on the subject, and trying to find someone who has some 1st hand experience.

Does my plan seem like a good one to you?
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post #4 of 167 Old 12-04-2011
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It makes sense to me, do some homework now and avoid hassles later. I would try email or calling both Canadian and US Customs and simply ask what the requirements are and document their answers. Then if there is trouble later you can point to the information provided by the Canadian & US Governments. Good luck, man.

What kid of boat are you purchasing anyhow?

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Originally Posted by PsySailor View Post
Thank you for your guidance.

Yes, the broker has told me there is no additional fee, just the HST and no duty to bring it to Ontario.

But I am doing my due diligence because it is in their interest to make it sound easier and cheaper than it is in real life (so as to close the sale).

I am reading every word I can find on the subject, and trying to find someone who has some 1st hand experience.

Does my plan seem like a good one to you?

s/v KIVALO
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"Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester while loading his boat with gin.
WORK IS OVER-RATED
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post #5 of 167 Old 12-04-2011
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There are issues with a Canadian surveyor crossing the border to do work an American can do... probably not going to happen. There is a surveyor's society:

The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, Inc.® - (SAMS®)

You may find an accredited surveyor in the area you need.

You need not contact any American authorities vis a vis importing a boat to Canada. You are required to contact the Canadian Border Services immediately upon landing on Canadian soil (at a recognized port of entry) They will require you to go to a particular location (likely monitored by CCTV) and call them from there. Have the passports of all aboard in hand, they will ask you a number of questions and may or may not have you inspected. If they decide not to personally inspect the boat then you'll be given 3 days to pay duties (none if boat is North American built) and any applicable taxes at one of their offices. If you are immediately removing the vessel from the state you bought it you should not have to pay state taxes there (but this may vary, our experience is in WA state here in the PNW.)

This is a fairly painless procedure - don't recommend trying to understate the price paid to save a few bucks.. nowadays even they know about Yachtworld and Craigslists etc and so are more savvy about boat values than in the pre internet era...

In approximately half a dozen imports over a couple of years we were inspected on half the occasions.. the rest were phone exchanges only.

You must be arranging moorage for the new boat... try asking around at that facility for people willing/able/qualified to make that trip with you. If it's not a friend there will likely be some kind of fee.. and try to make sure the person is bonafide and will in fact be a help.

Shopping in the US provides a vastly greater selection, at least here in the west, which is probably the best aspect of it.. in addition with the dollar at near par the 'deals' are better than ever esp with the buyers' market that exists today. Since the US seems to be suffering more generally from the current economic situation than Canada there may be more distress sales south of the border.. You do need to factor in the costs related to travelling to these far locations to inspect the boat(s)... it adds up after a few fruitless trips...

All that said, though, I'd think Ontario should have a pretty extensive availability of suitable boats, and buying locally avoids all this issues with travel, distant surveyors & brokers, border crossings, etc etc...
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post #6 of 167 Old 12-04-2011 Thread Starter
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Great responses guys. Thanks for the information Faster, it sounds like you have a lot of experience in this area.

1 & 2. Sounds like I just have to double check that I don't have to pay any state taxes in NY as long as I am removing the boat immediately.

3. I will check out The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, Inc.® - (SAMS®) - Thank you!

4. Good idea, I should check around my home port for willing and able sailors.
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post #7 of 167 Old 12-04-2011
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Another point.... you'll need your bill of sale, of course, and a copy of the owner's US title.. they'll want to know it was his to sell.

By all means check out the boat that's nearby... and factor everything in before you make the final decision....

Ron

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post #8 of 167 Old 12-04-2011
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There are 2 major survey accredidation services, SAMS, as mentioned above and NAMS. You might want to look into both.

http://www.namsglobal.org/

Last edited by chuck53; 12-04-2011 at 05:15 PM.
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post #9 of 167 Old 12-04-2011
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I don't live in NY but I expect that a dealer in the State is required to collect the state (and County and town) sales taxes, regardless of if the buyer is a non-resident or not. I couldn't find a good reference for this but this link supports my assumption:
http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/memos/sales/m82_3_1s.pdf.

I think you either want to take delivery outside new York (if that avoids the tax) or but locally. The dealer certainly would know the ins and outs. I think a dealer is boxed in by the state for tax collection in a way that a private seller or a broker is not.

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post #10 of 167 Old 12-04-2011
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What's the boat ? and where ? I know most of the surveyors in NY and can hook you up with the good ones.

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Last edited by boatpoker; 12-04-2011 at 06:33 PM. Reason: addition
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