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Boat (Vessel) Bill of Sale Form

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A Boat Bill of Sale is used for transferring the ownership of a watercraft (motorized or non-motorized) from one party to another. The document should contain the itemized prices if any motor(s) or trailer(s) are included in the sale. The bill of sale should only be filled-in and signed by the parties when the boat has been delivered by the seller and the funds have been made available by the buyer.

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What is a Bill of Sale for a Boat?

When you have made the decision to sell your boat, a Bill of Sale is one of the many essential documents needed to make the transfer of title successful. Whether purchasing or selling a boat privately or commercially, a Bill of Sale must be included in the transaction. A Bill of Sale helps protect the buyer from accusations of fraud by showing proof of payment in good faith while also protecting the Seller if any problems are to arise after the sale.

Types of vessels/boats that can be bought or sold using this Boat Bill of Sale: Cabin Cruiser, Canoe, Ferry, Fishing Boat, Jet Ski, Kayak, Yacht, Powerboat, Rowboat, Sailboat, Skiff, Tugboat.

What is Needed?

Information pertaining to the following subjects is needed prior to completing your Boat Bill of Sale:

Boat – The boat’s condition and specifics which include the Make, Year, Title Number, Hull ID and Odometer reading are to be inscribed in the Bill of Sale. If there is a trailer and/or a motor also being bought/sold in the sale, include the specifics of those items.

Buyer – The Name and Signature of the purchasing party.

Seller – The Name and Signature of the party offering an item of purchase.

Purchase Price – The amount to be given from the buyer to the seller in exchange for the vessel.

Location – In the Certificate of Acknowledgement, name the County and State in which the transaction takes place.

The Basics – How to Buy/Sell a Boat from Start to Finish

Before we can divulge into the Bill of Sale process, we need to learn the proper steps prior to completing a Bill of Sale. This explanation is written in the eyes of the seller.

Step 1 – Prep Your Boat for Easy Viewing

Before you even think about listing your boat online or with a broker, it’s a good idea to brush up your boat, whether that’s by making cost worthy repairs or by hiring a cleaning service to give your boat the best opportunity to sell. First impressions can go along way. Typically a potential buyer will know within the first 10 minutes of viewing the vessel if it’s a keeper.

If your boat is on a mooring, it will be harder for potential buyers to view the boat, as you will need to skiff people to and from your boat every time someone wants to take a look which can eat up a lot of your time and it can turn people away. The best possible option is to have your boat stationed to a dock for easy access, this way buyers can get a true sense of what it’s like to be on your boat in the water. If docking is not a viable option, the next best and cheapest way for viewing is to park your boat on land.

Step 2 – Listing Your Boat for Sale

There are primarily two roads a boat owner can go down when it comes time to list your boat for sale. You can sell your boat privately with the help of online websites such as Craigslist, eBay and Yatchworld. When selling privately, taking good photos is very important considering any advertising you do will be online accompanied by the photos you take of your boat. For boats with a total resale value under $25,000-$35,000 dollars, you want to consider selling the boat privately. There is a large market for used boats in this price range and if your boat is in good condition, you should be able to find a buyer without the help of a broker. Make sure to look around to see what comparable boats are selling for when pricing your vessel.

Hiring a broker can be a very smart decision especially when you own a valuable boat. A broker will sell your boat charging a commission around 10%. Brokers have a good sense of the market and know people within the community that may have interest in buying your boat. Go to your local marina or boatyard to find a broker.

Step 3 – The Sale

So finally, we have arrived to the step where a Boat Bill of Sale is needed. You now have your buyer set to purchase your boat. The one pitfall to selling a boat yourself comes the risk of being a victim to scammers. By following the right procedures and having the proper paperwork set in place, you can easily avoid falling victim to a scam.

Just like when selling a house, have your buyer commit to a closing date. Tell the buyer to make payment payable via cashier’s check or certified check. Inform the buyer that the sale is non-refundable once complete. Prepare the Boat Bill of Sale for the buyer to sign. If the boat is being sold “as-is”, make sure to include this language in the document. Upon receiving payment, give a copy of the signed Boat Bill of Sale to the buyer as their receipt. Important: For absolute protection, have the Boat Bill of Sale signed by a Public Notary.

How to Write a Boat Bill of Sale

Step 1 – The Parties

  • Name(s) of purchaser(s)
  • Name(s) of seller(s)
  • Enter the date of the sale

Step 2 – Vehicle/Vessel Information

  • The price amount agreed upon by the parties in U.S. currency
  • Check any of the following applicable boxes and complete the information therein

Step 3 – Signatures (required as follows:)

Enter the value of each item to be sold in U.S. dollar amount(s)

  • Buyer’s signature
  • Printed name
  • Seller’s signature
  • Date of signatures

Witnesses Signatures – Each witness must enter the following information:

  • Signatures (respective)
  • Dates of signatures
  • Printed names

Step 4 – Notarization

  • The notary shall witness all signatures
  • Notary will then enter the required information to acknowledge the document
  • Notary will provide signature and affix the official seal


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