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5 Reasons You Need a Bill of Sale When Selling Your Boat

— May 24, 2022

We recommend downloading a bill of sale template from the internet to ensure that you don’t forget any relevant information.

Rumour has it: the best days in a boat lover’s life are when they purchase one or sell one. If you’re in the latter phase and plan on selling your boat, you may need to be aware of a few facts, particularly the bill of sale. You will need a bill of sale when selling or buying a boat, and we are here to explain why.

Why Do You Need a Bill Of Sale?

A bill of sale is a legal document meant to depict the ownership of a particular boat or vessel. It mainly represents the transaction as the vessel is transferred from one person to another. It can be used for both types of boats; unpowered and powered. There are several reasons you may need a bill of sale when selling a boat. These include:

·         Majority of the jurisdictions need a bill of sale to register the vessel with the new owner officially

·         A bill of sale allows the purchaser to depict that they have completed the transaction by paying for the goods

·         It ensures that the one selling the boat does not put fraud allegations on you once you’ve received ownership of the vessel

·         It offers the seller just as much protection as it does to the buyer

·         It completes the transaction process and legally allows you to provide ownership to the new owner

The Technicalities Involved

Now that you know why you may need a bill of sale when purchasing or selling a boat let’s get into the technicalities. Regarding the timing of finalizing a bill of sale, let’s speak about whether you should give the bill of sale before or after the transaction.

If you set up a bill of sale and provide it to the new owner, the legal implication is that they are officially the rightful owner of the vessel. This is valid even if they have not paid for the vessel. Therefore, it is ideal to ensure that you offer the bill of sale to the buyer once they’ve paid for it and completed the transaction. Moreover, this rule is also recommended for cars and trailers.

Details to Add in a Bill of Sale

First and foremost, you will need to add various details about the boat. These details might include the name of the company that manufactures the boat, its manufacturing year, and the ID and title number. Moreover, we suggest adding an odometer reading in hours.

Fishing boat and rod
Fishing boat and rod; image courtesy of K_Malik via Pixabay,

Aside from adding various details about the boat, you may want to add details about the buyer. These include their address, full name, and contact information. Moreover, the boat bill of sale must also include similar details of the seller. Ideally, the buyer and the seller should add their information to the bill of sale.

Other information required in the bill of sale would be the boat’s purchase price. This is one of the most essential details to add to a boat bill of sale. Lastly, the last detail to add is the location of the transaction. This is essential because different locations have varying laws and regulations regarding the transfer of a boat’s ownership.

Types of Vessels or Boats a Bill of Sale is Used For

There are a variety of vessels that require a bill of sale for their transactions. Some of these include:

·         Motorboats

·         Skiffs

·         Sailboats

·         Yachts

·         Jetskis

·         Rowboats

·         Catamarans

·         Kayaks

·         Canoes

The Process

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of a bill of sale, let’s formulate one. First and foremost, writing up a bill of sale will require you to add many details as possible. As discussed above, you can start by adding all relevant information about the boat and yourself as a seller. Then, it would be best if you got the buyer to add their personal information and relevant details.

We recommend downloading a bill of sale template from the internet to ensure that you don’t forget any relevant information. The only factor in ensuring would be that the bill of sale template you download is compatible with your country or state’s laws and works for boats.

The last step involves signing the documents legally. In this digital era, we are lucky enough to be able to sign a document online. A bill of sale for a boat will be sealed and complete once the documents are signed. You can simplify the process by using any online signature such as Adobe Sign. This will allow for the transaction process to follow through and be complete without arranging an in-person meeting.


Therefore, if you’re planning on selling a boat, knowing the importance of a boat bill of sale is integral. This ensures that the transaction is official and abides by all jurisdictions and laws within your specific country or state. Moreover, it offers protection to both parties involved in the transaction.

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