Australian Customs and Quarantine (AQIS) requirements for Importing Boats, Boats on trailers & non motorised vessels
NB: We are not the Australian Government we are private company that happens to be involved in international shipping, Australian customs clearance and marine insurance.
What do we do:
Well your job is to find the boat and or trailer
You apply for import permit for the trailer
You send us email supplying all your details, your sellers details and a
heads up on the boat you are buying.
We will send an introduction email to our overseas representatives and copy
you and your seller in so that everybody is formally introduced, then we
step back and let the overseas seller and our overseas rep talk ling-ling,
wing-wing in their own time zone.
Our rep will come back to you and advise methodology and price so you
don't have to wait for us to get back into the office, very straight
forward and you send money direct to the Buyer for purchase and money
direct to our overseas rep for all the overseas logistics and ocean freight.
Our job is to provide you with Marine Insurance so if you have an issue
you pick up the phone and get us and not some Indian call centre plus
when your pride and joy arrives we
do the Australian Customs and A.Q.I.S clearance and you pay us.
So easy, its not funny.
1. Import Permit for Trailers & Vehicles.
You are required to obtain an import permit from the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport
You do not need an import permit if boat comes on a cradle.
If you are going to get a wooden/timber cradle made make sure the timber
is treated timber and is stamped accordingly with ISPM 15 and that you have treatment
You may wish to visit our page Import Declarations and Application Forms to
see other pdf documents you may need.
2.Import Duty & G.S.T
If boat is NZ or USA made you will NOT pay Import Duty but
you have to pay G.S.T
(NZ as per C.E.R agreement
signed between former prime ministers Muldoon and Frasier)
Or America under Free Trade Agreement signed off by Bush and Howard
All other countries You will have to pay Australian Import Duty and G.S.T.
Australian Import Duty is 5 % on vessels / boats under 150 m/t Gross Construction
Over 150 m/t Gross Construction Weight DUTY FREE
If your vessel / boat is classified as a commercial venture to generate income you can claim back the GST
The Australian Customs Department have set the Duty Rate at
5% and G.S.T 10% on the landed price in Australia (landed price means
purchase price, ocean freight and 1/4 of 1 % for Marine Insurance even
though you may not have take out insurance) ... You have a product that can be sold in Australia that's why you pay
Import Duty and G.S.T to Australian Customs via us when we do the Customs
For the umpteen thousand time a boat or boat on trailer or vehicle is
not classified as Personal Effects or for Personal Use unless you have
owned and used said item for more than 12 months (the magic words are
owned and used so that means you have been living overseas for more than
12 months and you can show you owned and used said boat, trailer or vehicle
for more than 12 months overseas. Now having said that you have owned and
used boat, trailer and vehicle for more than 12 months you will still
pay Import Duty and G.S.T.
3. Air-conditioning and or Refrigeration:
The Australian Federal Government are
still looking at ways of making money over the climate change bullshit
in Copenhagen so they are going to milk you for an import permit. They will want to charge you a AUD $3,000.00 for multiply items to be
imported within a set time or AUD $400.00 for one off item. Originally
everybody had R12 Gas (CFC) and then came along R134A (HCFC) now they
found something that else that should be used for air-conditioning and
We recommend you get your boat dealer or a third party who is involved
in air-conditioning and or refrigeration to inspect said boat and write
an inspection report on their letterhead stating NO air- conditioning or
refrigeration found on this boat or said boat was degassed and said unit
You may choose to visit http://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/ozone/legislation/index.html to get all the available info and get clarity before you purchase your boat.
You may also visithttp://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/ozone/licences/vehicle-import.html they have an online application form etc.
4. Australian Quarantine (A.Q.I.S) Wood or Timber:
This is where you get smacked pretty
hard with Quarantine inspection charges per 1/2 hour
Wood or timber can refer to decking, trim, the aft floor board
which is often removable so you can flush out the bung holes
You need to make sure your said boat (your pride and joy) arrives in Australia schmick, clean, virginal, above reproach otherwise you have moved passed the first wife who has taken you for 50 % off your hard worked assets, you didn't see the second wife (can you remember her name) she got you for 25 % and the third who is lining up for the 12.5 % .... so just to make my point A.Q.I.S is every one of those wives rolled into one .... suffice to say you should put one vacuumed packed transparent condom over your boat.
If your boat is an open boat been
shipped on our car ship or on a flat rack, do your self a favour
and get industrial strength transparent glad wrap and cover the
boat. Why! So that any potential thief can see you've got
nothing worth stealing and will not cut a hole or tear the
wrapping to have a look.
When it turns up in Australia, A.Q.I.S can see that the boat is
clean free of debris and pass your boat.
If you have used a tarpaulin or boat cover quite often they have
been tampered with which means debris has found its way inside
the boat and you will be up for wharf storage, cleaning and A.Q.I.S
For a ball park costing try the set up costs for first term semester at
If your boat can be packed inside 20ft
or 40ft general purpose fully enclosed container then you don't
need to wrap it however if you have used timber or wood for
bracing / packing and the boat has timber trim. Do yourself a
favour and get the container with the boat inside fumigated and get it done overseas before it
goes to the overseas wharf.
This will speed up the Australian quarantine clearance.
5. Anti Terrorism Legislation.
You can not go on the Australian waterfront to deliver your boat or vehicle or container, or attend customs or A.Q.I.S inspection or pick up your boat or vehicle or container, unless you have your M.I.S.C (Maritime Identification Security Card) which gets issued by A.S.I.O (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) and A.F.P Australian Federal Police)
You can get escorted onto the wharf by someone who has their MISC card but this is a long and convoluted process so you will have to sit this one out and realise that their are forces in the universe that don't want mankind to be responsible, thoughtful and accountable for their own actions.
If A.Q.I.S knock back your boat for a steam clean, fumigation, waste disposal or whatever you can expect a 3 and 1/2 week wait on the East Coast of Australia and 8 weeks in Fremantle (West Coast of Australia) . If you stay on the wharf the storage costs will take the oxygen out of your lungs, you will feel nausea and light heading as if you are climbing in the rarified air of Mount Everest .... the bottom line is you will have to pay the wharf before they release your boat or vehicle and even then you can't get on the wharf because you don't have an MISC card, talk about getting hemorrhoids.
We suggest the following alternative .... that is to get a Customs under bond entry, book a transport company who is registered with the wharf and whose drivers have their MISC cards (you will have to pay for 2 days wharf storage) and get your boat, trailer & vehicle off to one of the local bond stores who have A.Q.I.S approved wash bay facilities. The bond stores live in the real world even though your boat, trailer & vehicle will have to wait 3 and 1/2 weeks (East Coast Australia) once it's been washed you can come down for the A.Q.I.S re-inspection (bond stores operated by Patricks and P&OTA will not let in until the unit is Customs and A.Q.I.S cleared) so you need to get the fair dickum Aussie bond store operators as they seem to grasp the fact that your kids have finally left home at 28 years old and this is your baby and you want to see it as soon as possible so you can get an understanding where all your new found wealth went to (hello, I suddenly have money after all these years).
Once A.Q.I.S have signed off you will have to
wait an hour or two for it come through on the ICS electronic system so
you are best to go off and get a cuppa tea, coffee or something and then
come back with dealer plates or road permit or your own truck so you can
drive out the bond stores gate.
If you have your wits about you and the A.Q.I.S officer has his/her
manual stamp you can ask the A.Q.I.S officer to stamp and sign the
A.Q.I.S Direction. This is considered a manual clearance you will be
required to present this to the delivery clerk at the bond store. (Note:
some depots will not play the game and will ask you to wait till the
comes through electronically)
6. Brand New Boats Vs Second Hand Boats
A brand new boat is one that was manufactured,
built and shipped out of the overseas country within 60 days.
The Commercial Invoice and Packing List will have to show the
manufacturing or production date and our ships bill of lading or waybill
will have the date the ship left the overseas port. In other words its
grade 1 mathematics you subtract one from the other to establish 60
Now having a brand new boat is a wise choice and will make it that much easier when it comes to Quarantine inspections. A.Q.I.S will suddenly go from been your ex-wife's lawyer ie.. they will take their foot off your throat so that you actually grasp the reality that you can finally breathe and will get your boat within days without any more money coming out of your pocket .. hooray for small mercies.
Actually probably spoke to soon .. you will need to pay for the transport company to go into the wharf to get your boat (remember the Shappelle Corby 4.1 ounces of marijuana anti-terrorism legislation that basically gave the whole shipping industry (importers, exporters, custom brokers, transport, shipping, fumigation companies and insurance assessors) a paranormal headache.
For the USA Market
If you get hooked on the internet seeing
those so called magical cheap prices on boats in America
Do your self a favour the quickest way for a heads up price without
annoying us and thereby saving your marriage is to get the Internet
price and x (times) by 3 (three) that should cover the purchase price,
internal transport within USA, packing 20ft or 40ft container, USA
Customs Clearance, cartage to USA wharf, USA stevedoring, ocean freight,
Fuel levy, Australian
stevedoring, cartage, unpacking, Australian Customs and Quarantine (AQIS)
clearance and GST.
And for our middle eastern Australian's (Sydney slang for the good folk
from Lebanon) who tell me adfinitum, Ooooh
matee I brought a boat for a US$1.00 so will you ship it for US$3.00
well I am pleased that you got your boat on special from Toys R Us just for you so do
yourself a favour and put a postage stamp on it and post it. And that
goes for fella's who say they can buy a 30ft boat for US$2,000.00 get a
life will you .. a boat of that length means a beam (width) greater than
8ft (2.4 m) so its not going to get in a 40ft container so no way can
you apply the x 3 (three times) rule.
The Australian dollar is getting stronger against the US$ so when the Aussie dollar starts going over US$1.00 then the 3 (three) times rule starts dropping to 2.5
If you purchase your boat in USA from a
registered business, great ... because they can state said boat is
American made and they can issue the Free Trade Certificate (FTA) certificate of origin (required
as per Australian / USA free trade agreement) ......... No Import Duty,
I shall repeat that: No Import Duty. The boat dealer will work in with
our USA shipping rep who will give you the FTA certificate of origin or
explain how you can secure one.
E Bay customers please don't bother talking to or emailing us .. the
American E Bay sellers do not work or operate in the same business hours
as our American Shipping representatives, (E Bay sellers work after
hours or in weekends) American E Bay seller expect you or us to pick up
your boat, trailer or vehicle from their location, E Bay sellers are known to
charge you storage while you wait the mandatory 28 days for your boat
trailer import permit to come through from Australia's Dept of
We will not ship your boat on trailer or trailer
or vehicle until you send us a copy of the Dept of Infrastructure Import
Permit by email or fax .. the bottom line is we don't need the
agro and temper tantrums when it arrives in Australia because you don't have
the Import Permit ... your choice is to pay the wharf storage which is
equivalent to ongoing divorce and alimony costs or you will be told in
no uncertain terms by Customs via the Dept of Infrastructure to ship it out of Australia say to PNG or NZ ... you can not take it to the dump, scrap yard or
join the bottom of the harbour tax avoidance schemes, although having
said that you could netherless make it
a 50/50 deduction when you come to the divorce .. You and I mean You,
can pay for costs to ship it out of the country and re-apply for
another Import permit .. your choice is Papua New Guinea, New Zealand or
since your goods are now untouchable, you might as well ship it to the
French Nuclear testing site at Moruroa Atoll and join all the other
items ....... So you have been told, get the Import Permit so don't come whinging to us.
America do not have our container swing lift trucking system that drives
out to your nominated premises and places said shipping container on the
ground, leaves and comes back a couple of days later to pick up the full
container. So you will have to make arrangements to work with our
American Shipping agents to transport your pride and joy to one of our
nominated container packing depots in America (and NO you can not come
into our American depots and pack your vehicle or boat unless you are
member of the Longshoreman's union) if you wish to use / pack our
shipping container you
will have to find another location that's got container forklifts or
whatever it is you need.
It costs $130,000.00 to bring a ship into port
and $20,000.00 a day so we are not going to do a milk run around all the
ports of USA just for you. So listen up.
Container Ships that go direct to Australia East Coast
ports (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) go in and out of:
West Coast Ports: Los Angeles (also known as Long Beach), San
Francisco, Seattle or Tacoma (they alternate between these ports) and
East Coast Ports: New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Savannah
The USA have a major intermodal rail/road network so if you happen to find Noah's Ark in Montana after the great flood you can truck your pride and joy to the nearest intermodal hub, get it flat packed at the nearest container depot and rail it to one of the nominated ports for shipping to Australia.
Western Australian Buyers ... you are
going to do it tough, there is no direct container shipping service from
USA to Fremantle. You will have to work with our USA representative and
they will use a trans-shipping service via Asia most often Singapore.
Right then, lets talk containers sizes as a rule of thumb the 6 m (20ft) container internal measurement at the container door is 5.85 m long x 2.25 m wide x 2.35 m high a 12 m (40ft) internals are 11.9 m long x 2.25 m wide x 2.35 m high
So if your boat can not go inside the container
your next option is the Car Ships (so you will need a trailer or cradle)
Car Ships that go direct to Australian ports (Brisbane,
Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle) go in and out of
West Coast Ports: Los Angeles and Grays Harbour
East Coast Ports: Baltimore and Savannah
There is a trans-shipment Car Ship service to
West Coast Ports: Los Angeles to Panama and then to Australia
East Coast Ports: New York, Baltimore and Jacksonville via Africa
The BIG Tip about dealing with American's .... They do not answer emails, they are a phone culture and they have no idea of world time. So set your phone to go direct to your voice mail message that's say's "Hi Chuck, it's night time in Australia so speak to the phone and tell me your phone number"
Now if you happen to pick up a girlfriend between your wives get her to leave a very sexy seductive voice mail message ... "Hi Chucky, your aussie mate is spending some time with me tonight so leave your phone number so I can ring you back."
I can tell you with an aussie woman's voice on your answering machine
the Americans will be ringing you in normal business hours.
Remember .... Americans do not answer emails
For the New Zealand Market
The Car Ships only go from Auckland to Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle
Container Ships call into Auckland, The Mount (Tauranga) Napier, Wellington, Lyttelton (Christchurch) Port Chalmers (Dunedin) Nelson and come to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle
For the UK / Europe Market
The Car Ships go from Southampton, Bremerhaven, Antwerp to Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle
Container Ships call into the UK Ports
of Felixstowe, Tilbury, Thamesport, Southampton:
European Ports Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp:
trans-shipment container services operate for Dublin, Oslo, Gothenburg,
Turku Copenhagen, Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseilles, Le Harve, La Spezia,
Genoa, Pireaus, Valletta, Koper via Asia either Singapore, Port Kelang
So now that you have read everything and you are a full book on the subject Go ahead and click here for on-line quote
For Commercial Importers
If you wish to import boats as a commercial business operation .. that's fine .. you just pay all the costs and charges as they fall due in the logistical chain.
You can bring as many new boats as you like.
For Personal Importers:
For folk who are migrating to Australia
and wish to state they have owned and used said boat on trailer for
more than 12 months and want to say its personal effects ... You are
essentially doing this to get the import permit for the trailer.
It doesn't really matter whether it comes under Personal Imports or Commercial Imports you still pay Import Duty (except USA /NZ made) and G.S.T. Vessels of a kind designed principally for use in sheltered waters for sport or recreation, being vessels conforming to one of the following specifications
Boats of a kind propelled by manual or pedal power.
Sailing Boats that:
Do not exceed 1,000 kilograms unladen weight.
Do not incorporate any device for propelling the boat by power for example an auxiliary motor.
Are not of the deep keel type.
Powered boats that:
A. Do not exceed 7 metres in length overall
B. Do not exceed 2.5 metres in width at any section and
C.Do not exceed 1,250 kilograms unladen weight when imported with driving units and transmissions or 800 kilograms unladen weight when imported
1. Only one article selected from each of the three groups
listed above will be allowed per family per 3 years
2. In each case an officer of customs shall be satisfied
a. The arriving person has come to Australia with the intention of forthwith taking up or
resuming permanent residency
b. The goods have been for the whole of the period of 12 months immediately proceeding
the arriving person's
departure for Australia, personally owned and used overseas by the arriving person
3. In respect of a vessel specified in group C security
shall be given by the arriving person to and to the
satisfaction of an officer of customs that the goods will not be sold or otherwise
disposed of in Australia by or behalf of the arriving person, within 2 years after the
date of its entry for home consumption.
Please feel free to contact us at Australia Trade & Shipping.
+61 8 8463 1800
+61 3 8804 1700
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I wish a safe and prosperous journey for you and your loved ones.