All used boats, yachts, cars & trailers are subject to a mandatory quarantine inspection. Fumigation is an affective treatment to kill off any unwanted pests but does not stop Australian Quarantine from conducting their inspection on arrival, and therefore there is a possibility that they could still order additional cleaning, washing and / or fumigation.

AQIS have recently introduced new regulations for boats and yachts which sees most large boats and yachts ordered to a thermal imaging inspection. This is one of the beneficial procedures Australian Quarantine has introduced. This is mainly targeted to locate termites, is at a minimal cost and is also very important for you to know whether or not your boat or yacht is infested.

AQIS also request a travel log for larger boats and yachts travelling between countries and islands, this help quarantine determine which risk category your boat or yacht falls into. All large boats and yachts without the history are considered high risk.

Free Trade Agreements are only valid if they come from the manufacturer for you to be eligible to apply for the duty free concession. We carry a number of annual/blanket US Free trade agreements for varying manufacturers and models of boats and yachts.

Some US boat and yacht brands, are actually manufactured in plants in countries outside of the USA, for example the Brunswick Group manufacture large number of US boats in the USA, but also manufacture a smaller models of Bayliners and Maxums boats in Mexico. Therefore these models do not receive the duty exemption via the US free trade agreement. In most cases you can identify whether the boat or yacht is manufactured by the HIN’s first two digits. For example

MX – 1234 – ABCD – MX = Mexico
US – 1234 – ABCD – US = USA

Trailer Import Permits are now especially important since customs have recently changed their legislation and are working closer with DOTARS with the release on of any boats and yachts on trailers. Now it is VERY IMPORTANT that you have your trailer import application submitted prior to shipping your boat or yacht if its on a trailer. Customs WILL NOT release any boat or yacht on a trailer without a valid trailer import permit. DOTARS take a minimum of 3 weeks to process your application and during the busy summer periods they can take up to 8 weeks. Wharf storage is very expensive and varies from port to port, in the past we were able to use tilt tray trucks to pick up your boat or yacht on a trailer without a valid permit and take directly to mechanic to get a blue slip and registered before being driven on the RTA roads. This is no longer an option and no boat or yacht on a trailer imported into Australia will be released from customs control until it has a valid permit. This can change your bargain boat into a very expensive boat because of the applicable wharf storage costs.

Trailers are often the cause of an AQIS wash ordered by Australian Quarantine. Mud/dirt can flick up from the tyres under the mud guards and even onto the hull of the boat or yacht, this can happen on the way to the terminal after the boat or yacht and trailer have been cleaned. The mud guards are the first place all AQIS officers check during their inspection. It is important your boat or yacht and the trailer are pressure cleaned prior to shipping and arrive and the port in a clean state to avoid any additional AQIS Charges.

Water/rain left in the bilge is another common source for AQIS cleaning. If you ship as on deck cargo it is important to shrink wrap your boat or yacht to avoid this problem. AQIS will need to sterilise the water before they will release the boat or yacht at importers cost.

Leaves and seeds from trees can blow into your boat or yacht whilst in storage, or even on the way or even at the origin terminal. All leaves and seeds need to be removed and disposed of via AQIS approved disposal company which is at the importers cost. Shrink wrapping your boat or yacht is an effective way to avoid these issues.

Dimensions; Often private boat and yacht importers provide incorrect shipping dimensions for their boat or yacht. Your shipping costs are based on the volume and are charged per cubic metre in most cases therefore your price will change if you or your supplier/seller provide the wrong information. In a lot of cases the information comes from the seller but unfortunately it is the importers responsibility to provide the correct dimensions.

Import a boat and yacht

Private boat and yacht importers commonly forget to allow for the following

  1. The additional height added by a cradle or trailer
  2. The arm of the trailer which adds to the length (fold back arms can save costs)
  3. Separate pieces such as masts, keels, and rudders
  4. Outboard motors
  5. Swim platforms

Please ensure you allow for these when requesting your quote as shipping lines measure all cargo prior to shipping and cutting the bills of ladings.

Occasionally the shipping lines get the measurements wrong, we can request a remeasure by a marine surveyor on arrival which if the shipping lines measurements are correct you will have to pay for the marine surveyor otherwise if you are correct you will receive a credit for the freight and port charges charged on the difference on the measurements.

Written by Daryl McInTyre

8 Must-Do Steps Before Shipping Your Boat Successfully to Australia

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