Is It Possible to Handwrite a Boat Bill of Sale?

The boat bill of sale (BBOS) is a vital document that you will need if you wish to purchase or buy a boat. It facilitates the transfer of ownership from one party to another. One of the many questions that many boat owners or buyers ask is if it can be handwritten. This article will explore the legality and practical considerations of the handwritten BBOS. 

What is a Boat Bill of Sale

Before knowing whether you can handwrite a BBOS, let us first understand what it is. In brief, this is a legal document that serves as evidence of the transfer of ownership for a boat. It outlines crucial details of the transaction. It includes the identities of the buyer and the seller. It also outlines the boat’s specifications, the sale price, and specific conditions or warranties. Even though the specifics vary depending on local regulations and the complexity of the transaction, it is vital to have a well-drafted BBOS as it is crucial for both parties involved. 

Handwriting vs Typing: Legal Validity

The legality of a handwritten BBOS depends on the jurisdiction and the applicable laws. In various cases, handwritten documents can still be legally binding. However, it has to meet certain criteria. These include clarity, comprehensibility, and the inclusion of vital information. 

Key Considerations


A handwritten document must be clear and eligible to ensure that all parties can easily understand its contents. Illegible handwriting may lead to misunderstandings and legal complications. 


All necessary information, as required by local laws, should be included in this handwritten document. It may encompass details, like the vessel’s make, model, registration number, the sale price, and any relevant conditions of the sale. 


Signatures of both the buyer and the seller are vital for the document’s validity. Ensure that both parties sign the document in the presence of witnesses if required by local regulations. 

Local Regulations 

It is also vital that you are familiar with the specific laws and regulations governing boat sales in your jurisdiction. Some regions may have specific requirements for the format or content of a BBOS. 

Are There Pros If You Handwrite It? 

One of the advantages is that it is a convenient option. This is especially true if it is an informal transaction. It eliminates the need for access to a computer or a printer. It may also carry a personal touch that can be meaningful in certain situations. Without depending on technology, a handwritten BBOS can be created on the spot. Thus, it facilitates a quick and efficient transaction. 

Potential Challenges

Poor handwriting, however, can lead to misunderstandings and potential disputes. It is crucial to ensure that the document is crate and easy to read. If the jurisdiction has specific requirements about the format of this document, a handwritten version might not comply with those standards. Some entities may also prefer or require typed, standardized documents for verification purposes. 

Boat Bill of Sale

Get Your BBOS Template 

It is possible to handwrite a BBOS. However, it is vital to consider the specific legal requirements in your jurisdiction to be safe. Keep in mind that a boat bill of sale is necessary when you document your boat with the USCG. If you need help in documenting your boat or writing you a BBOS, please call our team of experts today.