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Thread: Question about buying a 36’ outside of the USA. HELP!!! Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-28-2006 03:16 PM
Originally Posted by sailingfool
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.
As a second opinion - I would suggest reading the USCG information that is available in the FAQ (see links above) - Part of which is excerpted below. (underlining is mine - not the CG).

Contrary to the usual belief the USCG does not practice obscurification in what it publishes. It just just tells the interested parties WTF it needs in the documents submitted. Nothing More - Nothing Less.


If the vessel is new and has never been documented, ownership may be established by submission of a Builder's Certification (Form CG-1261), naming the applicant for documentation as the person for whom the vessel was built or to whom the vessel was first transferred. Also acceptable are a transfer on a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, a copy of the State Registration or Title, or foreign registration showing that the applicant owns the vessel.
In the case of a previously owned vessel, the applicant must present bills of sale, or other evidence showing transfer of the vessel from the person who last documented, titled, or registered the vessel, or to whom the vessel was transferred on a Builder's Certification or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin. If title was transferred by some means other than a bill of sale, contact the NVDC for assistance.
08-28-2006 12:59 PM
hellosailor I don't think documentation has to expensive or arcane, the USCG is up front about what they require and then the big question, is if you can meet those requirements. Coming from anyplace overseas, you'd probably find a bigger problem trying to ensure that you had a "builders certificate" or other bonafide proof of construction and chain of title. I mean, even within the US, how many of us would know what an out-of-state title certificate looked like, even for a car? Let alone, say, a Brazilian national title certificate from a fake?

I think there's more need for an attorney at the buying site, who might be able to certify that the documentation provided would be sufficient for international proof of title. But at least Gus might still have friends or family there, so he's not totally in the dark on that end, as most of us would be.
08-28-2006 12:37 PM
sailingdog Sailingfool makes a few good points, but the point of buying the boat in Brazil was to save on the price of the boat IIRC. You may be able to get the necessary paperwork for USCG documentation, insurance and financing for a boat bought in Brazil, but you will need a lawyer or company that is well-versed in marine law, and USCG regulations to help your wife in getting it documented.
08-28-2006 12:17 PM
sailingfool 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.
08-28-2006 11:31 AM
sidiag Try here (USCG)

and/or here (this is the home page)
08-27-2006 09:28 PM
sailingdog Well, then the boat could be documented by your wife.
08-27-2006 08:35 PM
GusMattos Thank you all!!!
Great Place!!!
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.
08-25-2006 03:39 PM
sailingdog True, USCG documentation is only available to US citizens. Getting the requirements in writing, preferably from a government official, is probaly a good idea.
08-25-2006 03:30 PM
hellosailor 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.
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