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Import a boat to Canada

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  • Import a boat to Canada

    I am going to import a boat and trailer into canada, and I have done all the research as to what to do. My question is, whats to stop me from registering the trailer in Canada as a U-built, and then taking the plate down there and sticking it onto the trailer to avoid the taxes and duties on the trailer? There is no inspection to register a U-built here, you just go to an insurance agent and tell them you built a trailer and they issue you insurance. The trailer in question is old, its a 73, so its not as though its a fancy matching trailer or anything. Could this be done?


  • #2
    Re: Import a boat to Canada

    This thread might help:
    http://forums.iboats.com/showthread....ghlight=canada

    Trailers must be safetyed by a licensed shop or person in Canada. How is your insurance agent gonna insure without it being safetyed? How are you gonna get it registered without it being safetyed? How yo gonna do the above when the trailer is in the states?

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    • #3
      Re: Import a boat to Canada

      I just went through bringing a boat into Canada.

      The biggest pain was the trailer and if I were to do it again, I would do the u-built route. But I would not do what you are suggesting. I don't screw with customs.

      If the trailer still has a visible VIN, then it should be no problem. As mine didn't, I had to get an assigned vin. Cost $25 to ICBC and $55 to Cdn tire. Plus they attached the vin to my winch post instead of the trailer. Guess I can't re-do my winch post now. 3 trips to the insurance agent (she was kinda cute though, so I didn't mind much) who really didn't know how to do it.

      If there is a next time, I would still get the separate bills of sale, but would likely register the trailer as a u-built once I am back in Canada.

      I have done the u-built before (snowmobile trailer) and it was never inspected, but I also reported it for what I paid for it.
      1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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      • #4
        Re: Import a boat to Canada

        I called a few agents they just ask what kind of trailer and give you insurance for it. As for it being in the states the agent wouldn't need to know about that just register a U-built here, go south with the plate and put it on the trailer. It doesnt have a visible VIN, it was on a sticker that fell off or was painted over years ago.

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        • #5
          Re: Import a boat to Canada

          As I said, I don't screw with customs. Never worth the risk in my opinion.
          1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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          • #6
            Re: Import a boat to Canada

            Canada customs might not let the trailer in the country if it doesn't have a visible VIN. You would have to play poker with customs and tell them you took the trailer down to pick up a boat. Quite a risk. pita if you ask me if you get caught. Get separate bills for boat and trailer. You will have to pay the gst and pst on the boat at the boarder and just gst on the trailer. Put a value on the trailer of a couple hundred bucks and pay tax on that. When you register the trailer in Canada then you will pay pst on the trailer value. Also the trailer will have to go through the RIV program in Canada and that will cost you a couple of hundred bucks. Again a real pain if you don't have a VIN. At Canadian tire they will verify the VIN and the tire carrying capacity. If you feel brave, try the home built option but it could be lots of trouble if you get caught.

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            • #7
              Re: Import a boat to Canada

              If you get caught, you could loose the trailer and the boat. The burdon of proof is on you, they can make any decisions they like and you have to abide by them. do it properly or you could end up real sorry. I live right beside the border and import stuff all the time.....always legally!!!


              dean

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              • #8
                Re: Import a boat to Canada

                Originally posted by MaxOD View Post
                Canada customs might not let the trailer in the country if it doesn't have a visible VIN.
                I found customs was not too concerned about the trailer. They never looked at it. May be different at a different time/border etc.

                You would have to play poker with customs and tell them you took the trailer down to pick up a boat. Quite a risk. pita if you ask me if you get caught.
                Yeah. Good luck with that. Remember, what you are suggesting is a criminal act so make sure you are always on the lookout for them for years after.
                Get separate bills for boat and trailer. You will have to pay the gst and pst on the boat at the boarder and just gst on the trailer. Put a value on the trailer of a couple hundred bucks and pay tax on that. When you register the trailer in Canada then you will pay pst on the trailer value.
                I split mine $500 for the trailer and $2,700 for the boat/motor. Was what I paid and was a fair allocation.


                Also the trailer will have to go through the RIV program in Canada and that will cost you a couple of hundred bucks. Again a real pain if you don't have a VIN. At Canadian tire they will verify the VIN and the tire carrying capacity.
                Not sure what the RIV is. I had to get a BC assigned VIN. $25 to ICBC and $55 to Cdn tire to install the VIN. Then PST on the $500, $18 registration fee and about $45 for a years insurance. If I had tried the u-built, I could have saved $80 and a lot of hassle.


                If you feel brave, try the home built option but it could be lots of trouble if you get caught.
                Out of all he's thinking of trying, this strikes me as the least risky. As long as the PST is paid on the whole price somehow, and he's not trying to not pay the appropriate taxes.
                1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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                • #9
                  Re: Import a boat to Canada

                  I think I am going to just avoid the risk and bring it across properly and send them the titles for both beforehand. The VIN was on a sticker which apparently is gone or washed out, so will that be a problem at the border? I couldnt find one anyway

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                  • #10
                    Re: Import a boat to Canada

                    I'd talk to your insurance agent first.

                    In BC, you have to get the unassigned VIN. And extra $80 or so, but a bit of a PITA. If I knew ahead of time what the process would have been, I could have done it in one or two trips to the insurance agent, but it took me 3 (partly because my agent wasn't clear on the process, and partly because she was cute).

                    I think knowing ahead of time what is needed, it really would not have been that big a deal.

                    But that is for BC.

                    And everything else was pretty easy. The boat registration numbers was about a half hour at the local govt office (same office as EI) and the border was easy as well. If the boat is off a Craigslist ad or something, print the ad out and have it with you as evidence of the amount paid. The one kid was kinda wondering about what I paid and if I had the ad it would have made him happier.
                    1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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                    • #11
                      Re: Import a boat to Canada

                      I have been told that i would have to fax both titles to the US customs 72 hours before, however i just now recieved an E-mail from the U.S. Vehicle Export Office saying they dont export boats or trailers, and just continue to Canada Customs.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Import a boat to Canada

                        Crap. That could be correct.

                        The age of the boat matters.

                        Mine was a 1977 so I did not have to send anything to US customs, but the guy I was with also bought a Honda Shadow motorcycle and he did need to stop on the US side. I THINK the cutoff is 1985 but I am not sure and my buddy (who also recently brought a boat into Canada) is away enjoying his new boat. I don't remember if he had to do the 72 hour thing or not.
                        1977 Starcraft 18' SS 1980 Evin 115

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                        • #13
                          Re: Import a boat to Canada

                          Originally posted by Mazdarx View Post
                          I have been told that i would have to fax both titles to the US customs 72 hours before, however i just now recieved an E-mail from the U.S. Vehicle Export Office saying they dont export boats or trailers, and just continue to Canada Customs.
                          That's the right advice. The only time you need to notify the US customs folks in advance is if you are going to export a "road going, self-propelled vehicle" which obviously excludes boats and trailers.

                          Brought my Scout up from North Carolina two years ago. It was stressful only becuase I couldn't get a straight answer from any level of govt on either side until I actually turned up with it. Then it was lickety split.

                          On the Canadian side they didn't even look out the window, never mind actually inspect anything up close. Discovered later there were flares on board. Not sure if that would have qualified as an explosive device or not. I was also towing with a rented Uhaul cube van. It was empty except for the boat seats and a spare tire for the trailer I picked up. It could have contained a thousand pounds of blow and a skid of handguns for all they knew. I'm too honest for my own good...

                          Here's a pic of me departing the bank in NC where the previous owner and I exchanged the cash then transferred the trailer from his hitch to mine on the rented cube van for the two day drive north.
                          Give me a picture and a thousand words!


                          2004 Scout Dorado 175 Dual Console
                          Yamaha 90 4-Stroke

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                          • #14
                            Re: Import a boat to Canada

                            So if they don't even look at it, then it shouldn't be a problem that the VIN isn't visible anymore? Also, I had already asked the seller to fax the copies of the titles to the border, but i guess it couldn't hurt to send them anyway. This doesnt sound like it will be too difficult actually

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