Importing Boats From United States

By: Miranda Cundy


The best way to import a boat from the United States is to hire a broker who will deal with the whole process for you. However importing boats from the United States is possible on your own but requires a little more work and legal knowledge. If you do use a broker (which is highly recommended for the reasons described below) then it is still useful to understand the process and the items you need to check.

Its important obviously that you ensure that all this paperwork is also correct and that your boat is in good order as it was described to you. Here you can arrange for a professional boat survey, or get a broker to check the boat over for you. Do not use the sellers surveyor alone as they will obviously be biased to an extent. By using a broker or a third party surveyor you will be able to get an objective opinion regarding the condition of the boat. They will also likely know the details on your local law regarding your boat and can make sure that it meets all of the necessary requirements which wont necessary be the same in the States. You can also ask to have a sea-trial as a condition of purchase just as you would road test a car before buying it. A broker can also go over your legal documents to ensure that theyre all okay. It is crucial here obviously to keep all of the relevant paperwork including the ownership, titles, licenses, adverts, emails, invoices, statements and everything else that proves you own the boat and how you found it. This will all come in handy when it comes to handling the paperwork at the border. Place it somewhere where you will be able to find it easily and where you have easy access to it.

When you have purchased you boat you should also arrange for insurance on it. It may be possible to extend your tow vehicles insurance in order to cover a trailer and your know boat on your return to your new country. By insuring the new boat, and/or paying on credit card, then you will also be protected against anything that should go wrong further down the line. Obviously if you do not have tow vehicle then you will need to rent or purchase one in order to take the boat out of the country. Again a broker will provide a tow vehicle for you and tow your new boat for you if you take that route.

Once you get to the border you should be honest and produce all documents as requested. Here you will need to prove ownership and have your bills of sale. You will also need identification and to be able to show all related documents for removable accessories etc included in the transaction. You may also have to pay PST (Provincial Sales Tax) or GST (Goods and Services Tax) and duty fees on your purchase so try to calculate that into your costs when determining whether you can afford the boat.

From here you will need to have your boat inspected in order to ensure it meets the local requirements. If you have it checked before you bought it then this shouldnt be an issue.

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If you want to import boats or other vehicles or machinery, it is often easier to get help from an expert. This is especially true if you import used boats as they have to pass certain guidelines.

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