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Boat For Sale In USA, what you need to know

boat for sale in usa

Getting a Boat for Sale in USA to Australia

If your looking at getting a yacht or boat for sale in USA to Australia then keep reading. Every year hundreds of USA boat sales occur that are shipped to Australia. This guide will run you through the pitfalls of purchase and different shipping options available for importing a boat from USA.

Where to Start with Finding the ideal yacht or boat for sale in usa

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Like most things if its for sale, then you can find it online. There are dozens are ways to find boats which may fit what your looking for. But unless you plan to fly and inspect a boat for sale in USA yourself. Then you will need to:

  • Buy direct from a manufacturer and have a boat built to your specifications
  • Engage a buying agent to source a boat and use his connections to verify the condition of the boat for sale in usa
  • Find yourself a local captain to provide an independant report into the boats condition
  • Take a punt and hope for the best

We have found over the years of assisting clients that getting a report is money well spent and can help you avoid a nasty surprise. 

Cost of Shipping a Boat from USA to Australia

Like any well planned venture, understand all your costs is important. Whilst the purchase price can be a large portion of the landed price, import taxes and the cost of shipping a boat from USA to Australia is generally second. We will break down these costs onto a quote to confirm the cost of shipping a boat from USA to Australia.

Calculating Import Duty on Second Hand Boats

The standard duty rate application for boats and trailer (if included) is 5% duty, there are few exemptions. The main one however does apply to this topic being the US Australia Free Trade Agreement which provides duty free status for US made boats. Please note in order to claim this preferential duty free status the boat must be manufactured in USA and shipped directly from US to Australia (transhipment services are ok). If duty does apply it is calculated on all costs incurred to get the boat to the place of export, eg where it is loaded into a container, or towed/lifted onto a vessel.

Calculating Boat Import Tax

Unfortunately there is no way of getting around the payment of GST. 10% GST will be calculated on all costs incurred to land the boat in Australia, plus any duty paid. Customs will require all Duty and GST paid before the boat can leave their control, and they dont do payment plans.

Our warning on Trailer Boats for sale USA

import a boat to australia

If you are looking to purchase a boat on a trailer, then you need to be aware of additional import requirements. A boat trailer is considered a road vehicle, and it can only be customs cleared with a trailer import approval. Regardless of whether you intend to license or scrap the trailer you will require a vehicle import approval for us to process customs clearance.

One of the main criteria for applying for a vehicle import approval is knowing the engineered specifics of the trailer and having a specified photos of the trailer. Once your application is submitted you can expect reply in around 6 weeks time.

Transfer of Ownership with USA Boat Sales and completion of export clearance

If your buying privately the process of sending money overseas can be scary for USA boat sales. Afterall boats are not cheap things, and most people cant afford to buy two. If in doubt about sending money overseas, ask us about our Escrow Services.

When you have agreed to purchase a boat, its important that a Bill of Sale is drafted between the buyer and seller. If the boat has a lien on it then we will also require an original letter, written by the lien holder confirming the shipment can proceed. The letter should be notarized. You will also need a certified Vehicle Information Report document from the DMV. Lastly, you need to acquire a notarized copy of the certificate of title from the original lien holder.

All of which will need to be supplied to our US agent along with a power of attorney to complete the export clearance.

Getting it ready to Freight Boat to Australia

Once the boat is in your control, its time to get it ready for shipment to Australia. We suggest performing below tasks to reduce additional costs and delays on arrival:

  • Empty the boat of all possessions, and make a list of what you want to keep as you will have to pay import tax on these items. 
  • You cannot send any dangerous goods, so please remove any fire extinguishers, flares, inflatable life rafts and personal locator beacons. 
  • Check all drain plugs, verify there is no residual water in the boat.
  • Clean sewage system and drain water resorviour 
  • Vacuum compartments and boat interior
  • Lock/Close all compartments and hatches
  • Disconnect Batteries & Alarm System
  • Remove all fuel (residual fuel in fuel lines is ok)
  • Remove any barnicles or other marine live from the hull of the boat
  • Clean off any bird extriments 
  • Lash the boat to the trailer with a strap (if applicable)

If you are unable to arrange this yourself, then we can arrange a contractor with prior notice.

Other notable considerations before Shipping

If your yacht/boat contains equipment with pre-charged gases such as refrigerators, air conditions or fire extinguishers then you need to ensure there are compliant with the current import rules.

Additionally the yacht/boat must be free from Asbestos. Whilst this isn't normally a problem with boats its important to make you aware of the require as Customs may request proof of compliance.

Now we are Ready for Boat Shipping from USA to Australia

Itching to ship, but we need to decide on the Boat shipping from USA to Australia optons:

  • Containerise: If your boat is skinny enough it maybe angled into a sea container. This method may save you money, but we risk damage to the boat during the loading/unloading process.
  • RoRo: if your boat is on a trailer then RoRo is a great option with direct sailings from US to Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle available. We also recommend plastic wrapping the boat to minimize quarantine issues that can occur whilst the cargo is at the port awaiting loading (normally a few weeks)
  • Cradle Options: if your boat or yacht does not have a trailer, then we have no choice but to supply a cradle for shipping (Twin hull vessels such as catamarans exempt). Depending on the size of the boat we may then consider loading the cradle onto a flat rack, MAFI trailer or loading directly from water onto the vessel. For both the flat rack and MAFI trailer solutions, you should consider plastic wrapping.

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  • Own Power: If your importing a really large boat/yacht then you maybe considering paying a crew and sailing it to Australia. Whilst we cannot help with the crewing of the boat/yacht we can still guide you through the complex import clearance process.

Preparing the next steps for your Boat Import

Now that your boat/yacht is shipped our Custom Brokers will take over and prepare the shipment for customs clearance. This is where taxes will be calculated and our services invoiced to you.

Once your boat has arrived in Australia our last hurdle is obtaining Quarantine clearance. Quarantine will inspect the boat to verify it is free from animal, soil and plant materials. If you have followed this guide fully then you shouldn't expect a problem. 

From there its onto collection or delivery depending on your preference.

boat for sale in usa


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