A bill of sale may be known by many names but functions as proof of payment, as well as documentation that an item has transferred from one owner to the next. It is documentation that a seller (and co-seller) of a boat (including a sailboat) uses to document the selling of the boat to a buyer (sometimes referred to as the purchaser). It can be used for brand new boats, used boats (even if the exchange takes place between private parties), or a free boat being given as a gift. Alternatively, the sale document also acts as a receipt for the buyer. This document generally includes seller information, details about the goods, location of the sale, price, buyer details, and method of payment. Many bill of sales for boats are regulated at the state level. When this happens, the bill of sale should include every element required by law. Both the purchaser and co-purchaser, along with the seller, should sign the document. Each party should keep a copy as proof of purchase or proof of payment. This document will legally transfer ownership of the boat.
A boat bill of sale explains any pre-existing warranties related to the boat. In this sense, the document differs from a sales agreement. A sales agreement contains more specific terms and warranties.
A boat bill of sale is used strictly for the buying or selling of a boat. It can be used for the sale of new or used vessel. It can even be used for a handmade boat. The boat may be sold by a dealership or a private citizen. If the sale includes a trailer or motor, you’ll want to include that information in the document as well.
A sale form of this nature protects both the parties of any future issues, such as the boat being stolen and for the purposes of registration. Given many transactions are made in cash, proof that the item was paid for in good faith with proper documentation protects a buyer of stolen goods. The buyer has proof of payment in full, should there be any question later on.
Every state has a process for the registration of boats. Some states require that the owner who is registering the boat have proof of purchase that lists several things, including the selling price and hull ID number.
Aside from the two most common reasons that the involved parties should keep a copy of the document, there are many other circumstances where it could come in handy. If insurance is required for boats in your state, it’s likely that you’ll need legal documents (such as this form) to prove that you own the boat.
A boat bill of sale should be used by anyone who is looking to sell or purchase a boat, whether:
Many bill of sale forms also have an ‘as-is’ clause. The phrase ‘as-is’ refers to the boat being sold in its current condition and implies that the buyer accepts the boat as it is, including any potential or apparent faults. This caveat protects the seller from any subsequent request for a refund from the buyer because of any issues arising after receiving and paying for the boat.
Here is a quick and easy guide to writing a boat bill of sale. We’ve included this free template to make things easier for you. A boat bill of sale is roughly broken down into three sections. We will describe each section, as well as the information needed to complete them below:
Are you thinking of buying a boat? Do you have a boat you want to sell? If so, this guide is designed to help you through the process. For potential buyers, we cover where to shop, when to buy, and how to stay on budget. For those selling a boat, we discuss advertising strategies, negotiating the sale, and much more. So whether you are interested in owning or selling a boat, this guide can help ensure the process goes smoothly.
Avoid jumping right into a search for a boat. Instead, take time to assess your boating needs. From there, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which boat is best for you and how much you’re willing to spend.
Start by assessing the following:
There are many places to buy a boat. Here are some things to consider when identifying the right seller for you.
Moreover, pay close attention to the following:
Most dealerships take used vessels as a trade in. Obviously, the better condition the trade-in is in, the more money you will receive towards a new one. Make sure your boat is in peak condition when you take it in.
You should also research the trade-in laws in your state with your state’s boat registration agency. This is importance because it can affect your taxes.
If you’re considering a high-end boat, we recommend you find a reputable broker with extensive boat knowledge and information about your boat’s history. Doing so will ensure the process goes smoothly will save you time and worry.
A proper used boat broker will conduct extensive market research for you and make sure the boat you choose meets your needs and is offered at a fair price.
Make sure any boat you buy is National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) certified. NMMA standards exceed the minimum regulations set by the US Coast Guard and will help ensure you don’t get a lemon.
You’re more likely to find a good deal during the off-season, when people aren’t not using boats. January through March is the best time to buy. However, places like California and the Gulf Coast have no off-season. So the time of year makes little difference in boat pricing. Outside of those locales, winter boat shows usually offer the best specials on new boats.
Despite what many people assume, you don’t have to be rich to buy a boat. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) says that 72% of American boat owners make less than $100,000 per year.
With that in mind, be sure to choose a boat you can comfortably afford to purchase and maintain. If you plan on financing the boat, we recommend you finance through a marine lender. Marine lenders deal largely with boats and often have better loan terms.
You should also calculate the cost of each use. Here’s how to do so:
Once you have these numbers, do the following:
After purchasing your boat, get insurance. Basic boat insurance policies cover physical damage to the boat, bodily injury, property damage liability, medical payments, etc. You can also add optional coverage for personal effects, emergency services and trailers.
For boat owners looking to sell, there are several things to know in order to maximize the sales price of your vessel. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know:
Once the boat season is on the horizon, here’s what you will need to do to prep the boat for sale:
Be sure to meet the buyer in person and insist upon payment via wire transfer.
Before finalizing the sale, make sure you consider or do the following:
As you can see, buying or selling a boat is a lot like buying or selling a car. However, there are several unique features, requirements, and considerations when buying or selling a boat. We hope this guide introduces and informs you about those oddities and equips you with the information you need to safely buy or sell a boat.
See https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/forms/reg/reg135 for a sample Boat Bill of Sale form for California.
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