The 3 Things You Need to Have When Importing a Boat for Personal Use into the U.S.

When it comes to finding the yacht of your dreams, people will search far and wide, so it comes as no surprise that many boat sales take place outside of the U.S. While there’s nothing stopping you from bringing your new vessel home afterwards, there are three things you must have with you when you meet with Customs and Border Patrol representatives upon your arrival in the country. They are listed and explained below.

Proof of Ownership

The most common example of this required documentation is a bill of sale. This proves that you have purchased the vessel and are therefore the legal owner, so you can document it in the U.S.

It is important to note that the U.S. Coast Guard requires that all formal documentation such as manufacturer’s statements of origin and builder certificates be formatted for use in the United States, or your vessel will not be granted federal documentation.

Evidence that the Boat Meets EPA Standards

You are required to present evidence that the boat being imported meets the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards covering air pollution emissions. This includes filling out Engine Declaration Form 3520-21, which is an attestation that the yacht’s engine performance does not compromise applicable environmental regulations.

The Required Duty Payment

When you import a boat into the United States, you are generally required to pay duty. Yachts and sailboats,) presently have a duty rate of 1.5% of its value.

It’s also possible that other items on the yacht could be subject to import duties. Common examples include supplies, souvenirs, clothing, and other items that are not physically part of the boat. While duty may not apply to all of them, it’s best to come prepared to pay for everything on board.

If you have questions or need assistance with importing your foreign-bought vessel into the United States, contact Howard S. Reeder today. We can provide vessel documentation through our Marine Documentation division, and our Customs Brokerage team will take care of the following importation requirements:

  • Filing Customs entry
  • Paying duty
  • Arranging any inspections or holds requested by Customs

Let us take care of the technicalities so you can enjoy your new purchase a lot sooner. Happy sailing!

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Written by Howard S Reeder Inc

Howard S. Reeder, Inc is a family-owned business which has been in operation since 1940 when Howard S. Reeder Sr. founded our customs brokerage company and began helping importers bring products into the United States. Now on our third generation of ownership, both our company and our areas of expertise have greatly expanded over the more than 75 years since our inception.