What’s in a Vessel’s Abstract of Title (and Why You May Need One)

Have you had your eye on a particular vessel but aren’t sure if it’s a good idea to buy it? Did you do your research on a vessel yet don’t know if you can trust what you’ve found? These are concerns that potential vessel owners have had seemingly forever. Before you purchase a vessel, you want to make sure that you know as much about the vessel as possible. That’s where an Abstract of Title can help. You can get this form of documentation as well as so many others right here at our site. 

What’s Absolutely in an Abstract of Title 

For the most part, just about every abstract will have the name of the vessel, its Hull Identification Number, and its Coast Guard Number. It’s important to note that you’ll only find an Abstract here for a vessel that’s been documented with the Coast Guard. Additionally, you’ll get the real information about who built the vessel, where they did so, and when this occurred. That way, you’ll know definitively how old that vessel really is (despite what the current owner may tell you). 

Abstract of Title

What May Be in the Abstract 

Additionally, you may find that an Abstract also contains the Bill of Sale (should the vessel have had one) as well as whether or not the vessel has a Preferred Ship Mortgage and/or Notice of Claim of Lien. Now, if you see the latter two, you want to make certain that you also see a “Satisfaction of Mortgage” and “Satisfaction of Claim of Lien” respectively. If you don’t, then that means that those are still outstanding, and thus, there is money to be owed on the vessel. You don’t want to have to pay for mortgages and liens that aren’t yours (to use an understatement). 

Why This Can Be So Important 

Simply put, so that you don’t buy a “lemon.” If you have your eye on a vessel that seems perfect, and the current owner tells you that it’s all paid off, it’s only two years old, and everything looks great, you’re still going to want to get an Abstract. Hopefully, everything the owner tells you matches with what you see on the Abstract. If it doesn’t, (and instead says something like the vessel is actually six years old, there’s an outstanding lien on the vessel, and so forth) then you’re probably going to want to purchase another vessel instead. 

After You Get the Abstract 

The hypothetical scenario sketched out in the above paragraph is a rarity, something that almost never occurs. For the most part, the Abstract of Title concurs with what a vessel owner has told you. Once you’ve determined that a particular vessel is something you want to buy, you can find the rest of the documentation forms you might need right here at our site. From the initial documentation through its renewal, a Preferred Ship’s Mortgage of your own, and more, you can find it all right here at our site.