Originally Posted by witzgall
What are the issues with buying a Canadian registered boat, for registration/documentation in the US?
Do things change if the purchase takes place in the US?
I am not an expert in documentation, but I know enough to say you face a problem and should get the advice of a documentation service before proceeding. Hopefully they can advise you if the vessel CAN be documentented and what the cost to you will be for someone like them to do all the work for you.
If you buy a documentated boat, you should have no difficulty with changing it to your name. If you first document a used, un-documented vessel, you may face some issues, as you need to certify the chain of ownership of the vessel, since new, up to your purchase. If the vessel is foreign built, there may be an additional problem related to the builders certificate.
The following paragraph from Admiralty and Maritime Law: Vessel Registration and Documentation
lays out the fundamental difficulties:
"One of the most cumbersome requirements of the documentation procedure is the builder's certification and first transfer of title or the establishment of a chain of title, on federal bills of sale forms, to be signed by each and every successive owner. That requirement applies to initial documentation only, whether or not there has been a state chain of title. While this requirement does not present a problem for new vessels, it can be a major challenge for old ships whose builder is no longer in business and which have had many owners. In some cases a waiver may be available but, most of the time it is necessary to rely on the services of documentation companies who track down all the successive owners. "