Gift Icon
Get a 20% discount from our partners! Discount code will get added automatically when you submit the form.
Auto Transport Truck on Highway
4.7 Star Rating4.7 (67,926 reviews)
96.3% positive
No Surprises, Just Savings: Verified Carriers, Instant Quotes, and Best Price Guarantee!
You save 20% compared to other companies
Get quotes from trusted carriers, thoroughly vetted and fully insured. Enjoy trackable deliveries, fair pricing, and hassle-free transport from start to finish. Transport any type of vehicle and drive away worry-free.
Customer Images
7790 people shipped using A-1 Auto Transport last week
Scratch-Free Guarantee
Vetted Carriers
Transparent Costs
Customer Ratings By Feature
Value for Money ★★★★★ 4.9
Vehicle Care ★★★★★ 4.9
Fast Delivery ★★★★★ 4.9
Friendly Staff ★★★★★ 4.9
Dave loved the fast deliveryDave C.
Dave loved the fast delivery
My relocation to Chicago was fast, smooth and without any delay thanks to A1 Auto.
Courtney enjoyed the honest guidanceCourtney J.
Courtney enjoyed the honest guidance
Just what you need when trusting someone with your wheels! Kudos to this company!
Jeff enjoyed the fair priceJeff D.
Jeff enjoyed the fair price
Moved my ride hassle-free with these folks.Fair pricing, no surprises. Definitely recommend them!
Maria enjoyed the special care and safetyMaria L.
Maria enjoyed the special care and safety
Huge thanks to the movers – they were meticulous with my car. Love these guys.
Recently featured on USA Today

“A1 Auto Transport became synonymous with top-notch service delivery, unfailing punctuality and constantly preoccupied with customer satisfaction.

See Article— USA Today

What is the Most Important Duty on a Boat?

Published by Tamar Hela.

What's in this article?
  1. Import Duty Rates on Boats and Their Impact
  2. The Customs Clearance Process for Boats
  3. Additional Costs and Considerations for Boat Owners
  4. Final Thoughts
What is the Most Important Duty on a Boat?

Understanding import duties and the customs clearance process for boats is essential to owning, selling, or working in the marine industry. Import duties and tariffs can significantly impact the bottom-line costs for both boat builders and owners.

With proper knowledge and planning, navigating duties and clearance is achievable but often complex.

This blog aims to overview current duty rates on boats, analyze their effects, outline the customs process, and explore considerations and future implications for the industry.


Import Duty Rates on Boats and Their Impact

Import duties are taxes imposed by customs authorities on products brought into a country from abroad. They are designed to protect domestic industries from foreign competition and raise government revenue. In the United States, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) establishes the duty rates applied to boats and watercraft.

Currently, there are differing duty rates applied depending on boat type:

  • Sailboats and motorboats other than outboard motorboats are subject to a 1.5% duty rate.
  • Outboard motorboats receive a slightly lower 1% duty.
  • Inflatable vessels like dinghies have a 2.4% duty applied.
  • Canoes are the exception, with no import duty applied.
  • Rowboats and boats not intended for motor/sail use enter at a 2.7% duty rate.

These duties can significantly impact boat pricing.

For example, a $50,000 sailing yacht would incur $750 in duties before other fees. Even small duty increases on components like engines could impact production costs for boat builders. Retaliatory tariffs from other nations also pose challenges, especially for American exporters facing higher costs to sell overseas.

The duties primarily aim to support domestic boat manufacturing.

However, critics argue they also restrict consumer choice and impact independent builders relying on foreign materials. With boating a recreational luxury, higher prices could deter new participants and stagnate overall industry growth over time. Protectionism also raises ethical issues in international trade.

Still, duties play an important role in geopolitics and maintaining a level of economic playing field.

Understanding the process and costs upfront allows buyers and sellers to mitigate the impact of duties. While some costs cannot be avoided, working with experienced customs brokers can help streamline clearance.

Overall, duties represent just one consideration among many in global boat commerce and will likely continue evolving with wider trade policies.

The Customs Clearance Process for Boats

Importing any vessel into the United States involves securing necessary documentation and clearing customs regulations. The first step is working with a licensed customs broker who can guide their client through compliance requirements. They will help classify the boat under the appropriate HTS code to determine the accurate duty rate.

All required entry paperwork must be filed electronically in advance via the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system. This includes a completed entry summary form with purchase/import details, estimated duties owed, and evidentiary documents like bills of lading.

Safety equipment like life jackets must also meet domestic standards.

For vessels over 5 net tons, a certificate of documentation from the US Coast Guard may also be necessary.

If arriving by land or sea, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will inspect the vessel upon entry. Potential issues could involve under-declared values or non-compliant gear requiring repairs before release. Once examinations are clear and duties/fees are paid, the boat can operate domestically.

Trailers introduce extra steps since trailers technically count as separate imports. Additional forms and verifying trailer specs meet US design and equipment regulations are needed. Arranging roadworthy certification from a dealer can help expedite the process.

With oversight, the clearance process generally moves efficiently, thanks to established systems and professional help. However, unanticipated hurdles can arise, so early engagement with customs is wise for any significant boat importation.

Working closely with a customs broker minimizes headaches and allows a smooth entry.


Additional Costs and Considerations for Boat Owners

While import duties are a core cost, other fees also factor into boat ownership after import. Sales tax will apply upon domestic purchase and varies by state, often ranging from 5-10% on the total purchase price, including duties paid. Some states also assess annual personal property taxes on boats.

Foreign-flagged vessels tend to face additional requirements if staying long-term. Most nations require non-resident boats to obtain cruising permits or similar documents authorizing visits/stays of over 180 days. The United States operates a similar system—a cruising license from the US Coast Guard may be needed depending on ownership details and intended use.

Other potential duty implications come from personal articles imported on private boats. Items like vehicles, RVs, or equipment face their duty rates when entered for non-commercial use. While some personal exemptions apply, values are usually combined for one entry. Duty planning grows more complex for very large or heavily equipped vessels.

Sales of used boats further complicate matters since prior duty treatments must be verified. Brokers assist sellers in determining whether a vessel qualifies for duty-free disposition if re-exported within the established time frame.
For buyers, carefully reviewing import history helps them understand future tax obligations and avoid surprises.


Final Thoughts

Navigating import requirements involves more than a single transaction—it represents ongoing participation within complex economic frameworks. While duties introduce unavoidable costs upfront, exploring options helps minimize impacts for builders and buyers alike. The expertise of experienced customs brokers further streamlines compliance according to established regulations and procedures.

With trade dynamics continuously evolving, flexibility and awareness of proposed changes allow the recreational boating industry to foresee challenges and capitalize on new opportunities.

Prioritizing stakeholder engagement also helps draft duty structures favoring business growth and consumer choice. When approached strategically, import duties need not hinder international maritime commerce but can facilitate its advancement in a balanced, sustainable manner.

Need a safe, reliable way to ship your boat? Let A1 Auto Transport handle the haul.

Don't risk your boat's well-being to unreliable carriers. Let the shipping pros at A1 Auto Transport handle your next haul. Get your free quote now and relax, knowing your vessel is safe.

Share this content on social media for a chance to get up to 20% off your next shipment.
Copy link

Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Email Me

Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

Visit our social, and see what our clients are saying about us:

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today
Get an instant free Quote Now

Or Call Us Today and Speak Directly to Our Sales Team:

Call Us 1-888-230-9116

Our Partners:

Better Business Bureau Accredited
FMCSA Member
INC. 500 Member
VeriSign Secured
AMSA Member

A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
Copyright © 1988-2024, A-1 Auto Transport - All Rights Reserved.