How can I conduct a
foreign title search?
- Foreign registry systems are for the most part quite similar
to our Coast Guard vessel documentation system here in the United
States. In most cases the respective federal agency can issue a
Transcript of Registry which offers the same basic information as
our Coast Guard's Abstract of Title.
On the provincial level, some jurisdictions issue boat registration
certificates or licenses which serve the same function as those
issued by our states. The biggest challenge in obtaining foreign
vessel title reports is, of course, the language barrier.
Accordingly, foreign searches often require the assistance and
cooperation of the seller while working in conjunction with a
Is the seller
responsible for de-registering a foreign vessel? -
As with all things in vessel purchase transactions, this can be a
matter of negotiation. However, it is normally the seller's responsibility to
de-register the boat and provide all of the necessary items that
will allow a domestic buyer to document the vessel or register it on
the state level. In the case of Coast Guard documentation, this will
include evidence that a foreign vessel has been de-registered. It is
also easier in most cases for the seller to handle this process from a
logistical perspective, especially when dealing with a foreign
foreign vessel be de-registered prior
to closing? - This is a difficult issue because
de-registration can be expensive in some cases and sellers generally
want to ensure that a sales transaction will be consummated before
doing so. On the other hand, a buyer would then be relying on
the seller's promise to do this after the closing. The solution may
necessitate a binding agreement which spells out such obligations or
a hold-back reserve from the closing proceeds until de-registration
has occurred. In any event, it is something that should be addressed
as part of the purchase and sale negotiations with perhaps the
assistance of an attorney.
What are citizenship requirements for foreign registry?
- As a general rule, you must be a citizen of the
country in which the vessel will be registered when doing so on the
federal level. However, this can be circumvented in some countries
by forming a corporation for vessel ownership purposes. Rules on
vessels registered to foreign owned corporations are considerably
more relaxed in certain countries than here in the United States.
Citizenship is not typically an issue for provincial licensing,
titling, or registration.
Why are many foreign boats registered in Delaware?
- Delaware has one of the most favorable tax
environments in the United States with respect to boat registration
and corporate formations. In addition, citizenship is not an issue
when registering a boat in Delaware. There are accordingly several
companies residing in Delaware that promote such services to foreign
boat owners who are looking for anonymity. They may even issue an
impressive looking document which has the look and feel of a U.S.
Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation. However, these are not
official U.S. Certificates and the application
for registration must indicate that Delaware will be the state of
principal usage for the boat.
State Registration Page