Will You Know if the Boat is Stolen During USCG Vessel Documentation Transfer?

Did you know that it is now easier to steal boats than vehicles? The reason for this is that you can easily strip boats. It is a lucrative business. Now, if you are planning to purchase a boat, you should do your due diligence. Find out first if it is a stolen boat. Can the USCG vessel documentation transfer help? 

Understanding USCG Vessel Documentation Transfer 

This process typically occurs when the ownership of a documented vessel changes. Whether you are buying or selling a boat, the transfer process involves several essential steps: 

  • Seller’s disclosure: The seller must provide accurate and truthful information about the boat’s documentation status, ownership history, and any outstanding liens or encumbrances.
  • Bill of Sale: A written agreement, known as a Bill of Sale, is used to formalize the transaction. This document includes details such as the sale price, vessel description, and the identities of the buyer and seller. 
  • Payment Settlement: The buyer typically pays the seller the agreed-upon purchase price. It is essential to conduct this transaction securely to avoid potential disputes. 
  • USCG Documentation Transfer: To complete the transfer, the seller must submit a request for transfer of documentation to the USCG. The buyer’s information and signature are often required as part of the process. 
  • Confirmation of transfer: Once the process is complete and the USCG confirms that the vessel’s documentation has been updated with the new owner’s information, the transfer is considered complete. 

Minimizing the Risk of Dealing with a Stolen Vessel 

The documentation system is a valuable tool for legal boat transactions. It is not foolproof, however. When it comes to identifying stolen vessels. But there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. 

  • Verify Ownership: Always verify the seller’s identity and ownership of the vessel by cross-referencing the information on the Bill of Sale with the USCG documentation. Ensure that the seller matches the information on record. 
  • Check for liens: Request a lien search to confirm that there are no outstanding liens or encumbrances on the vessel. Liens can affect the legitimacy of the sale. 
  • Ask for documentation: Request to see the vessel’s COD. Verify that the information on the COD matches the details provided in the transaction. 
  • Research the Boat’s History: Investigate the vessel’s history, including previous owners, name changes, and any reports of theft or suspicious activity. This information can be obtained through services that track boat histories. 
  • Meet in Person: Whenever possible, meet the seller in person and physically inspect the boat. This allows you to confirm that the boat’s physical condition aligns with the description provided. 
  • Use reputable services: Consider using reputable boat brokers, documentation processing services, or legal professionals with experience in maritime transactions to facilitate the sale. They can help ensure the legality of the transfer. 

Report suspicious activity. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of the sale or the vessel’s history, report your concerns to law enforcement authorities and the USCG. 

USCG Vessel Documentation Transfer

How to Start Transferring? 

After everything is verified, you can start the USCG vessel documentation transfer process. Choose the Transfer/Exchange option found on the left side of this page to fill out the form and submit it to us.