5 steps to transfer boat registration or title paper

If you are considering buying a used boat, you may be wondering what steps to take to transfer the boat registration or title records.

To begin with, it is important to understand that a boat registration is technically non-transferrable. In some states the registration number may be transferred to the new owner (if available), but the new owner of the boat will always receive new registration documents submitted using the new owner’s name and contact information.

The title of a boat, on the other hand, is transferable from one owner to the next. These are some of the steps you might need to take when completing a boot title transfer.

  1. Check with the Fish and Wildlife Service or Motor Vehicle Department in your state to make sure you understand the laws that apply to transferring a boat title. Most states have similar requirements for boat title transfers as they do for a car title transfer.
  2. Before you can transfer the title of your purchased used boat to your name, the seller must complete and sign the transfer section on the back of the title. You will also need to find out if your state requires that this step be done in the presence of a notary public.
  3. Complete a title application with a tax collector or license plate agent. States that require boat titles provide an application form that you must fill out with your name, address, and other important information about the boat you purchased.
  4. Pay all title fees, registration fees, and sales tax.
  5. After transferring the boat title, keep your title in a safe place at home.

Note that some states (such as Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire, and North Dakota) do not require a boat title or require transferring documentation for the boat title. In these cases, the buyer should receive the detailed sales contract from the seller and copies of the sales contracts, which will be returned to the owner of the record and the registration card issued by the original state if the boat is registered in an untitled state.

While there is no need to complete a boat registration transfer, you will need to keep your boat registration records on board your newly purchased vessel. Part of learning boating is making sure you have valid title and registration documents that meet the requirements of your state.


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