Planning to import a boat to Australia from the USA or any other country? Before you import one or before even making the decision, it’s very important to be aware of paperwork requirements and customs regulations in Australia for water vessels belonging to the USA.

While the process of importation is pretty straightforward and simple, you will have to take certain steps and prepare certain documents before the start of process. Here are some useful guidelines that will help you make all the necessary arrangements.

1. Import Permit for a Trailer

If your boat has a trailer, you will require an import permit. This can be obtained from the Federal Department of Infrastructure and normally takes a few weeks to get.

You can usually secure it while your boat is being shipped. However, it’s recommended to get the permit before your boat is transported from the USA.

You won’t require a permit if the boat is shipped on a cradle.

If you hire a company which offers boat imports Australia, it will make you aware of all these requirements and make the necessary arrangements too so that you can relax.

2. Presence of Refrigerant/Air Conditioner on the Boat

It’s still a big concern for the Australian Government if your boat is equipped with refrigeration and/or air conditioner.

In case of an air conditioner on the boat, you will have to de-gas it before being shipped by the boat dealer or an authorised third party, and a proper certification should be produced.

This certificate should be on the letterhead of the dealer and should consist of details of the boat including hull ID number, and should be dated and signed.

3. Certificate of Origin

You will also require a declaration or certificate of origin by the US manufacturer or dealer which should state that the boat was produced in the USA.

There is a free trade agreement between Australia and USA so that boats produced in the USA can be imported duty-free to Australia.

However, you will have to pay the GST that is applied which is 10% at present.

4. Boat’s Title and Bill of Sale

You will also require copies of boat’s title and bill of sale. Several US ports need them before export.

5. Preparing/Cleaning Boat

Cleaning the boat and preparing it for the import are utmost important, just as you should do while importing cars from UK to Australia.

  • Be sure you clean the inside and outside of the boat and trailer before both are loaded on the ship. There should not be any soil, debris dirt, plants, animals etc on the boat.
  • Pay special attention to spiders and cobwebs. If any are seen on your boat upon landing into Australia, it will have to undergo quarantine and you will have to pay steep cleaning fees and penalties.
  • Make sure toilets are clean and waste tanks are emptied. Even fuel tanks should be emptied and batteries should be detached.
  • A good idea is shrink-wrapping. It will not only protect your boat from weather elements but also from any dirt and potential intruders.
  • Consider taking out or lowering anything that can increase the dimensions of the boat. These may include radar arches, swim platforms and any tops. Even windshields and flybridges need to be taken down sometimes to make the vessel suitable to a certain service, whether it is ro-ro or container.
  • Put away or totally remove all expensive items like GPS, electronics, stereo, fish finder etc. Locking the cabin securely and keeping the key in some secure spot on the boat is a good idea.
  • All unfastened items should be secured properly so as to prevent their movement and resulting damage during the transit.

Make all these preparations and then you can import your dream boat to the country without any hassle.

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