By Dorie Cox
Yachts at Rybovich have found several ways to take advantage of the yard’s new U.S. Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) in West Palm Beach, Florida. The status was activated late last year in cooperation with Palm Beach County, according to Rybovich’s Francois van Well and alleviates duty and taxes on imported yachts in the zone, including foreign-flagged vessels.
“Some have used this to go to boat shows, like the Palm Beach show, rather than get the [boat show] bond,” van Well said. “Some have used it because their previous bond expired, so they rolled it into the foreign trade zone. And some have used it to show foreign-flagged vessel for U.S. sales.”
With advanced notice, staff at Rybovich make a request to county officials for activation for each yacht to use the zone.
“It is per the county, and they turn around requests on short notice, in a couple of days,” van Well said. “We can create a zone in any slip. We like to make it simple for the captain and owner, so instead of different fees we charge a slightly higher dockage rate and we roll all the fees in.”
There is no minimum duration of stay and the yard works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to adhere to FTZ rules.
“There are usual restraints like any other location, it is Customs driven, but it is super straightforward,” van Well said. “It’s a real easy procedure and that was our goal.”
The first recreational marine foreign trade zone in the United States was created in the Fort Lauderdale area and opened in the summer of 2017. Currently there are 16 facilities, known as subzones, which include Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Lauderdale Marine Center and National Marine Suppliers. The operator of the FTZ for the area is the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.
Several yachts have successfully completed transactions in the FTZ at Rybovich and van Well said yacht brokers like it.
“We have unique location with 80 boats here, it becomes a continual boat show,” he said. “That was not by design, but ended up happening this way.”
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comment below.