Bill of Sale for a Boat: Four Things You Need to Know

This article intends to give you a concise yet complete answer to the most common questions regarding the bill of sale for a boat, up-to-date to 2021. At the Maritime Documentation Center, we always strive to provide vessel owners with the answers they’re looking for. Our website serves as a three-step system for users to submit their applications to the National Vessel Documentation Center.

It’s always good to remember that we are NOT affiliated with the National Vessel Documentation Center. We’re a third-party agency that handles USCG Documentation processing for NVDC. If you have additional questions, contact us at (800) 535-8570.

Is a Bill of Sale Required to Complete my Purchase?

In some states, a boat bill of sale is not required in order to complete the sale. However, it’s in your best interest to have it. The bill of sale shows the details of the transaction and serves as proof of it. 

Bill of Sale for a Boat & Purchase Agreement: Are They the Same?

The boat bill of sale is also commonly known as the purchase agreement. In essence, they both have the same purpose: to detail the terms of a transaction between a private seller and buyer. However, both terms have slight differences. A purchase agreement is usually more detailed and provides information on the boat’s warranties. It also offers more flexibility in the arrangement of terms and delivery of the goods.

On the other hand, the document serves more as evidence that the ownership of a boat was transferred from one owner to a buyer. This happens right after the transaction is completed.

What Should it Include?

  • Buyer’s name, address, and contact information.
  • Seller’s name, address, and contact information.
  • Description of the boat
    • Brand
    • Model
    • Year of manufacture
    • Length
    • Hull Identification Number (HIN)
  • State registration number.

Bill of Sale for a Boat

How Do You Create a Boat Bill of Sale?

The most convenient way for you to come up with this document is to use an online template. You can browse the internet and make up your own form or use one provided by your state. If you opt for the latter, it’s probable that the form will include details of your State. In some states, it will be necessary for both buyer and seller to notarize the boat bill of sale. 

If your state doesn’t require the use of a specific form, you might just use a generic boat bill of sale like the one provided by The U.S. Coast Guard. Once the form is ready, you can visit our website on the document upload page, attach the file and send it to process.