June 19, 2024

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What Documentation Do You Need to Sell Your Boat?

Selling your boat or yacht involves more than just finding a buyer and agreeing on a price. Proper documentation is essential to ensure a smooth transaction and to protect both the seller and the buyer. This guide outlines the critical paperwork you need to gather before listing your boat for sale, ensuring you are well-prepared and your sale goes through without a hitch.

1. Proof of Ownership

  • Title and Registration: The most crucial documents are the boat’s title and registration, which serve as proof of ownership. Ensure these documents are current and in your name.
  • Bill of Sale: This document transfers ownership from the seller to the buyer. It should include the make, model, year, hull identification number (HIN), and other pertinent details of the boat, along with the sale price.

2. Service and Repair Records

  • Maintenance Logs: Keeping detailed records of all maintenance and repairs can significantly increase buyer confidence. These logs should include dates, descriptions of the work done, and receipts.
  • Warranty Documents: If any parts of the boat are still under warranty, include these documents to transfer remaining coverage to the new owner.

3. Inspection Reports

  • Marine Survey: A recent marine survey report can provide a potential buyer with an unbiased assessment of the boat’s condition. This report might cover structural integrity, mechanical and electrical systems, and safety equipment.
  • Engine Inspection: A detailed report on the engine’s condition from a certified mechanic can reassure buyers about one of the most critical components of your vessel.

4. Additional Documentation

  • Certificate of Documentation: If the boat is federally documented through the National Vessel Documentation Center, you will need to provide the Certificate of Documentation.
  • Tax Status: Proof of paid taxes or a tax status certificate can be required, depending on local laws. This helps ensure that all tax obligations are clear, preventing legal issues.

5. Manuals and Product Information

  • Equipment Manuals: Include all operational manuals for onboard equipment. These add value to your offering and assist the new owner in troubleshooting and understanding their new vessel.
  • Inventory List: Providing an inventory list of what will be included with the boat (e.g., life jackets, navigation gear) can help clarify the specifics of what the buyer is purchasing.

Closing the Sale

Once all the necessary documents are prepared and a buyer is found, ensure that the transaction process adheres to local maritime and sale laws. It’s often recommended to use a simple and clear contract that outlines the terms of the sale, responsibilities of each party, and any other agreements related to the transaction.

By preparing thoroughly and presenting a complete, well-documented boat, you not only enhance your credibility as a seller but also provide peace of mind to potential buyers. This preparation can lead to a quicker sale and a smoother transition for both parties involved.

This guide serves as a starting point for gathering the necessary documentation to sell your boat or yacht. Always consider consulting a professional in marine transactions to ensure compliance with all local regulations and legal requirements.

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).