How to Get a Bill of Sale for Your Boat

bill of sale

Now is the time to consider getting a bill of sale for your U.S. Coast Guard-registered yacht to ensure your rights as the owner and your investment are safe. This will not only serve as additional proof of ownership in the event of a legal issue, but it will also provide peace of mind if you are denied a loan or insurance coverage owing to insufficient registration details. 

This page will guide you through the whole process of acquiring a bill of sale, from the first step of collecting information on your yacht to the last stage of submitting papers via the USCG. Follow along as we break down the steps necessary to draft and get a Bill of Sale for a vessel documented with the United States Coast Guard.

Make Sure You Have the Right Paperwork in Order

Getting the necessary paperwork when selling a yacht might take a lot of work. If you’re going to purchase a boat from someone, you’d better be ready to investigate to make sure they own it, or you may end up in some serious trouble. It’s only sometimes obvious how a boat purchase is legitimate. You need a bill of sale, similar to a sales receipt or title slip. 

It’s proof that the vendor has legitimately handed over the boat’s title to you. Because all it does is verify that the ownership has been transferred, a bill of sale doesn’t need any stamps or signatures from any authorities. It won’t affect your insurance (which you should keep up to date) or registration, but it might be helpful if there’s any doubt as to whether you own the boat you claim to.

Get it Notarized

You should get your bill of sale notarized as a first step in ensuring its legitimacy and validity. You may accomplish this in person, but having a notary public come to your home to witness the signatures may be more convenient if you sell your boat over state lines or if the buyer and seller live far apart. The notary will want to know what transaction you’re closing (this will be covered in the following section) and whether the title is in good standing before signing any documents. The notary will likely approve the transaction, even if this is your first time buying or selling a boat. All you need to know is that there will probably be some expenses involved if you want to transfer the title from one person to another, so continue.

Sign the Bill Of Sale with Both Parties Present

You may take two measures to prevent the unwanted sale or theft of your boat should you decide to sell it. One option is to have both parties sign a bill of sale. They will take legal possession of the item after a bill of sale has been signed. The presence of both parties is required for the execution of a bill of sale (or at least have signed a power of attorney to give someone else, like an escrow agent, legal authority). 

With the help of these services, you and the buyer may fill out a secure online form that will establish a contract and request payment before the item is sent. You may also visit numerous financial institutions (with a valid ID in hand) and ask the teller for a blank form to be printed out on the institution’s letterhead. After submitting this form with your and the buyer’s details, you may arrange payment using your bank’s online banking system or send a check.

bill of sale

Do Not Transfer Ownership Until All Parties Have Agreed on the Price and Signed Off On Everything

There is a binding contract between the buyer and the sale of a boat. You are responsible for purchasing the ship from them, and they are responsible for selling it to you, so if one of your plans changes, you must let the other know so that they may locate a replacement (assuming they want to). One way to formalize and provide legal force to such an agreement is via a bill of sale. The agreed-upon selling price will be included in the bill of sale that you and the buyer will sign. 

After both parties have signed the bill of sale, it is sent to the appropriate governmental agency (or a notary public or legal representative) for validation. A certificate of title is the name given to this document. Make sure the new owner’s name is on the bill of sale if you purchased the item in your name but are transferring it to another individual.

Are you ready to get a bill of sale for your boat? More importantly, are you sure that’s what you want? The Commercial Fishing Permits Center is prepared to help you make this decision. If you’re not sure yet, that’s okay—contact us today for more information.

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