Buying boat abroad

Buying boat abroad

1. February 2016 Off By Søren

We are looking high and low. The most interesting boats seem to be abroad and not in Denmark, where we might be able to get the size of boat we want, without first having to buy a almost big enough boat, changing it later on.

But buying a boat abroad seems complicated to me. I have had a bit of time lately, so I have been looking into what should be considered when doing it. Searching the internet and talking to people who has already done it, has let me to the following topics:

VAT. It is important to be able to document, that VAT has already been paid on the boat when it was produced or imported into the EU. This includes knowing the history of the boat, so if the boat has been under a non-european flag for a period, then back on a european flag, then VAT has to be paid again and documented. Another option is that the boat has been used commercially (charter), and then the VAT must be paid and documented when going back on private hands. I have read about situations where customs have confiscated the boat until the owner either provided the required documentation or paid VAT again. It is quite a lot of money.

Debt. Just as when buying a boat at home you need to check if there is any debt on the boat. Here in Denmark this would require the boat to be registered in the danish ships registry, but this can be different abroad. Also, you need to be aware of any debt to a marina for mooring, or something else.

The condition of the boat. Again, this is as buying a boat in Denmark. You need to check the condition of the boat, but it can be harder to do due to the bigger distance to the boat. A survey of the boat, done by a professional, is a good investment.

Payment. When making payments it is important that the money are wired to a locked account, so the owner of the boat can’t withdraw the money before both parties agree that of all the details of the sale. Transferring abroad can take a few days. Buying through a broker typically ensures the above.

CE certificate. Boats produced in EU after 1998 must have a CE certificate. There must be a plate in the boat with the CE certificate. The problem is often boats build outside EU, which does not have this certificate, and imported into EU. In this case the prise must reflect the cost of what needs to be fixed for the boat to get a CE certificate.

Identity. You should ensure, that the owner is who he or she claims, and if it is the actual owner of the boat. If buying directly from a private owner, it is a good idea to have the spouse sign as well. In case of death there will not be any doubt on ownership due to inheritance.

Price: The price should be lower than buying the boat locally, mainly because you take a bigger risk. As soon as you have sailed of, it is less likely that you return in case of any issue, and demand it fixed. Also, it is not free to bring the boat home no matter how you do it.

Lawyer. As you most likely do not know the foreign laws and regulations as well as your domestic laws, and due to language barriers, it is a good idea to involve a local lawyer to ensure that the documentation is sufficient.

I’m sure there are other things to consider as well… this i my take on it from investigating the subject a bit. However it is plenty, but something that can actually be done.