The legal contract known as the Virginia boat bill of sale conveys ownership of a vessel from its current owner to a buyer according to agreed-upon terms.
To operate any machinery-propelled watercraft on public waters in Virginia, one must hold a DWR-issued Certificate of Title and a Certificate of Number/Registration, which typically requires a bill of sale to obtain.
Virginia Boat Bill of Sale
There is no official boat bill of sale form for vessels in Virginia, though boat dealers must provide a sales invoice to transfer title and registration.
Make sure your boat bill of sale includes the following key information:
- The names, contact information, and signatures of the buyer and seller
- Make, model, and year the vessel was built
- The type of vessel and its propulsion type
- The hull material
- The hull identification number or HIN
- The vessel’s length
- The motor make, serial number, and horsepower, if it is more than 25 horses
A penalty of perjury is printed on the Vehicle Price Certification, or Form SUT 1, and almost all DMV forms in Virginia. Though it does not outline specifics, in accordance with Virginia Code section 18.2-434, perjury in the state is punishable by “imprisonment from one to 10 years, confinement in jail for up to 12 months, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.”
After Purchasing a Vessel
- The dealer must complete the dealer reassignment portion of the title or provide a completed manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
- You will be asked to complete and sign the Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration). You will also need to acquire a copy of the sales invoice showing the purchase price, a description of the vessel, and the sales taxes paid.
- You must provide the buyer with a completed certificate of title or a certificate of number (registration).
- Any motorboat, considered any vessel propelled by machinery, must be registered with a certificate of number and a certificate of title through the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF); however, only motors with an excess of 25 horsepower are listed on the title. The only exceptions to registration and titling requirements are boats used on private waters and those used primarily in other states. Sailboats over 18 feet in length only require titling and no registration.
- You must register your vessel before operating it on any public waters in Virginia unless the registration is still considered valid. You have 90 days to register your vessel in Virginia after moving from another state or until your current out-of-state registration expires.
- Register and title your vessel in person at the DGIF office, by mail, or online at www.GoOutdoorsVirginia.com. You must bring the “Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration) and either the original certificate of title, completed by the seller or a bill of sale. Registrations are valid for three years, and your decals will be issued with each new or renewed registration.
- If your vessel is registered in another state, you must follow the steps above with your out-of-state registration. If your vessel is registered in Virginia but not titled, you must submit a Notification of Change in Status of a Numbered Vessel and a copy of your bill of sale signed and dated by the sellers. If your vessel has never been registered or titled in Virginia or any other state, you must submit a Statement for Registering and Titling a Motorboat not Previously Registered and/or Titled and printed photographs of the vessel taken from all sides. The Application for Watercraft Certificate of Title and Certificate of Number (Registration) is requisite in all situations.
Virginia Boat Bill of Sale Template
Below, you can download a VA boat bill of sale in PDF or Word format:
Does a Boat Bill of Sale Have to be Notarized in Virginia?
No, however, if you register a vessel for which the owner has no bill of sale for a boat in Virginia, you must follow a set of guidelines. When a bill of sale cannot be produced, the notarized form – the Affidavit for Transfer of Watercraft Registration/Title is required.