Illinois Boat Bill of Sale Form


An Illinois boat bill of sale form gives an individual responsibility for a vessel after purchasing it. The commerce can happen through a private sale or dealership. Illinois does not have a state-specific form, meaning buyers and sellers can use a template or create a document. It must include both parties’ credentials and the boat, motor, and trailer information. Residents can also use separate bill of sale forms for motors and trailers if they do not wish to include them on the vessel bill of sale.

  • Statutes: 625 ILCS 45 /
  • Signing Requirements: Both parties must sign the document.

What is an Illinois Vessel Bill of Sale?

An Illinois vessel bill of sale records the account of a deal between a buyer and seller. Both entities fill out the document, holding each person responsible for the accuracy of the listed information. The buyer and seller sign to acknowledge their agreement and the form’s validity. Neither person can make changes to the bill of sale once completed. Changing or altering the information can lead to criminal charges and fines.

Did You Know?

Illinois requires residents born after January 1, 1998, to obtain and carry a boater education card when operating vessels greater than ten (10) horsepower. After taking and passing a certified boater safety course, the person receives the card. Approved classes occur in-person and online (Boat-Ed / Boater Exam).

Individuals between ten (10) and seventeen (17) years old can drive without a card when in the presence of a person over the age of eighteen (18) who took and passed a certification course. Children ages twelve (12) and older must have a card to operate the boat independently.

How to Register a Boat in Illinois (5 Steps)

Residents must register and title vessels in their name within fifteen (15) days of purchasing (§ 3A-12(b)). The applicant mails their forms and payment to the Illinois Natural Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) or submits it online or through the mail.

Out-of-state boaters can use their vessel in Illinois waters for no more than sixty (60) consecutive days. After this time, they must obtain registration and/or title in the state (§ 3-12(B)).

Step 1 – Inspection

A certified inspector must examine the boat if it does not have a hull identification number (HIN) or previous registration. In addition, owners of homemade ships must have the watercraft assessed before registering or titling them.

Step 2 – Title

Powered watercraft over twenty-one (21) feet long need a title before the owner can apply for registration. The individual must provide the previous title from the seller. If the boat does not have a title, the applicant must provide a document verifying the transfer of ownership, such as a bill of sale or purchase agreement. Title applications happen online and by mail.

Step 3 – Registration

Motorized vessels and sailboats twenty-one (21) feet and under need a registration. Boats with a length of twenty-two (22) feet or longer require registration and title.

If the seller titled and registered the boat, they must transfer the information to the buyer at the sale. Then, the new owner must give the previous title and registration to the IDNR.

Individuals who obtained the boat from a deceased relative may have to complete a Small Estate Affidavit (Form IL 1017) and/or a Statement of Trust (Form TR-39). If the owner wants someone else to handle their boat matters, they must provide the representative and/or IDNR with a Boat Power of Attorney (Form IL 422-0329).

Provide the Following:

Step 4 – Number + Decals

As soon as the IDNR approves the registration, the office sends decals to the owner and provides them with their unique certification number. The registration contains three (3) sets of numbers and letters. It begins with “IL” and then ends with four (4) numbers and two (2) letters. For example, a number can look like “IL-9350-FN.” Each section has a hyphen or space between it.

The owner must place the number on the boat’s front left and right sides. It needs to have block-style lettering that reaches three (3) inches high. The color must distinctly stand out from the boat.

Decals must appear at the end of the number on both sides of the vessel. Individuals cannot place other stickers, numbers, decorations, or distractors in this area.

Step 5 – Renew

Illinois boat registrations expire on September 30th every three (3) years. Operators must renew their registration online before the expiration date.

Mailing Address:
Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources – IDNR Headquarters
Attn: Watercraft/Snowmobile
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702