Boat Bill of Sale Form

A Boat Bill of Sale proves that a buyer purchased a water vessel from a seller. It is required by many states for registration or when applying for a title. The document also transfers all liability from the seller to the buyer as it gives them legal ownership.

When filling out a boat bill of sale, it is important to include as many details as possible to cover one (1) or both parties in the case of legal action. Most states do not require the buyer to sign the document, although it is recommended to verify that the transaction took place. The seller, however, must sign the form in order for it to be valid. Since the transfer of property occurs at the moment of signing, all payments should be collected prior to ensure that the seller is paid in full.

By State

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How to Sell a Boat (6 Steps)

Follow the steps below to prepare, advertise, and sell a boat.

Step 1 – Prepare the Boat

When selling a boat, restore it as much as possible, as it will increase the value and interest of the buyer. While some individuals may look for boats that need fixing, many will opt for those that do not need work done. Having said, current owners should deep clean the interior and exterior of the boat by eliminating grime, grease, or stains in carpets or flooring. Smoothening scratches or chips and then waxing it will also help it look its best.

Step 2 – Gather Documents

Maintain an organized system of forms and paperwork throughout the selling process to make the transition seamless. This list includes the most critical documents to present to buyers before, during, and after the sale:

    • Title: First and foremost, the title of the boat must be present. The title proves that the seller is rightfully the owner. It also provides a clear-cut history of the boat (i.e. original seller, make, model, year of purchase, etc.), as well as a record of any previous owners.
    • Bill of Sale: Whether the boat was originally purchased from a dealer or private seller, it is recommended to have the bill of sale on hand. Not only does it prove that the seller owns the vessel, but it also gives the buyer an idea of the boat’s history.
    • Other Documents & Information: Consider any additional documents that will increase the buyer’s trust. For example, displaying a portfolio of repair order receipts can show others that the seller is well-organized. Similarly, booklets, like the boat’s manual, can convey that the current owner takes pride and care in the boat.

Step 3 – Capture Photos and Videos

After cleaning and gathering all documents, the next step is to take photos and videos. Sellers should use an up-to-date camera to take clear shots, as buyers will be more likely to tour a boat with quality images. Even factors like choosing a time of day where the sun is shining on the boat can impact the photo. Removing all clutter near or around the boat will also make the seller look more professional and attract more potential buyers.

Step 4 – Decide on Asking Price

Before listing the boat, the seller should choose a realistic asking price. Many factors, like the type of boat, its make and model, the year of production, and much more, can play a role in the cost. The boat owner should keep in mind that the buyer is most likely going to negotiate to try and lower the cost. Therefore, setting the asking price higher than its value may mean that the boat sells for more money. However, this method should be used with caution because the buyer may not even consider touring the boat if the starting price is too high.

If a seller is unsure of how much to sell the boat for, they should reference websites that calculate the value of a boat. In addition to online options, fellow boat owners, dealers, and/or brokers can provide estimates based on their skills and expertise.

Step 5 – Market the Boat

Advertising the boat in a variety of ways will increase the number of interested customers. With a larger pool of buyers, the likelihood of selling the boat for its asking price becomes greater. Consider these options when advertising a boat:

    • Online services (i.e. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Boat Trader)
    • Dealership
    • Hire a broker
    • Local ads
    • Small businesses or restaurants
    • Fliers
    • Word of mouth

Step 6 – Set up Tours and Sell Boat

Following the listing, potential buyers will email, text, and/or call to set up a boat tour. The seller should stay friendly and organized throughout the touring process to ensure that the transition goes smoothly. Taking notes about each interested candidate will help to keep track of offers and negotiations, while also building trust and rapport. Buyers who trust sellers are not only more likely to buy but also purchase the boat at a higher price.