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981 Posts
Importing the boat is not difficult.

This is the law:

When you bring anything that you have purchased in a foreign country into Canada you are liable for GST and PST and possibly Import Duty.


The value that these taxes are calculated on varies depending upon the length of time that you have been absent from the country.

If you are away for more than 7 days, you are entitled to import $750.00 worth of goods without paying duties or taxes. You are required to pay taxes and any applicable duties on the amount that the value of the goods exceeeds the $750.00 exemption.

i.e.: You are out of Canada for more than 7 days

You buy a boat for $10,000.00.

Because you have been away for more than 7 days your expemtion is $750.00.

You will be required to pay tax on $9,250.00

If you are away for more than 48 hours, but less than 7 days, your exemption is $400.00 rather than $750.00

If you are away for 24 hours or more, but less than 48 hours, your exemption is $50.00

When you arrive at the border the CBSA will collect GST on goods you import. You may also be required to pay PST at that time, dependning on what province you live in. If you don't pay PST then. you will be required to pay it when you register or license your boat. If you do pay it, make sure you keep your receipt as you will need proof of payment when you document the boat. You won't be able to insure the boat without documentation, and you won't be able to get into any marinas or clubs wihtout insurance.


There is no duty on boats that are manufactured in a NAFTA country (Canada, US, Mexico).

There is no duty on boats that are manufactured in Costa Rica, Israel, Chile, Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, East Time, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea -Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Western Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Republic of Yemen, Zambia, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos.

Boats imported from all other countries are subject to a duty of 9.5% of the transaction value (which is the price paid or payable for the boat). This is not variable.

The duty is calculated after the currency of the transaction has been converted into Canadian Dollars.

Taxes are calculated on the sum of the transaction value and the duty.

You will need to be able to provide proof of the country of origin of the boat.

There are some situations where you may be able to import a boat that does not originate in one of the duty-free beneficiary countries without paying duty, if it has had extensive repair or refit, in one of the beneficiary countries. This needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and can be done at any CBSA office.

You need to provide proof of clear title to the boat - at the minimum this would be a bill of sale.

If you manage to find a good boat that is priced below market - which is not unusual these days, you may find that the border officers are a little hesitant about believing the purchase price of the boat.

In the case of dispute regarding the value of imported goods, a Customs Officer may detain goods until proof of the transaction value has been provided. This would happen rarely, and can be easily avoided by carrying copies of pre-sale correspondence, emails, advertisments, etc. In the case of dispute, the onus rests on the CBSA to prove that the price paid for the imported goods were other than that declared.

There is no fee payable to CBSA for the import process.

Hope this helps :)

981 Posts
@sailormann - Thank you for the detailed info.
You're welcome :)

As someone mentioned, buying a boat that once was in Canadian waters may make things easier (and possibly cheaper!)
You will still be liable for any taxes. If it is a boat that was previously imported and duty was paid on it, and if you can prove this, then the duty will be waived. There is a tariff code for goods that have been previously imported. They will be able to provide you with at the Customs office.

If not, it seems relatively straight forward, but would just depend on where she was made. Does anyone know which form would be required? Obviously, we'll have all documentation from the previous owner, proof of ownership and purchase, registration, passports, and now I'll add in any correspondence about price.
A signed declaration by the vendor stating the country of origin should be sufficient. You could back this up by Googling the manufacturer or class website and printing off any article you can find that mentions where the manufacutring plant was (or still is).

I would imagine that the plan would be (if we buy down there) to get a ride or such to the boat, and sail her home (assuming she's seaworthy). In an ideal world, I'd have a friend sail down with us, and then sail back together. Even with a sea trial with the PO, I'd feel better if there's someone there with us should the unthinkable happen.

I've never crossed state lines on a boat though - I assume you simply cross, and then dock at the nearest point of entry in Canada, contact Customs, and wait for clearance? Which leads me to... Do you have to stop at the first port of entry? If so, which one is that? Can we make it right up to Vancouver without being hunted down and arrested by cranky border agents? I found a list on the CBSA website (but sailnet is refusing to let me post it), but can't seem to find out where exactly I should go...
The important thing is to report in from the first Canadian port you stop in. If you want to sail directly to Vancouver, that's fine. As far as doing the paperwork on the boat goes, it's fine to wait until you get to your home port as long as you do it immediately upon arrival.

981 Posts
Importing from Australia to UK/Europe

I want to ship an inflatable boat from Australia to end up in the UK. How much does this cost in terms of duty and VAT? I will not be selling it in the UK but will be using it there.
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