What countries can a home built 50' steel boat be titled as easy as USA?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by jon haig, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Evan Gatehouse
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    Evan Gatehouse New Member

  2. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    First thing to check is how to legally reside in the foreign country during the build time. Second is if the national registry of the country you wish to build in is open to foreigners since not all are.

    I would eliminate all island countries because on an island everything is more expensive or simply unavailable. That leaves you with mainland countries and even there you must be in a major boatbuilding area in order to have access to supplies and skills. The simple phrase "I will have it sandblasted white and hot flame zink sprayed" can become a major logistical task if you are on a beach miles away from the next industrial center.
    The hull is the cheapest part anyway, systems and interior usually rule the budget. I would say that finding some economic backwater in the US where renting a waterfront property is cheap (you don't need oceanview, a deep enough canal is fine) and Amazon delivers overnight is preferable. Once the hull is painted, the motor and some minimal electrics installed you can sail it to a low cost country for fit and finish to your liking.

    The realistic way to build in a foreign country where you don't speak the language and don't know the rules is to hire a local shipyard or boatbuilder. But if you do that you also get a builders certificate and bill of sale so by the time the boat is launched you can also have the boat US documented.
     
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  3. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Perhaps the OP does not want to document the boat in the US.
     
  4. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    Rumars is right.
    I'll add that building a bare steel hull is a low tech project that can be done even in your backyard if kept in simple shapes, but to leave that hard, dangerous and dirty work to professionals is a better strategy. The choice of white sandblasting and zinc shopping shows that your books are antiquated. That was a system used by the some Dutch shipyards in very remote times when plates were covered of calamine by the rolling process and the paints rather primitive. It's very expensive and finally not so efficient. The proof is this system never became mainstream and it's no more used at my knowledge.
    Now there are easier ways to protect a hull, the first one is using pre-painted plates. You have since a long time very clean plates with weldable primary that simplifies greatly steel boatbuilding and further painting.
    The bare hull is a small fraction of the total cost, so logistics and customs taxes are the most important factor while trying to finish the boat. A country with dirt cheap workforce but with expensive cost of shipping and very expensive customs taxes does not present any interest. In fact, if you add the difficulty of registering a boat, worst an DIY amateur boat a notion unknown in 95 % of the world, in most countries for a foreigner, there is very little interest to go to a apparently cheap third world country for building a personal yacht.
    It's a different thing with a boat built by a shipyard with NA plans, NE calculations, respecting all national and international rules under the supervision of a classification society. This boat can be built in any country able to build it and to be registered everywhere. It can be insured also, and it's not a negligible advantage. And there are countries with very competitive shipyards. It's another story.
     
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  5. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Good point, I did not think of that.
    Now if the OP for whatever reasons does not want to build or document in the US, but actually is a US citizen (and under some circumstances even if he is not), then one of the more convenient places to build would be the UK.
    Reasons:
    1. US citizens are allowed 6 months stay in the UK no questions asked.
    2. UK part 1 registry is open to US citizens, and it's not expensive.
    3. No language barrier (at least in theory).
    4. First world major industrial country.
    5. Cheap labour and living costs.
    6. The summer weather in the southern parts of the UK is pleasant enough to build outside.
     
  6. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    The problem is that there is no correctly equipped and durable boat which is dirt cheap new. Boat is antithetical to cheap. Any boat above 18 feet is rather expensive, above 30 feet you are close to a small house price in a cheap place, and above 50 feet it's simply more expensive than a house. And you have to add the maintenance cost.
    An amateur building can take years but meantime you have to pay the bills, live, have a home and work 14 hours a day on the boat. Steel boats are generally over 40 feet because of the material, that means at least a 3 years full time project if you're an experienced, able and rather fast worker. So it's difficult to do such a project out of your country as it's a rather long term task. You need the funding of three years of living plus the cost of the boat. Not easy.
    When I see some vids of amateur builders in youtube my teeth squeaks...They look badly under-funded as they are begging money to the viewers and many times the project seems to be far above their technical ability, even for the simple but dangerous task of pouring a lead ballast. I do remember a video of this simple operation that I called "calling for the disaster". Finally they failed but happily without any serious damage.
    There is a very steep learning curve in boatbuilding if you want a correct final product.
    If you have a well paid job, thing more and more difficult to find nowadays, it's better to save money, to get loans and to make build your dream boat. After you see if you leave the comfort of the Iphone, the Tesla car, the 80 inches screen with Netflix, the Sam's Club and Amazon for some hard life, far from from such conveniences.
    If you have a poorly paid job, and that's the case of most, a boat of a respectable size is simply unaffordable to make build or even to build yourself. In these last 25 years the acquisitive capacity of a great part of the population has been felled down. I won't enter in the explication of the phenomenon, general in all the countries which have seen their industry with well paid union protected qualified workers, sent to third world countries with cheap labor. Wild capitalism at its best.
    The lone way to escape to this "unaffordability" is to buy, after years of hard savings, a good used boat even smaller than your dreams, to make a complete revision and to sail. It's the least expensive way. That does not mean cheap.
     
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  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Foreign build boats can't be documented in the USA. They can be registered though.
     
  8. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    A foreign built boat can be documented unless the boat needs a fishery endorsement or a coastwise trade endorsement.
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    That's right.
     
  10. M&M Ovenden
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    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    Hi Jon,

    If you can buy a similar boat to what you plan to build you will probably do much better. There are many used boats on the market and if you want something "generic" and are prepared to travel it will be a better option. We are just finishing up our 50' build, it's a lot of hours.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
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  11. Old Stoker
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    Old Stoker New Member

    Australia, but you are better off finding, or having the hull built. I find pre blasting and priming your steel makes the job faster and cleaner. The Australian dollar is currently worth 67cents us.
     
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