Table of Contents
- The Basics: What is a Boat Bill of Sale?
- When One is Needed
- The Consequences of Not Having the Form
- The Most Common Situations for Use
- What Should be Included in a Basic Form
- How to Sell your boat
1. The Basics: What is a Boat Bill of Sale?
A Bill of Sale for a boat documents the sale or transfer of a motorboat, sailboat, yacht, jet ski, watercraft, or other recreational water vehicles between a Seller and a Buyer.
A simple Bill of Sale form is proof that a purchase occurred and includes the following elements:
- Seller: the person who currently owns the boat being sold
- Buyer: the person buying the boat or becoming the new boat owner
- Vessel Information: details about the manufacturer, model, registration number, and hull identification number of the boat or watercraft
- Motor Information: details about the motor, if any, like horsepower and fuel
- Warranty: whether the boat is being sold “as is” or if there are any guarantees
- Date: when the item was sold by the Seller to the Purchaser
Boat Bill of Sale PDF Sample
The sample boat bill of sale below details an agreement between the seller, ‘Jesus B Derr’, and the purchaser, ‘Connie B Peay.’ Jesus B Derr agrees to sell his boat to Connie B Peay under the conditions specified.Boat Bill of Sale
2. When One is Needed
Proof of purchase is often required by your local Department of Motor Vehicles to get a title and registration for your boat.
A Bill of Sale for your watercraft provides written proof of the following:
- a business transaction actually occurred
- the boat truly belonged to the Seller
- the Seller intended to transfer ownership of the boat to the Purchaser
- details of the boat transferred (i.e. year, model, make, serial number, unique markings)
- the boat was sold “as is” or in a certain condition
3. The Consequences of Not Having the Form
A proof of purchase for a boat could help you save time and money, as well as keep you safe. Here are some of the preventable consequences:
|Lost time||Lost time
|Lost money||Lost money
|Personal safety||Personal safety
What happens if I do not have one?
Without this form, you do not have proof that you are the lawful owner of the boat. Just as the Buyer may be unable to register the boat, the Seller may still be on the hook for any fines the Buyer incurs while using the boat. Even if the boat is a gift, proof of sale is needed to document that the purchase price is “$0” for tax purposes. Without a proper form, you may have difficulties getting your boat titled and registered, which is often used for search and rescue purposes if there is a boating emergency.
4. The Most Common Situations for Use
A Bill of Sale for your vessel can be used for any number of watercraft ranging from sailboats and yachts to jetskis. Here are just a few people who could commonly benefit from a simple watercraft Bills of Sale:
- Possible Sellers and Purchasers
- Family members
- Online boat trading or sale platforms (i.e. boattrader.com or craigslist.com)
- Boat Dealers
5. What Should be Included in a Basic Form
A simple proof of purchase form for a vessel should generally answer the following basics:
- Who is buying and selling the boat
- What the purchase price of the boat is for future tax purposes
- Where the boat was registered and other details like the hull identification number
- When the boat is being purchased
- How the boat is being sold, i.e. with warranties and conditions, or simply “as is”
6. How to Sell your boat
1. Before selling your boat
Check your paperwork
Make sure you have the title, registration, and records of service in one place ready to show buyers if they request it.
Think about what the lowest price you would take is, taking into account any additional costs incurred during the sale, (e.g. for extra paint, wax or advertising). You can also check your local classified ads to see if there is a similar model you can compare your pricing with.
This may seem obvious but before you advertise or show your boat, ensure everything works properly and the boat runs well. Something may go wrong with the battery or the engine during the sea trail, so ensuring everything is functional will assist the sale.
Clean & touch up
Wax, clean, detail and make every part of the boat shine brightly. This includes the interior and exterior, flooring, curtains and upholstery, kitchen area, inside cupboards, the deck, everything. Make sure you spray the outboard and sterndrive skegs if they need a touch up.
2. Marketing your boat for a speedy sale
Do you need a dealer or broker?
Decide on whether you have the time and effort to sell your boat, or whether you will get more exposure and prospective buyers using a local broker or dealer. Ask around with you boating buddies or check on HullTruth or Tidalfish boat forums to identify which broker is right for this sale.
Make sure you take high quality pictures of your boat and any distinguishable features that may help it sell. You can take them while it is docked, or if you have a friend with a boat, you can enlist them to take photos while underway (useful if its a speed boat).
You can choose to sell the boat where you bought it, on boats.com or any other boat listing website. You need to list important features and fill out all specs for interested buyers, perhaps using bullet points to highlight important features.
3. Dealing with prospective Buyers
Make sure you are ready to respond to questions from potential buyers. Serious buyers will want to know the following questions, so ensure you have prepared answers. Here are some questions they may have:
- The condition and history of the boat.
- Price negotiation
- Delivery options
Arranging Sea Trials
Hopefully you have generated some interest from your advertisements and are receiving enquiries either by email or phone. Buyers will now be wanting to view the boat and undergo a sea trial to test whether it’s right for them. Remember that you need to ensure the boat is in top condition when showing.
Just before a prospective buyer comes to look at the boat, fire it up and get the engine running so it’s ready for the sea trials.
Try to ensure the interior of the boat is as clutter-free as possible. Bringing it down to basics will increase your chances of a sale. This includes removing unnecessary extra racking or furniture (as an added bonus, will also make the boat lighter during sea trials).
c) Less is better
When taking prospective buyers out for sea trials, try to keep it down to one or two people, so the boat runs quicker and smoother during the trial.
4. Closing the deal
Preventing fraud can be difficult, so be aware of signs if you think someone might be scamming you. Buyers should be asking a vast range of questions regarding the boat, so if they are more interested in the transfer of the money than the actual boat itself, this most likely will be a scam.
Transfer of Ownership
Creating a Bill of Sale will define the circumstances of the sale, including boat condition and the details of both seller and purchaser. You need this document to legally verify the transfer of ownership, as well as stipulating price and payment method.
Cash is the preferred method of payment for a boat sale. Ensure the payment is made in full before transferring ownership.
Selling your boat doesn’t need to be a hassle. Once you have attracted buyers through detailed advertising and begin to gain interest, you simply need to show them the boat through viewings and sea trials, and demonstrate its features and price in a way that can appeal to the buyer. Good luck!