Residents of Washington, DC, who purchase a boat or watercraft must register it within 30 days of the purchase. Any vessel operated for more than 50 days, even by a non-resident, within the waters in Washington, DC, must be registered.
You need a valid Washington, DC, boat bill of sale to register the vessel with the DC Harbor Patrol of the Metropolitan Police Department. Even kayaks, canoes, and other watercraft without engines must be registered, so you must have a valid bill of sale for a boat in DC.
Washington, DC Boat Bill of Sale Requirements
A boat bill of sale is not required in the District of Columbia, though having one can aid in the “proof of ownership” process if necessary. No official form exists, but you can use an online boat bill of sale template. You should list the following information:
- The seller’s and buyer’s names, contact information, and signatures
- The hull identification number or HIN
- The length and propulsion of the vessel
- The sales date
- The purchase price
Many District of Columbia DMV forms feature a penalty of perjury statement; however, since there is no official bill of sale form, it is not considered a legal requirement to list one on any draft you may use.
That said, the laws in the district do clearly state, by D.C. Criminal Code § 22-2402, that the penalty for a conviction of perjury is “a fine of not more than $5,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years.”
Does a Boat Bill of Sale Have to be Notarized in Washington, DC?
Yes, a boat bill of sale must be signed by a notary public and notarized to be considered legally valid.
After Purchasing a Vessel
- You will sign ownership to the buyer by filling out the appropriate areas on the title or providing the buyer with a valid bill of sale.
- Call the Washington, D.C. Harbor Patrol of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and inform them of the change of ownership and remove the current decals from the vessel.
- Nearly all vessels primarily using the District of Columbia’s waters must register and be titled with the MPD. This can be done in person or using the OVERS online system. Registration includes all watercraft except for vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, registered in other states or countries, used exclusively for racing, used as lifeboats, and using the district’s waterways for no more than 50 consecutive days.
- To register and title your vessel simultaneously, you must submit proof of ownership, such as a bill of sale, adequately assigned title, vessel registration, and a completed Boat Certificate of Title/Registration Number, or Form PD 330, to the MPD. If applicable, you also need proof of payment of all liens and your district ID card or driver’s license.
- You will also have to pay all registration and titling fees. The cost is dependent on the length and propulsion of your vessel. Here is a breakdown of assigned fees:
- With a motor and under 16 feet – $15
- With a motor and 16 feet to 26 feet – $25
- With a motor and 26 feet to 40 feet – $35
- With a motor and over 40 feet – $60
- Without motors – $10
- Additional fees include $2 for the boat title, $5 for duplicate decals and registration cards, and a title tax that is 6% of the vessel’s purchase price.
Washington, DC Boat Bill of Sale Template
Below, you can download a Washington, DC boat bill of sale in PDF or Word format: