Boat Import & Tax

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WELCOME - If you want a step by step guide to the import process, discussing everything you need to consider, then view our import guide. Gablemarine offers a complete 'closing to delivery' service for importers who, having found a craft, want to bring it home.  One point of contact, one quoted charge, one person managing your project from end to end to ensure your importation is on time and on budget....

Trawler Yacht importThe challenge with any boat import / export  is verifying that the product is what you think it is and keeping on top of the process, much of which, particularly the boat shipping, will be performed remotely by other people or companies.  This is compounded for some international clients because getting a clear, detailed understanding, can be difficult if English is not your first language. Hiring a professional to assist you with boat import and export will assure you that all boat shipping international laws will be supported.

As with our Boat Finder service, our goal in global boat shipping is to take out the risk, by using people we can trust (or perhaps entrust) with your (perhaps new) imported boats.  Using local representatives, we act on your behalf with your best interests in mind to ensure that whatever element of the import / export process you want us to assist with, you can be confident that you'll get what you expect, when you expect it for the price you agreed.  As with all our projects we are pleased to offer our CE Marking service to ensure that when we import trawler yachts and boats, we are fully compliant with the Post Construction Assessment requirements of the Recreational Craft Directive. The bottom line is we want you to be treated the same way we at Gablemarine would want to be treated, so that you look back on your experience the confidence to recommend the same to others.  That's why people come back to us.

Sports Boat importTop 5 pitfalls

We've seen it all, well most of it and as with most things in life, hindsight and experience are as beneficial to boat import projects as any other.  Here, we list the most common issues people face.

1) It looked better in the pictures

Well of course it did, the seller could pick out the bad pictures and only show you the best.  The bottom line is that every boat should be inspected, by you, or someone acting for you, unless of course it's a project boat bought cheap. If you hire us for boat proofing before you import trawler yachts or boats, you can make sure that your craft conforms to boat shipping international law standards.

2) The boat was cheap but the overall cost is higher than expected.

There is a number of global boat shipping issues rolled up into one here.  First, it's easy to concentrate on the big ticket items/costs and forget that even the smaller charges soon add up. We all tend to gravitate to boat, shipping, CE and tax and pass over the fact that cradles, trailers, transport (US & EU), port dues, agency fees, shrink, valet, et cetera, are also part of the mix.  Of course, at Gablemarine we estimate including these charges, whereas some traders will work on a cost plus basis.  Second, build in some contingency as inevitably your ducks won't all line up during your boat import.  Ships are delayed and in some cases damage will occur.  Even the weather can get in the way (as I discovered on a previous trip to the US when 37 inches of snow led to cancelled flights).  Third, remember that global boat shipping and CE charges are driven by size and not value.  It costs as much to ship and CE a 1987 Bayliner 2455 as it does the equivalent 2009 Bayliner 245 and that's before we consider that the 1987 boat will probably need a replacement (newer) engine to comply with the emissions requirements.  If you want to import trawler yachts and boats you need to do your homework.

3) I thought US boats were supposed to be cheap.

Cheap and good value are not the same thing.  When the exchange rate (GBP/USD) was 2.10 : 1.00 boats were cheap.  Now at 1.50-1.60 : 1.00 they are not cheap, they just offer better value.  Why?  Because a US import boat tends to be in better condition and better specified than an EU boat of the same model and age and you'll have hundreds to choose from.  Americans fall into one of two camps: 'Don't Care' camp trash their boats and sells them for peanuts - steer clear of these. 'Just So' camp lavishes their boat with love, attention and money.  In fact the one thing they often forget is to use them, hence the low hours we see on many US boats. 

4) Why can't I use a site transformer for my AC electrics?

You can, but considering you've just spent several tens of thousands on your boat why undermine this with a cheap but flawed source of 110v AC?  Not only do they look 'Heath Robinson' in any US import boat, they are simply not designed for continual loading and thus could overheat or worse.  Site transformers are designed for site tools.  When was the last time you saw a workman drill for 24 hours in one stint? When it comes to global boat shipping, we offer a range of fully integrated AC solutions using the best components available, to enhance not only your experience and safety but also the resale value of your pride and joy.  All our solutions use one or more ISOLATING transformers which unlike the building site solutions protect both you, swimmers, your boat and others from the perils of galvanic corrosion and electrocution. 

5) Why did it take so long?

Or put another way, why didn't I start the process earlier.   Again, there are a number of points to consider.  First, it continues to amaze me how some boat shipping international companies appear to lose ships.  You'll be making your plans to receive your new toy and whoa, the arrival slips a week.  It does happen, so my personal recommendation would be to put the party on hold until you know the craft has arrived.  Second, don't assume the buying process will be straight forward.  Many craft in the US were bought on credit and the Title (which you'll want) will be held by the supplier of credit, not the notional 'owner'.  The 'lien' as it's called must be cleared before a clear Title can be applied for and this can take 2-10 weeks depending on the people involved.  Sellers will normally state whether clear Title exists and if so the purchase can take a matter of days.  Shipping from the US normally takes approximately three weeks Port to Port although this can be speeded up (or perhaps just be made more reliable) by using direct routes.  These routes are more expensive.  For the ultimate rush why not ship in the belly of a cargo plane.   Even the Customs officials will smile if you do.  It has been done... Third, use us because we deal with the problems before they become serious and/or affect the schedule.

Now, to the right, you'll see that we've divided this section between those wanting assistance importing a boat from the US and those looking to buy/sell/move a previously imported boat within the EU/EEA.  Please now select whichever is appropriate and read more about how we can help.  

Written By: Rowland Smith

Rowland Smith is a Naval Architect and founder of Gablemarine.  His industry experience includes Lloyds Register, British Shipbuilders Hydrodynamics Ltd, Cammell Lairds, BP Shipping Ltd & Conoco.  He has a degree in Naval Architecture, a Diploma in Marketing (CIM) and an MBA (Cranfield School of Management).  He has also held Director level positions in a number of technology and engineering companies, including CEproof, which provides RCD compliance software to builders. 

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