A boat bill of sale is a legal document that transfers watercraft ownership from one individual to another. Unless you buy a new vessel from a dealership, you’ll need a bill of sale to register your boat with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Kentucky Boat Bill of Sale Requirements
A Kentucky boat bill of sale must include the following information:
- The date of the sale
- The county where the boat was sold
- The buyer and seller’s names and mailing addresses
- The value of the boat
- Whether the transaction involved a cash payment, trade-in, or gift
- The boat’s length, make, year, title number, Hull Identification Number (HIN), and odometer reading
- The make, model, year, horsepower, serial number, and engine hours of the boat’s motor
- The boat title number
- The signatures of both the buyer and seller
- The signatures of at least two witnesses
A Kentucky boat bill of sale can be written in any language that is understood by the buyer, seller, and any witnesses or notaries who sign the document. The state’s forms are only available in English, and the state doesn’t provide access to translation services.
You may need to find a private translator before using another language.
Number of Copies
You will need several copies of your boat bill of sale–one for each person who signed the document, including witnesses, and one to give to the county clerk when registering your boat.
Registering a Boat (After Purchasing)
All motor boats in Kentucky must be registered at the local county clerk’s office within 15 days of purchase. If you’re transferring the boat from another state, you must register within 60 days of becoming a Kentucky resident.
Documents Needed to Obtain Title and Registration
When registering your boat, you will need your:
- Boat bill of sale
- The original boat title that was signed by the buyer and seller
- A pencil tracing or photo of the boat’s HIN
- Proof of the new owner’s identity, like a valid driver’s license
- The new owner’s Social Security number
- A completed Motor Boat Transaction Record Application for Title/Registration form
The cost to register a boat in Kentucky is based on your vessel’s length. Your registration must be renewed every year.
- Class A — Watercraft less than 16 feet long – $21.00
- Class 1 — Boats between 16 and 26 feet long – $40.00
- Class 2 — Boats between 26 and 40 feet long – $50.00
- Class 3 — Boats over 40 feet long – $65.00
- Inboard motor boats of all sizes – $43.00
- Trolling motor boats of any size – $10.00
These amounts don’t include clerk’s fees, titling fees, or property taxes.
All motor boats in Kentucky must be registered with the state, except:
- U.S. Coast Guard vessels
- Motorboats that have current registrations from other states and remain in Kentucky waters for less than 60 days in a row
Non-motorized boats like kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and rowboats are exempt from registration.
Once you receive the registration certificate from your county clerk, you must keep it readily available to show to law enforcement authorities if they ask for it.
Does a Boat Bill of Sale Have to be Notarized in Kentucky?
You don’t need to have your Kentucky boat bill of sale notarized, but it’s highly recommended that you do so.
Kentucky Boat Bill of Sale Sample
Below, you can download our free Kentucky boat bill of sale template in PDF or Word format: