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Boat Bill of Sale basics

Buying or selling a boat? Then you'll need a Boat Bill of Sale to transfer ownership rights. Our Boat Bill of Sale template is suitable for boats, jet skis, sail boats and other types of watercraft.


Use the Boat Bill of Sale document if:

  • You are selling or transferring a boat to another person.
  • You plan to buy a boat from an individual rather than a dealer.

A Boat Bill of Sale alongside the Certificate of Title proves the sales transaction and transfer of ownership of the watercraft occurred. The Boat Bill of Sale document includes all basic information such as a description of the boat, “As Is” details, special features, and buyer and seller information. This document is suitable for any type of watercraft, but if you are buying or selling a different type of property, our general Bill of Sale document may fit your needs.


Other names for this document:


Watercraft Bill of Sale, Vessel Bill of Sale, Bill of Sale for Boat, Boat Sales Contract


What's included in a Boat Bill of Sale?


While there's a lot of effort that goes into preparing your boat for sale and negotiating terms, the actual contract is simple.

Here is the information you'll need to create your Bill of Sale document:

  • The names of all parties involved: including the names, addresses, and license numbers of the seller and the buyer.

  • Price: the agreed upon sales price for the vessel. You may also want to include how the payment will be made such as by cash, check, trade or bank transfer.

  • Information about the boat being sold: this includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), make and model. If there are any major aftermarket additions those should be added as well.

  • Signatures: buyer and seller signatures, plus witness signatures if requested.

  • Disclosures: you'll likely benefit from including written disclosures such as known engine or cosmetic issues.

Copies of the signed documents should be provided to both parties. Often people will want a digital copy as well. You'll also want to see if your state has specific requirements that vary from the basic contract.


What are the seller's responsibilities after the sale?


After the sale, you'll likely need to notify the proper state agency about the sale. The information you'll need to share with your state agency is likely similar to a regular vehicle sale and often already included in the Boat Bill of Sale paperwork. Any other responsibilities will derive from the terms of your contract. If you've offered to provide warranty information or additional items, such as boat covers, extra replacement parts or boat maintenance products, make sure you fulfill those obligations.


Tips for selling your boat


Gather boat documents
Collect needed documents such as title and registration information, pay-off information if needed, warranty details, maintenance records and other applicable papers. This will save you time when you're ready to sell.

Make your boat attractive
Take some time to clean inside and outside of the boat, including mechanical parts. Remove your personal items from the boat. Don't forget to also check related items like trailers, covers and sails for cleanliness. A clean watercraft will keep your potential buyer focused on the boat rather than being distracted by clutter or grime.

Take high quality pictures and advertise
Most online sales sites support numerous images, so you may as well take advantage of that opportunity. Capture images of all parts of the boat including electronics, mechanical parts and even the inside of storage spaces. Also include pictures of the boat on and off the water if possible. Most buyers will not even consider purchasing a boat without photos.


Tips for buying a boat


Research the type of boat you want
If you are looking for a boat for your own use, you'll want to spend some time trying to figure out the type of boat you want. You'll want to consider how you plan to primarily use the boat, how you will transport it, how long you plan to own it, and more.

If you are new to boat life, find a trusted consultant
If you have never owned a boat before or especially if you are viewing the boat off-season and out of the water, it wouldn't hurt to bring along an expert when you view and test the boat. It should be someone that understands boat mechanics as well as the red flags to look for before purchase.

Estimate the total cost of the boat
Boats cost more than just the base purchase price. You may also want to consider maintenance costs, insurance and transportation. Other things to think about include accessibility of parts and whether local resources are available. Knowing the real numbers can help you with your purchase planning.

Compared to other types of sales, selling and buying a boat is comparably straightforward. Just make sure both parties carefully review terms and disclosures. Sellers will also want to ensure that the buyer is genuine and can pay using your preferred method of payment. For added reassurance, you can always request to have your Watercraft Bill of Sale documents reviewed by a lawyer before they are signed.


Sample Boat Bill of Sale

More than just a template, our step-by-step interview process makes it easy to create a Boat Bill of Sale.

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Boat Bill of Sale basics

A Boat Bill of Sale alongside the Certificate of Title proves the sales transaction and transfer of ownership of the watercraft occurred. The Boat Bill of Sale document includes all basic information such as a description of the boat, “As Is” details, special features, and buyer and seller information. This document is suitable for any type of watercraft, but if you are buying or selling a different type of property, our general Bill of Sale document may fit your needs.


Other names for this document:


Watercraft Bill of Sale, Vessel Bill of Sale, Bill of Sale for Boat, Boat Sales Contract


What's included in a Boat Bill of Sale?


While there's a lot of effort that goes into preparing your boat for sale and negotiating terms, the actual contract is simple.

Here is the information you'll need to create your Bill of Sale document:

  • The names of all parties involved: including the names, addresses, and license numbers of the seller and the buyer.

  • Price: the agreed upon sales price for the vessel. You may also want to include how the payment will be made such as by cash, check, trade or bank transfer.

  • Information about the boat being sold: this includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), make and model. If there are any major aftermarket additions those should be added as well.

  • Signatures: buyer and seller signatures, plus witness signatures if requested.

  • Disclosures: you'll likely benefit from including written disclosures such as known engine or cosmetic issues.

Copies of the signed documents should be provided to both parties. Often people will want a digital copy as well. You'll also want to see if your state has specific requirements that vary from the basic contract.


What are the seller's responsibilities after the sale?


After the sale, you'll likely need to notify the proper state agency about the sale. The information you'll need to share with your state agency is likely similar to a regular vehicle sale and often already included in the Boat Bill of Sale paperwork. Any other responsibilities will derive from the terms of your contract. If you've offered to provide warranty information or additional items, such as boat covers, extra replacement parts or boat maintenance products, make sure you fulfill those obligations.


Tips for selling your boat


Gather boat documents
Collect needed documents such as title and registration information, pay-off information if needed, warranty details, maintenance records and other applicable papers. This will save you time when you're ready to sell.

Make your boat attractive
Take some time to clean inside and outside of the boat, including mechanical parts. Remove your personal items from the boat. Don't forget to also check related items like trailers, covers and sails for cleanliness. A clean watercraft will keep your potential buyer focused on the boat rather than being distracted by clutter or grime.

Take high quality pictures and advertise
Most online sales sites support numerous images, so you may as well take advantage of that opportunity. Capture images of all parts of the boat including electronics, mechanical parts and even the inside of storage spaces. Also include pictures of the boat on and off the water if possible. Most buyers will not even consider purchasing a boat without photos.


Tips for buying a boat


Research the type of boat you want
If you are looking for a boat for your own use, you'll want to spend some time trying to figure out the type of boat you want. You'll want to consider how you plan to primarily use the boat, how you will transport it, how long you plan to own it, and more.

If you are new to boat life, find a trusted consultant
If you have never owned a boat before or especially if you are viewing the boat off-season and out of the water, it wouldn't hurt to bring along an expert when you view and test the boat. It should be someone that understands boat mechanics as well as the red flags to look for before purchase.

Estimate the total cost of the boat
Boats cost more than just the base purchase price. You may also want to consider maintenance costs, insurance and transportation. Other things to think about include accessibility of parts and whether local resources are available. Knowing the real numbers can help you with your purchase planning.

Compared to other types of sales, selling and buying a boat is comparably straightforward. Just make sure both parties carefully review terms and disclosures. Sellers will also want to ensure that the buyer is genuine and can pay using your preferred method of payment. For added reassurance, you can always request to have your Watercraft Bill of Sale documents reviewed by a lawyer before they are signed.

Use the Boat Bill of Sale document if:
  • You are selling or transferring a boat to another person.
  • You plan to buy a boat from an individual rather than a dealer.
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