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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-30-2007 08:10 PM
sailingdog Otaga-

If liability and owning assets is really a problem or a worry for your wife, you should probably consider setting up a corporation in her name, and have the boat under the ownership of the corporation. That way, if she does have a malpractice suit, the boat is protected, as it isn't owned by her, but by the corporation.
01-29-2007 01:45 PM
Vasco Zanshin,

What I am saying is that it is possible for a non-citizen to document a vessel in the United States. I have seen it done, usually using a Delaware corporation. I cannot state it any clearer than that. Documentation has a specific meaning in the US and it is not state registration.
01-29-2007 01:11 PM
hellosailor Zanshin, meaning no disrespect I suggest there may bne some translation errors here, even if it is simply the old English-vs-American barrier. In the US when we speak of "registering" a boat that is ALWAYS referring to state registration, usually as a motor vehicle not especially as a boat.

We refer to USCG Documentation, never "registration", for the federal system that exists outside of state registrations.

There are, essentially, some 62 sets of laws that may be used regarding registration/documentation/titling of motor vehicles/vessels here. Fifty states, each of which has different laws, eleven (I believe) "insular possessions" or whatever the places like Guam and Puerto Rico are officially called these days, and then federal programs like USCG documentation.

For most of us it is less confusing, we deal with one state plus the national cap!

Rules for corporations will vary the same 62(?) ways, each state has it's own laws, and then there are federal rules regarding IRS tax status and other policies.
01-29-2007 12:26 PM
Zanshin I think that there have been enough references in this thread to clearly support the following 2 statements:

- a recreational vessel does not have to be registered.
- In order to register a recreational vessel the ultimate natural person(s) who own the vessel must be US citizen(s).

Vasco - I have found nowhere which allows non-citizens to register a boat. The web sites that I've found that do things such as Delaware registration are careful in their assertions, using terms such as "state registration" and asking non-citizen to contact them.

I think what Vasco is saying that you can own a boat without registering it as a non-citizen.
This is quite true. But for those purchasing a larger vessel registration has almost become mandatory as no commercial maritime lienholders will advance funds without it, some foreign countries require a US vessel to be registered in order to clear in without problems and those insurance companies that I looked at all wanted the registration number as well in order to activate a policy.
01-29-2007 11:09 AM
S/VNirvana I would agree with Rick, check out those attorneys that are specializing in this area. Even then I would find multiple recommendations. They may be attorneys but not all are well qualified.
01-29-2007 09:41 AM
Originally Posted by Zanshin

this advice that you are supporting is indeed bad. As a resident alien and noncitizen I have had my lawyer check this in the past, as I own or control different legal entities which are unrelated to boating but which I wanted to use as "owner" for both a boat and airplanes.

As one who has relied on many legal opinions in the past I would respectfully suggest you get another opinion. In all matters legal it's best to rely on the advice of those who specialise in the subject matter in dispute or under consideration. You might be pleasantly surprised.
01-29-2007 02:47 AM
Lurch Zanshin -- You are correct that an S-corp. won't work. It would have to be a C-corp. The CEO and Chairman of the Board would both have to be U.S. citizens, but could be the same person. Also, only a minority of a quorum of the board can be non-citizens, so if you went with a 3 person board, the by-laws would have to require all of them to hold the required meetings. Please note that per discussions above, and the coast guard faq link, the 75% ownership rule doesn't apply to pleasure craft, in fact, I haven't been able to find any restriction on stock ownership at all for them. It's also possible that some sort of trust might work, but that would be a matter for an attorney, which I am not!

Otaga -- An S-corp might work for you, since resident aliens are permitted to be owners. All of the restrictions on officers and board makeup would still apply, but I don't know whether you could be the majority stockholder or not.

Lots of luck to both of you
01-29-2007 02:39 AM
sailingdog T34C's suggestion probably is the best solution, if the wife, who is a citizen, is the sole-shareholder and CEO of the corporation, then the boat isn't technically her asset, so even if she is sued, the boat is protected from a malpractice suit... and the boat is fully owned by a US-citizen-owned corporation. I think that covers all the bases.
01-28-2007 09:25 PM
T34C You could form a corp. with your wife as sole share holder. That would allow her protection from liability that you mentioned she was afraid of and solve your problem.
01-28-2007 05:16 PM
Zanshin S/VNirvana - I've tried going the S-Corp route in the past, but initially the limitation was that there can be no non-resident aliens , and even later it still fails to meet that 75% limit for non-us citizen owners imposed in the CFRs mentioned earlier. I guess that they will just continue tracking ownership through business "persons" until they get to natural ones. The S-Corps are more for tax purposes and are pretty close to LLCs.
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