Hawaii Boat Bill of Sale Form


A Hawaii boat bill of sale form provides buyers and sellers with a simple way to record a vessel exchange. The buyer brings the document to a Division of Boating and Ocean Recreations (DOBOR) office to register and title the watercraft. It signifies that the new owner claims the boat as their possession, and, consequently, the previous owner releases their control and responsibility for it. When carrying out the reassignment, both parties must refer to state and local laws to ensure the deal happens without incident.

  • Statutes: §§ 200-1 to 200-74
  • Signing Requirements: The previous and new owners must include their signatures.

What is a Hawaii Vessel Bill of Sale?

A Hawaii vessel bill of sale has the capacity for legally verifying a business deal. A private seller or dealer completes the document after engaging in an oral discussion with the consumer. It puts the spoken words into writing to bring a sense of authenticity into the sale.

In most cases, neither party can wrongfully accuse the other of a fraudulent transaction if a bill of sale exists. Instead, the document highlights the exact moment the buyer and seller chose to exchange property and funds. As a result, it implies a peaceful meeting and conversation between both individuals.

Did You Know?

Anyone in Hawaii operating a motorized vessel must have a boater education card. The resident must pass a boater safety course to obtain the certification  (§ 13-244-15.5). They must take a class approved by the state of Hawaii and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

After finishing the class, the state adds the student’s name to the Hawaii Registry of Vessel Operators. The service functions as an additional form of identity verification for law enforcement. It also provides the boater with a free duplicate card if they lose or damage the original.

How to Register a Boat in Hawaii (4 Steps)

As of July 1, 2021, the DOBOR established a law requiring motorized boats to have a registration and title (previously, residents did not need a title). Individuals cannot register their vessel until they title it with the state. Registration and titling must occur in person at a district office.

Residents who sold their vessel to a buyer must notify the DOBOR within seven (7) days of transferring ownership (Notice of Transfer). Non-residents can use their boat in Hawaii waterways for up to sixty (60) back-to-back days without needing a registration or title in the state.

Step 1 – Requirements

Most boats in Hawaii require a title registration. However, owners do not need to apply for either in some situations. Exemptions include vessels that are:

  • Manually propelled (i.e., paddle, row, pole);
  • Sail propelled with a length of eight (8) feet or less;
  • Public or federally registered;
  • Lifeboats; and
  • Out-of-state operating in Hawaii for less than sixty (60) consecutive days.

Step 2 – Title

Before July 1, 2021, residents in Hawaii did not need a title for their boats. However, a new law that mandates vessel titling for all individuals went into effect. Watercraft currently registered but not titled need to obtain tags prior to the due date. Purchasers of new or used boats must title them before applying for registration. Titles have replaced the need for a notarized bill of sale (or notice of sale).

Step 3 – Registration

After receiving a title, the owner must apply for a Hawaii boat registration (or certificate of number). They must make an appointment at the vessel registration and titling office in Oahu or their nearest district office. The state only accepts applications on white paper signed in blue ink.

Once the DOBOR assigns a certificate of number, it stays with the boat until it changes possession or the owner moves out of the state. The number legally ties the owner to the boat’s registration and title. In other words, the district office can find information about the resident by entering their certificate of number.

Bring the Following:

Step 4 – Display

As soon as the state approves the resident’s boat title and registration, they send the certificate of number and registration sticker. The owner must ensure the boat neatly displays the hull identification number (HIN), certificate of number, and decals. Law enforcement can stop and fine individuals who fail to provide the information correctly.

A hull identification number (HIN) is a twelve (12)-digit number assigned by the manufacturer that identifies the boat. Each vessel has a unique HIN, meaning that no two (2) boats have the same number. All watercrafts made after November 1, 1972, must have an attached HIN from the shipbuilder. Owners of boats without the number must apply for one through their state of residence.

A Hawaii Certificate of Number is an eight (8)-digit number that begins with two (2) letters followed by four (4) numbers and two (2) more letters. It reads as follows: HA-3894-WN.

The certification of number must appear on the left and right sides of the hull. Individuals can paint the number on the vessel or have a professional make a sticker with the information. They must evenly space each section of letters and numbers with a hyphen or a space larger than the letter “I.” It needs to read left to right at an easy-to-see angle with a three (3) inch height. They must use block-style lettering and a color that stands out from the background.

The registration decal must appear next to the number on the boat. Owners must align it three (3) inches from the end of the number. Other information cannot go in this area as law enforcement need to see it whenever the driver operates it.

Step 5 – Renew

Hawaii boat registrations last for one (1) year. The vessel owner must apply for a new registration and decals before their current paperwork expires. Currently, as of 2022, the district offices only allow in-person renewals. Therefore, the individual must call to make an appointment with their nearby location.

Owners of boats under twenty (20) feet must pay $20 to renew. Boats over twenty (20) feet long cost $35. The state imposes additional fees for late renewals and replacement titles, decals, and cards (Form LNR 2-023).