Foreign Manufactured Boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by BigBull, Jul 26, 2021.

  1. BigBull
    Joined: Jul 2021
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    Location: Tampa

    BigBull New Member

    I’m exploring getting an aluminum, 5083 H116, Center Console built out of the United States to be used and sold for use in the United States. The Hull builder is in China and the rigging and powering would be completed in the USA. I’ve received an approximate quote for a ~36ft CC with a ~12ft beam and the price is worth exploring given the fact how much a new boat costs nowadays. What are the costs to import a boat to the USA aside from shipping and does the design and final hull require some sort of inspection from a federal agency? The center console catamaran hull would be 25%-35% lighter when compared to fiberglass mold construction so the aluminum hull being a catamaran center console design would probably get better fuel mileage and go faster if desired. The cost quoted for the hull build with the plumbing, rod holders , cleats, cup holders, rocket launcher, seats, etc..Everything but the engines and electronics is affordable, I wonder what the tariffs are on foriegn manufactured boats and what type of inspection and or certification is needed to be able to resale here in the United States.
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum BB.
    I have just been having a look at the ads for aluminium boats in China, and the prices are certainly very reasonable in comparison to the cost of getting the same boat built in (eg) the USA.
    I found this power cat on one of the Chinese pages - they claim that she is 34' long, but I doubt that the hull is aluminium - it looks more like fibreglass to me.
    [Hot Item] 34.4FT 10.5m Qimeng Manufactural Aluminum Fishing Boat Customizable Design Passenger Yacht
    I wanted to save the photo, to post here but it will not let me do this.
    I think that you should tread warily re importing boats from China to the USA, never mind all of the possible rules and regulations that will probably apply to the vessel on arrival in the USA.
    And be aware that you will be breaking into a very competitive market, where the secondhand prices of established brands (which are not very old) might well be similar to your new construction prices.
  3. BigBull
    Joined: Jul 2021
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    Location: Tampa

    BigBull New Member

    thanks for replying. The cost for the hull and paint for the boat described above is $110k without shipping or tariffs if there are any. The rigging would be done in the United States, electronics and engines. I can imagine spending more than $150,000 for quad engines or 2 engines and the electronics. A similar fiberglass hull that’s fully rigged would cost $350k-750k with a 1-3 year wait. I’m concerned about the import process on boats and the process to safety certify them or whatever. If the Chinese manufacturer is solid then you could have a more efficient mid to high end catamaran center console for a fraction of the price. The risk is dealing with a foreign manufacturer and all that comes with importing a boat to the USA. Let’s face it, manufacturing in the USA is very expensive.
  4. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    BB, I tried to send you a private message (PM), but the Forum would not allow me to - probably because you only signed up today.
    Can you send PM's yet?

    Re how a 34' centre console ally cat is US$ 110,000 to build in China, I know a couple of small boatbuilders here who do very good work with aluminium, and I think that they might be able to build a cat like that for that sort of price, depending on how complex the structure is.
    Was the Chinese boat designed 'in house', or do they have an 'outside' naval architect involved?

    Re the processes involved in importing a boat to the USA, maybe @Ike could tell you a bit more as he spent many years working with the Coastguard.
    One of the Builders here sent two of his fibreglass glass bottom boats to Florida some years ago - I don't think the process was too onerous then.
    I don't know if the customer had to pay import duties, or perhaps just the state sales tax(es).
  5. Kayakmarathon
    Joined: Sep 2014
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    Kayakmarathon Senior Member

    Never buy something expensive sight unseen. My manager has set up a couple manufacturing lines in China. His insight to Chinese culture is not only is it acceptable to cheat in business, but also expected. Personally I have not been pleased with the datasheets for Chinese electronic parts I'd like to design into a board. Their tech support people are evasive unless their supervisor allows them to give an answer. I might buy a Chinese product from a US distributor only if I could try it out first.
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  6. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    You need to hire a good marine import attorney who knows the expediter system in both the US and China. It's not that officials say no, it's that they never seem to get around to saying yes. Selene and Nordhavn are built in China and sold in the US, so I would find one of their execs and have a nice leisurely lunch. Tariffs appear to be running 25-30 percent at the moment. There are some official exemptions, but apparently not for aluminum boats. Operators would also need to get an MARAD Waiver to operate the boat for charter, etc. They don't give them for new boats, though.

    MARAD Wavier Explained | USCG Vessel Registry
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  7. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Sadly, very true.

    It is indeed. Thank the Jones Act for that one!

    Why not try Poland, they have some good small ally yards.
    There are also some good small yards in SE Asia too.. but you'll need someone local to assist most likely too.
    bajansailor likes this.
  8. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Boats used in the US carrying no more than six passengers for hire do not need to be "inspected" whether built in the US or imported. "Uninspected" recreational boats can carry more than six passengers as long as the passengers are not paying for the ride. Many but not all recreational boats under 20 feet in length need to meet Federal regulations on maximum power, maximum capacity and floatation. There are also a few other rules concerning things like ventilation of fuel systems, emisions from fuel systems, etc which apply to many boats. All new boats do need to have a Hull Identification Number and the importer of a complete boat or the final builder of a boat is responsible for the HIN and for certifying that the boat meets relevant Federal regulations.

    A good source of information for anyone interested in getting into boatbuilding is New Boatbuilders Home Page | Everything Boat Building

    I attended a seminar a few years ago about importing boats from Asia for sale in the US. The speakers agreed that it was important to have a trusted representative at the boatbuilder overseeing the building and checking the quality.

    Folks with lots of experience in the boatbuilding industry frequently have trouble making money. My guess is someone without industry experience is at higher risk of losing money even if they are enthusiastic and experience "boaters".
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  9. comfisherman
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    comfisherman Senior Member

    Dunno the legality side of things or tariffs specifically on boats.

    But I'm more than a little acquainted with electrolysis and the issues associated with even a small bit of poor oversight causing drastic issues.

    Aluminum, like glass done well is amazing.

    Glass done poorly is heavy, aluminum done poorly is a battery. China does a lot of things well in the manufacturing world, consistent marine alloy plate doesn't seem to be one of them. I'd iron out a liability sheet and timeline long before looking at tariffs.
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