How can I transfer ownership of a vessel in Florida?

Transferring ownership of a vessel (boat or watercraft) in Florida involves several steps to ensure a smooth and legal process. Here’s a general guide on how to do it:

How can I transfer ownership

  1. Gather Necessary Documents:
    • Bill of Sale: You need a bill of sale that includes the following information:
      • The vessel’s description (make, model, year, HIN or hull identification number, and registration number).
      • Purchase price.
      • Buyer and seller’s names, addresses, and signatures.
      • Date of sale.
    • Certificate of Title: If the vessel is titled in Florida, the seller should provide you with the certificate of title. This title must be properly filled out and signed by the seller.
  2. Obtain a Vessel Title if Necessary:
    • If the vessel is not titled in Florida, you may need to apply for a title at your local tax collector’s office. You’ll need the bill of sale and any previous ownership documents.
  3. Complete a Notice of Sale:
    • Both the buyer and seller should complete a Notice of Sale form (HSMV 82050) within 30 days of the sale. This can be done online or at a local tax collector’s office.
  4. Pay Sales Tax:
    • Depending on your situation, you may be required to pay sales tax on the purchase price of the vessel. Check with the Florida Department of Revenue or your local tax collector’s office for the current tax rates and any exemptions.
  5. Transfer the Registration:
    • The buyer should take the title, bill of sale, Notice of Sale form, and proof of payment of sales tax (if applicable) to their local tax collector’s office to transfer the vessel’s registration.
  6. Receive a New Title and Registration:
    • After completing the transfer, you will receive a new certificate of title and registration card in your name.
  7. Display the Registration Numbers:
    • Make sure to display the vessel’s registration numbers and decals as required by Florida law.
  8. Boat Safety Inspection:
    • Some counties in Florida require a safety inspection before transferring ownership. Check with your local authorities to see if this applies to you.
  9. Boating Education Course:
    • Florida law may require you to take a boating education course if you were born after January 1, 1988. Check the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) website for details.
  10. Boat Insurance:
    • While not a legal requirement, it’s highly recommended to have boat insurance for liability protection and property coverage.
  11. Keep Records:
    • Retain copies of all the documents related to the sale, including the bill of sale, title, and registration.

Transfer Exchange of USCG Documentation


To transfer ownership of a documented vessel in Florida (or anywhere else in the country), utilize our “Transfer/Exchange” form.

If your vessel is State Titled, you can transfer ownership by contacting your State DMV or Registrar. That would be a vessel that is eligible for boat title transfer in Florida.

If you’re unsure if your vessel is documented, check if the name/hailing port is marked on the back (“transom”).

Should you have a title for your vessel, then it isn’t documented.

Documented vessels measure at least five net tons and are wholly owned by a citizen of the United States. If you would like to document your vessel with the USCG, use this form.