Boat Bill of Sale Form [PDF]

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to fill out our boat bill of sale form and explains why you should have one in the first place.

Last update: 10 May 2024

Boat Bill of Sale Form [PDF]

Ensure smooth sailing with our Boat Bill of Sale, whether you are looking to sell or buy your new watercraft.

If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own boat or if you’re a seasoned sailor ready to part ways with your trusty vessel, this article can assist you in your venture to buy or sell one.

Here, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to sell your boat and how to fill out the boat bill of sale form properly to protect your interests.

Boat Bill of Sale Forms By State

    What is a Boat Bill of Sale?

    The boat bill of sale is a legal document that serves as written proof of the purchase of a maritime vehicle. It contains information about both parties involved in the transaction, details about the vehicle, and signatures.

    It provides additional security for both parties and is crucial in transferring ownership from the seller to the buyer. In some states, it is required by law. 

    Alternative names for the boat bill of sale are:

    Other Names for Boat Bill of Sale

    • Vessel Bill of Sale

    • Boat Purchase Agreement

    • Watercraft Purchase Agreement

    • Marine Purchase Agreement

    Here is a list of the most common types of boats:

    Popular Types of Boats

    • Sailboats

    • Powerboats

    • Yachts

    • Canoes

    • Kayaks

    • Rowboats

    • Dinghies

    • Jet Skis

    What Information Goes on a Boat Bill of Sale? 

    Mandatory Information for Boat Bill of Sale

    • Seller and buyer details must be provided in the bill of sale form to indicate who is involved in the transaction.

    • The description of the boat is next, covering information about the model of the boat, the identification number, and the hour meter reading.

    • Transaction details should state if the boat will be sold, with price and payment arrangements indicated, or if it will be given as a gift.

    • The date of the sale is needed to indicate when ownership and legal responsibilities are transferred from the seller to the buyer.

    • The signatures of both parties involved in the sale are necessary to confirm the purchase. It would be preferable for both parties to present their IDs to each other before signing to confirm their identities.

    • The signatures of witnesses or notary public are usually required to confirm the authenticity of the boat bill of sale. It is a good idea to notarize the document, even if it is not mandatory, just to make transactions more secure.

    How to Sell a Boat

    In order to sell a boat, the seller must follow several important steps that cover all crucial aspects of the process.

    Step 1 - Prepare the Boat for a Sale

    To prepare a boat for sale, it is necessary to first clean it from dirt and mold. Attention should be paid to every part of the boat, both interior and exterior, to make it look its best for sale. If possible, boat details can be polished to draw attention to the design.

    If the boat has cracks, scratches, or any damage at all, it is necessary to repair them to create the impression that the boat has been maintained regularly. Of course, any engine issues must be addressed, and necessary engine servicing should be done.

    Finally, it is important to confirm that the boat has all the safety equipment and that it is in working condition.

    Step 2 - Do the Research

    Before selling a boat, it is necessary to research the market prices and determine a realistic and fair price tag. When determining the price, it is important to consider the age of the boat, its current condition, and the demand for such boats.

    The value of the boat can be determined online by analyzing boat-selling websites like boattrader.com or through vehicle and vessel pricing websites such as jdpower.com. Of course, information can also be obtained from magazines or local used boat dealers.

    Once the minimum price of the boat is decided, it is common practice to increase it slightly to allow room for negotiation.

    Step 3 - List the Boat for Sale

    Listing the boat for sale can be done by the seller personally or by hiring an agency or local broker. Agencies and brokers will, on your behalf, search for buyers, prepare the boat, and present it to potential buyers. 

    If the seller decides to place the advertisement themselves, they can do so online through the following websites:

    Online Listings for Boat for Sale

    Additionally, the ad can also be placed in boat magazines, local newspapers, on the bulletin board in the marina if available, or on the boat itself.

    Step 4 - Meet & Negotiate with Potential Buyers

    Before meeting and negotiating with potential buyers, the seller must familiarize themselves with all the specifications of the boat, if they have not already, in order to answer all of the buyer’s questions.

    After posting the advertisement, interested parties should start to call, and a meeting should be scheduled. During the meeting, the price should not be mentioned until the buyer starts to like the boat. It is essential to emphasize all the advantages of the boat and what attracted the seller to buy it.

    After that, the price negotiation comes next, with what could be considered almost mandatory—bargaining.

    Step 5 - Prepare the Documents & Complete the Transaction

    Once the price is agreed upon, prepare the documents and complete the transaction. Parties can obtain a printable boat bill of sale form online from our website and fill it out. If they are not sure how to fill it out, instructions are provided, or they can use a boat bill of sale example.

    Payment should be made before signing the document, just in case. The seller should also provide the title and registration.

    Step 6 - Buyer’s Boat Registration

    After the purchase is completed, the buyer must acquire the boat registration in their name. To do this, they need to submit the boat bill of sale, the title, and the existing registration to the appropriate institution, usually the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    It is possible that sales taxes may need to be paid, which the buyer pays alone or splits with the seller if they have agreed to do so. 

    How to Fill Out a Boat Bill of Sale Form

    This section will provide a guide through each step to make sure that the boat bill of sale PDF form is completed successfully.  

    #1. Add the Date and the Location

    The first information to provide in the boat bill of sale is the date and location of the transaction. Typically, the date of signing, which is also considered the date of ownership transfer, is used as the date on the document.

    The necessary information about location includes the state and county where the transaction is taking place.

    #2. Fill Out Seller’s & Buyer’s Information

    To fill out seller’s and buyer’s information, both parties must provide their full names and contact information. This can include their current address, phone number, or e-mail address. Parties could exchange ID cards to confirm the information submitted is correct.

    #3. Write About the Exchange

    In this section of the document, it is necessary to provide details of the exchange. If the boat is being sold for money, the price and payment method should be stated, for example, cash, cashier’s check, wire transfer, or any agreed-upon method.

    When the boat is being given as a gift, the estimated value of the boat must be stated. There is also the option to trade the boat for another, in which case the details of the buyer’s boat must be provided.

    #4. Fill Out Information About the Boat

    The information about the boat should include the manufacturer’s name, the year the boat was made, and the title number. It is also necessary to include the boat hull ID, which represents the manufacturer’s serial number. 

    Finally, the odometer should be read, and the value entered into the document.

    #5. Add the Price & Tax Information

    In this step, it is necessary to specify the agreed-upon price of the boat. Here, the other agreed-upon items, such as additional motors, and their prices can also be listed, but it is necessary to indicate the total amount in the end.

    It should also be mentioned whether the tax is included in the price or not.

    #6. Review All the Information

    After entering all the details in the bill of sale form, the party drafting the document should send one copy of the draft to the other party for review. Both parties should make sure all the details in the bill of sale are correct before moving forward with the signatures.

    #7. Add the Buyer’s Signature (Authorization)

    At the end, it is necessary to add the buyer’s signature to confirm the sale and practically authorize the transfer of rights from the seller to the buyer. Of course, the seller also confirms their agreement with the sale with their signature.

    #8. Notarize the Boat Bill of Sale

    Although it is not mandatory in every state to sign the boat bill of sale in the presence of a notary public, it is advisable to do so to add a layer of protection to the document. By their signature, the notary public confirms the identities of the parties and the authenticity of the document.

    Boat Bill of Sale FAQ

    • A handwritten boat bill of sale can be legal depending on the laws and requirements in a specific state, as long as it contains all the necessary information and signatures. 

    • To get a boat bill of sale, first download a form from our website. Our boat bill of sale download page provides a boat bill of sale PDF form that can be printed and filled out easily. Additionally, this form is available at some office supply stores, or a lawyer or notary public can draft one if needed.

    • You can, technically, sell a boat without a bill of sale, but it is not advisable because of the complications that can follow when you do not have proof of purchase.

    • Yes, you can register a boat with a bill of sale, but additional documents will be needed, like the title of ownership from the previous owner, to confirm the chain of ownership.

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