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Importing an American boat that's already in Canada?


tb4me
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So in an attempt to try to keep the long story as short as possible, while providing as much detail as possible. My good friends reside in Ohio. They left their 2006 Crestliner boat here in 2019 in storage. The boat was never meant to be left in Canada, then covid hit. Here we are 3 years later they are not vaccinated and don't plan to be. They have offered to sell me the boat for the cost of the storage fees. It's a 2006 Crestliner with a 90 merc. The deal is far too good to refuse. 2500 bucks for a boat that's costing them money on a monthly basis. Has anyone ever run into this with boats from the USA? What's the procedure here? Help! 

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This should actually be very straight forward. 
 

get them to write you out a bill of sale and provide the title documentation. You are going to need a way for them to hand you the ownership slip for the trailer too. A trip down to Ohio might be in order simply to get the paperwork together. 
 

or you courier it to you. The challenge here is that there is a rule for boats that are brought over the border the responsibility for importing the boat is placed on the person that drives it over the border no matter what. I know this because I played with the idea that my seller could bring the boat into cansda and then I would take it through the importation process. Customs would not let that fly unfortunately.

 

this is such a weird scenario your best bet may be to call customs and ask for their advice. To start you want to be able to tell customs that you have 100% of the appropriate paperwork ready to go, you just don’t know what procedure to take in regards to completing the importation of the boat. 
 

it may end up being so stupid that you will have to drive down to the states with the boat pretending that you are delivering the boat back to them. Then subsequently turning around and driving back into cansda with it and the paper work to complete the importation process. 
 

id hope customs would make an exception, but they are so weird, just driving the boat over the border and back might be the fail safe method od going about this.

 

call customs though they pick up and are willing to chat, I did it before importing my boat last fall when I had questions about the best way to get the boat over the border while restrictions for Canadians were still in place.

also, even at $2200 if the boat has been in storage for 3 years without being winterized or covered, make sure you go see the boat before you buy. The lower end could be destroyed, and mice could have absolutely torn up the interior depending on how it was stored. I’m also scared of a motor with a quarter tank of ethanol gas sitting in it for 3 years. That could also spell massive issues. 
 

an 06 merc I’m assuming 2 stroke? Should be ok just make sure you don’t end up paying $8,000 in repairs on top of your purchase price because that’s not going to be such a great deal when all is said and done. 
 

don’t forget, the tax man will also be calling when you import the boat. Hopefully the trailer is an 06 too and you will be exempt from doing the trailer inspection crap as well. Just something else to factor in

Edited by AKRISONER
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Well what fantastic information, thanks. As always this site doesn't disappoint! Looks like I may have to get myself a passport. 

As for the boat itself. It was winterized, lower unit oil changed out and all 3 batteries left on a tender. Ot was stored inside with the cover on it. It did have half a tank of gas in her, but I have already pumped out 40 litres and added 60 litres of fresh premium marine fuel. Gen 7 gas station in Roseneath has actual marine grade gas..Who knew! I'll be launching the boat this weekend and will use it all summer as a "borrowed" boat and will haul it to the border in the fall to have it properly imported. It's a Crestliner fish hawk 1750 those seats are terrible for foam separating. So I will have to repair or replace those seats 

Anyway thanks again for your reply..cheers! 

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I had a buddy from Ohio give me his snowmobile to sell here 10 years ago

A guy bought it and went to import it.

Total pain. How did this snowmobile get into Canada was the question. Ongoing question.

Stick to your guns, tell them what they ask. Don't offer anything else. 

No need to go to the states but it could take a while.

Good luck. Sounds like a deal to me even being a Merc

edit, the US will never let you tow that boat back to import it. You will be out a boat

Edited by Dara
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Temagami Marine and most Northern Marinas have racks full of USA registered boats. Not sure how they get away with it year after year, as I believe 45 days is the limit to be here, but most have been there for years if not decades. They do get sold and traded in... and they sure don't ship them back to the USA to do so. Bet it's as easy as a bill of sale and a "vessel registration unknown" declaration to get a new registration #. 

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1 hour ago, irishfield said:

 Bet it's as easy as a bill of sale and a "vessel registration unknown" declaration to get a new registration #. 

Interesting. If you have a bill of sale then how is the registration unknown though? Also wouldn't the current Hull ID number identify the current owner?

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Just now, porkpie said:

I’d just call customs.  I’d sure as heck wouldn’t be dragging a boat back to the states.  

I did speak to a friend of mine that works at Canada customs. He too had suggested I deliver the boat to my  friend where he could legally export it to me sounds like a major headache..

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someone here suggested being limited in what you tell border patrol, I’m going to recommend the complete opposite.

documentation and honesty were absolutely key when I crossed the border while it was still closed! (Yes I did that)

my story was so pure, honest, my paperwork so organized, the border agents couldn’t help but take me up on my request for exception to enter the United States on the basis of conducting legal commerce. I used their literal wording from the law itself when I requested entry. 
 

they wanted to know every little detail, who my seller was, where he lived, why he was selling this boat to me, why not buy a boat in canada, what was the structure of our transaction, how much I was paying etc etc. and I answered every question honestly with full conviction. 
 

I don’t know where you live specifically, hopefully in the gta? A day trip down to Buffalo is in reality nothing if it means you get to buy that boat for $2,000.

 

it’s not different IMO then me saving 10+ grand on my boat by buying from a guy in New York. Obviously 100% worth it.

 

make sure you check if Ohio is a “title state” if it is you will need to complete a title search on the trailer and show proof of clean title!

you will also need to complete the exception for the trailer from the trailer inspection component. 
 

start reading! There’s a few pieces of documentation you are going to need in order to import that trailer you can get them all online. It takes some time but it’s not that bad.

 

go figure, kindness and honesty will break down even the most hardened border agent. The guys absolutely grilled me and acted like tough guys right up until the moment that they decided to let me in. The guy that interviewed me inside US customs came out and said “go get your boat and make sure you leave immediately, have fun”

Edited by AKRISONER
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18 hours ago, tb4me said:

Well what fantastic information, thanks. As always this site doesn't disappoint! Looks like I may have to get myself a passport. 

 

sounds like it's going to be a great summer ;)

but the passport, if you weren't joking, is going to be a gong show. long delays everywhere. probably easier to get an enhanced driver's license ;) 

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2 hours ago, woodenboater said:

if everything is okey dokey with the boat (no major issues) then $2500 (even if it's USD) is a steal !!!

This is exactly why Iwant to pull this off. I have a 1990 Smoker craft Fazer with a 89 Johnson 70 hp to get of now. She needs a new floor but everything else runs great and is a turn-key boat..

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1 hour ago, tb4me said:

This is exactly why Iwant to pull this off. I have a 1990 Smoker craft Fazer with a 89 Johnson 70 hp to get of now. She needs a new floor but everything else runs great and is a turn-key boat..

You are going to make money and end up in a bigger boat. This is 100% worth it

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