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  • Olivia Schneiderhan

Close the Deal: Boat Registrations, Titles, Documents, & More.

Finalizing the transfer of ownership for your vessel, whether it's a cherished family cruiser, an impressive poweryacht, or anything in between, demands attention to crucial paperwork.

Anticipating and gathering the necessary documents ahead of time will ensure a seamless transaction process, avoiding any unnecessary delays. While notarization to authenticate your signature might not be obligatory, it is a recommended step to safeguard the authenticity of the process.

State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Kickstart the process by liaising with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or the relevant agency responsible for boat sales. This step will provide clarity on the specific documentation required from your end. Many agencies furnish comprehensive checklists on their official websites, ensuring you have a detailed roadmap.

Bill of Sale

The cornerstone of the process, the bill of sale, contains essential particulars such as the vessel's description, hull number, purchase date, agreed-upon price, and the formal endorsement of both the buyer and seller. Crafting this document is typically the responsibility of the seller, and while a customized bill of sale is common, adaptable templates designed for automobiles can be tailored to fit the specifics of your boat transaction.

Boat Titles

Boat titles are regulated by the state and are reissued with every change in ownership. If there's an existing loan against your boat, the title will encompass this detail, and the new owner won't be able to complete registration until the loan is fully resolved. Coordination with your lienholder is vital to comprehend the requisite paperwork and the timeline involved – clearing the loan balance might be a prerequisite.

Additional Documentation

Augmenting the core documents are supplementary records like warranty cards, meticulous maintenance history, and any other pertinent paperwork. Ensuring these records are handed over during the final sale reinforces your commitment to transparency. Upon the successful conclusion of the sale, it's essential to notify your insurance provider of the transaction. Some insurers may even allow you to retroactively apply the cancellation to the sale date, mitigating any potential coverage gaps.

Considerations for Boat Trailers

For boats accompanied by trailers, additional paperwork and registration steps may apply. It's advisable to thoroughly research your state's regulations and procedures pertaining to boat trailers. A well-structured approach to trailer-related documentation ensures a comprehensive conclusion to the boat sale, enhancing the overall buyer experience.

Document Checklist

Please note that the following comprehensive list serves as a foundational guide and might not encompass every document pertinent to your specific situation. To obtain an exhaustive list of requisites, it's recommended to consult the state agency overseeing boat sales in your jurisdiction.


Essential Boat Sales Documents for a Seamless Transition

  • Bill of Sale (Notarized)

  • Title

  • Verification of Loan Settlement

  • Trailer Registration

  • Trailer Title

Additional Documentation to Enhance Transparency

  • Warranty Cards

  • Detailed Maintenance Records

Post-Sale Procedures

  • Initiate Insurance Cancellation

  • Remove All Sale Advertisements

Embark on your boat selling journey well-prepared, and navigate through the final steps with confidence. Your successful boat sale is just around the corner.


Ready to begin searching for your dream yacht?

At Calm Seas Yachting, we simplify the boat buying and selling process, saving you valuable time and effort. Our team of experts will help guide you every step of the way.


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