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Boat Titles & Vessel Registry
Buying or selling a boat requires some amount of paperwork and documentation, ranging from a boat title and proof of ownership to a boat bill of sale agreement and other similar related contracts, documents and certificates. Specific requirements for documenting your vessel vary from state to state and larger more expensive yachts may require more documentation than smaller boats. Specialist companies like YachtCloser, as well as professional yacht brokers and boat dealerships, can handle some or all of this process, making life easier for both the boat buyer and seller.
What is a documented vessel?
A documented vessel is one that has been federally registered through an application process with the U.S. Coast Guard, via either the National Vessel Documentation Center or an authorized third party. Typically vessels over 26 feet in length may obtain a Certificate of Documentation, while vessels over 5 tons are required to have one.
Do I need to document my boat?
If you’re planning to finance your boat purchase, most lenders will require documentation to secure the mortgage. For smaller boats under 26 feet in length, a title and proof of ownership may be enough to satisfy many of the lender’s requirements. However, loans for larger vessels will often require a US Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation which under Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations can help secure a “Preferred Ship Mortgage”. Some states may require both a US Coast Guard certificate and a state registration to operate a motorized vessel on public waterways.
Do you need a bill of sale to sell a boat?
Most if not all states require a bill of sale be signed by both the buyer and seller in order to complete the sale. In many cases, the title itself acts as the bill of sale, used to transfer ownership of the vessel from one party to another.
Can you title a boat with a bill of sale?
In most states, in order to obtain a new boat title, you’ll typically need the existing title from the previous owner – although some states may accept just a bill of sale with the existing HIN (hull identification number). If the title has been lost or misplaced you will likely have to apply for a new title through a separate process before you can move on to the registration process. Most titles have language on them that indicates the seller is releasing the vessel to the buyer.
How do you register a boat?
The laws and requirements for registering a boat also vary by state, however, most boats with mechanical propulsion will need to be registered. In many states, the existing title can be signed over to the new owner, who then takes it to the Department of Motor Vehicles (or the Department of Natural Resources, or a Fisheries and Wildlife Service) along with any relevant forms, where they can apply for a new title and registration. Any required taxes must be paid before new documents will be issued.
Can I register a boat in another state?
If you are selling or buying a boat to someone from another state, there may be a bit more paperwork involved, such as an application for boat registration of a hull number, but it’s usually not terribly difficult.
Can I get my boat registration online?
In some states, you can apply for a boat registration online, although if it is a new registration you will likely need to take the application to the facility in person along with the title and bill of sale. Renewing boat registrations can typically be done via mail or online in most states and your state’s DMV may also offer online, downloadable PDF versions of required forms.
Do you need a boat registration?
Again, this varies depending on state, but most states require any vessel with motorized propulsion to be registered. If you’re buying or selling a boat with a boat trailer, you’ll also need to transfer ownership of the trailer as well before the buyer can legally drive it away. Otherwise, the new owner will be driving the boat on the previous owner’s plates, thus making them liable in the event of an accident.
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5 – BOAT TITLES & VESSEL REGISTRY:
5.1 – Boat Titles & Registration.
5.2 – Vessel Registry: (Documentation, Licensing).
5.2.1 – Vessel Title Companies by Country.
5.2.1.^ – Vessel Title Companies: Canada.
5.2.1.^ – Vessel Title Companies: United Kingdom.
5.2.1.^ – Vessel Title Companies: United States.
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FROM Donald: "This is an awesome website. I found the information that I needed right away from one of the over 20,000 free articles that you provide as a public service. I'm surprised that so much if this site is free. But I still signed up so I could access the thousands of expanded pages, interesting articles, and dozens of valuable programs! The member's library of books, magazines and videos that I can view online is really terrific! I understand that you and your staff are all unpaid volunteers. Please keep up the good work. And I commend you for your plans to add another 10,000 free informative articles over the next year. I'm thrilled to support you in this endeavor with my small membership donation. Thanks again for all your hard work."
FROM Huey: "I agree with my Uncle, I too have found the articles to be very enlightening. They say that it will take about 100,000 articles to cover the full scope that they have envisioned for the website. They have over 20,000 articles so far and that's doing pretty well, but it could take several years to get the rest. I also noticed that many of the Main Topic Pages and some of the article pages are still in the rough draft stage. I guess that they will fill in as they can get volunteers to work on them. But what I can't figure out is why anyone would spend the time writing informative in depth articles just to give away free to this website for publication? What's in it for them?"
FROM Dewey: "Well Huey, to me It looks like most of the articles on this website are written by very informed people, like boating instructors, boat designers, boat builders, riggers, electricians, fitters, marine repair technicians and marine surveyors. Writing such articles helps establish them as knowledgeable professionals. After all, this website was originally created by a school for marine technicians and marine surveyors. The website is growing in content every day. They even had to move to a bigger, more powerful server because the website's traffic has been growing exponentially."
FROM Louie: "I agree with everyone above. This site is quickly becoming the ultimate reference resource about every aspect of boats and ships for everyone from the beginning recreational boater to the seasoned professional mariner. I use the topic pages on the right sidebar to browse around the website. It's like a Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook for Boaters. Their Members' Library of over 300 popular and obscure books and over 200 magazine back issues that can be viewed online is fabulous. The Academy's magazine is especially informative. On top of that, there is the "Ask-An-Expert program for members where you can get an expert's answer to any of your boat questions. And a whole years membership is only $25. What a deal! I really love being part of this "Everything About Boats" community and help provide thousands of helpful articles free to the public. I think that I'll sit down right now and write an article about my experiences boating with my uncle."
FROM Scrooge: "You rave about this website like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Well, I think it stinks. Sure, it has a lot of good information for boaters, and they're adding more every day, but it will probably never be finished. Furthermore, I don't even own a boat. And I wouldn't have a boat even if someone gave me one. Boats are a waste of money and time and energy and money! They're just a hole in the water you pour money into. If you gave me a boat, I'd sell it quicker then you could say Baggywrinkle. Then I'd lock up the cash with all my other money so I could keep my eye on it and count it every day. Bah humbug."
FROM Daisy: "I'm just so glad that Donald got the boat so we and the boys could enjoy boating — together. And of course all of the girls, April, May, and June, love to be on the water too, especially when that is where the boys are. Oh poor Scrooge, boating is more fun then you could possibly imagine."
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