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Author Topic:   Paperwork In Buying a Boat
alchse posted 04-23-2015 09:20 AM ET (US)   Profile for alchse   Send Email to alchse  
I'm getting pretty close [to buying] a boat, and I want to get my ducks in a row for the right way to handle the transaction. What is the standard procedure for documenting the purchase of a boat in addition to signing over the title(s)?

Do you write one sales contract for the boat and trailer or two separate ones?

Do you have standard language in the bill of sale you usually use?

Do I need to get the bill of sale(s) notarized?

I will be keeping the boat at my father's house and hope to have him handle dealing with the DMV for registering everything; should I buy [the boat] in his name or both our names?

I will be doing the registering in New Jersey.

Thanks in advance for any insight or tips you can provide.

jcdawg83 posted 04-23-2015 09:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for jcdawg83    
I think each state is different. For example, in Georgia boats and trailers have titles, outboard motors do not, trailers are required to have tags. In South Carolina, trailers do not have titles or tags, but boats AND outboards have titles.

The friendly, courteous, hard working people at the state DMV and Dept of Natural Resources will be glad to help you.

Whaler_bob posted 04-23-2015 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_bob    
Here in New York we pay sales tax to the DMV for anything that requires a registration like a used boat and used trailer, a used motor does not require registration.

Some people like to make a bill of sale for the boat, one for the trailer, and the last one- with the lion's share of the purchase price- for the engine.

New Jersey is probably similar?

alchse posted 04-23-2015 03:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for alchse  Send Email to alchse     
Good tip Bob - thanks

Jeff posted 04-23-2015 04:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
Alec--New Jersey and Texas are the two GREATEST PAINS IN THE BUTT to register a boat.

You will need a title for the boat, motor and trailer if you can get it. If not, you be sure that you break each of those out in your bill of sale.

--Make Model Size
--Purchase Price

--Make Model Size
--Serial #
--Purchase Price

--Make Model Size
--VIN #
--Purchase Price

If you do not have a title for those, be sure to have a past registration for each of them to accompany your Bill of Sale.

Bill of Sale should include all of the above details for the Boat, Motor and Trailer. You should also have your the full legal name, current address (address of registration if different from permanent address), and Drivers License number on the bill of saler for both the seller as well as buyer.

I can send you the Bill of Sale I have and use via email.

Jeff posted 04-23-2015 04:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
Here is the bill of sale I use when selling boats:

bkovak posted 04-23-2015 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkovak  Send Email to bkovak     
New Jersey requires a signed title for registering and titling the boat from a State that titles boats. If you register a boat purchased out-of-state from a non-title state like Delaware or Connecticut, you will need the signed registration card along with a Notarized bill of sale from the previous owner.

Boat trailers are completely different as New Jersey does not title small boat trailers under 3,000-lbs. If you buy a trailer in New Jersey and register it there you will need the previous registration card and a notarized bill of sale from the previous owner or a certificate of origin if brand new and bill of sale from dealer.

If a trailer was purchased from out of state with a title from that state, New Jersey will want the signed title but usually will not issue you a New Jersey title for it. They will issue you a registration card for it.

They also require that the boat be registered in New Jersey if its primary use will be in New Jersey, or if kept at a marina there for 90 consecutive days or more, even if you are a non-resident! Several other states (like Pennsylvania) have similar laws

The only good thing about the New Jersey DMV is that their lines have gotten notably shorter (unless you go on a Saturday) and they are quicker at getting this done than in the past, but it's still a hassle. Good Luck!


alchse posted 04-23-2015 10:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for alchse  Send Email to alchse     
Thanks guys, much appreciated.
jimh posted 04-24-2015 01:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Be sure the seller has clear title and there are no liens. The last boat I bought, the seller had an outstanding loan balance. (The bigger the boat the more likely there is a loan involved.) The seller hauled the boat on the trailer to the lending bank. Using the funds I gave him, the seller paid off the loan and the bank released their lien. Then he signed over the title to me.

Once I had the title, we dropped the trailer off his truck and I hitched it to my truck. I did not want to haul the boat around before I owned it, as if there were any problems I figured it would get very complicated with the insurance coverages.

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