What documentation is required to sell your boat?

It’s more complicated than finding a buyer or negotiating a price to sell your boat. Documentation is crucial to a smooth transaction, and to protect the buyer and seller. This guide will help you gather the important paperwork before you list your boat for sales. It will ensure that you are prepared and that your sale is successful.

1. Proof of Ownership

  • Title and Registration. The boat’s registration and title are essential documents that serve as proof of ownership. These documents should be current and yours.
  • Bill of Sale – This document transfers ownership to the buyer from the seller. The bill of sale should contain the price, the model, the year, the hull identification number, and any other relevant details about the boat.

2. Service and Repair Records

  • Keep detailed logs of all repairs and maintenance. This will increase the confidence of buyers. These logs must include dates, descriptions and receipts of all work performed.
  • Include any warranty documents if the boat still has coverage. This will allow the new owner to continue to be covered.

3. Inspection Reports

  • Marine Survey: An unbiased marine survey report will give a buyer an accurate assessment of the condition of a boat. This report may cover structural integrity as well as mechanical and electrical systems and safety equipment.
  • Engine Inspection: A detailed inspection report from a qualified mechanic on the condition of the engine can give buyers peace of mind about the vessel’s most important component.

4. Documentation Additional

  • You will need the Certificate of Documentation if the boat has been federally documented by the National Vessel Documentation Center.
  • Tax Status: Depending on the local laws, a proof of tax paid or a certificate of tax status may be required. It helps to ensure that all taxes are clearly defined, and prevents legal issues.

5. Information on Manuals and Products

  • Include all operating manuals of onboard equipment. These are valuable and help the new owner understand their vessel and troubleshoot any issues.
  • Inventory List: A list of the items that will be included in the boat’s purchase (e.g. life jackets and navigation equipment) can clarify what the buyer is buying.

Closing the sale

Once the documents have been prepared and the buyer has been found, make sure that the process is in compliance with local maritime and sales laws. A simple, clear contract is often used to outline the sale terms, the responsibilities of both parties, and other agreements relating to the transaction.

Prepare thoroughly and present a well-documented, complete boat to enhance your credibility as seller, but also give potential buyers peace of mind. This preparation will lead to a faster sale and a smoother transaction for both parties.

This guide is a good place to start when gathering all the documentation needed to sell your yacht or boat. Consult a marine transaction specialist to ensure that you comply with all local laws and regulations.

This post was written by a professional at American Marine Surveyors of Florida. American Marine Surveyors of Florida performs above the expected standards in the Yachting and Boating industry. We conduct surveys and other services throughout the state of Florida and Beyond. Our company can also provide surveys and services throughout the United States, The Caribbean and Internationally. We offer a variety of services that include:

  • Pre Purchase surveys for Power or Sailing vessels
  • Damage surveys on Boats, Yachts and Cargo
  • Appraisals, insurance, thermal imaging, ultrasonic, and consultation services
  • In and Out of Water Surveys
  • On/Off Hire Charter Surveys

Reports from our sarasota boat surveyor typically delivered to your email within 1 to 3 business days after the survey (with some exceptions).

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