Kentucky Boat Bill of Sale Form


A Kentucky boat bill of sale form grants residents the ability to register and title a vessel in their name. The buyer and seller fill out the document to ascertain the ownership change and state and federal law adherence. Both signatures affirm the details written within the bill of sale, such as the boat’s cosmetic and mechanical qualities.

  • Statutes: KRS Chapter 235
  • Signing Requirements: All transferors and transferees involved must provide their signatures in the mandated areas.

What is a Kentucky Vessel Bill of Sale?

A Kentucky vessel bill of sale reports the financial terms of an agreement between two (2) private parties. It accompanies the title and other necessary documents when transferring possession of a boat. The bill of sale makes the transaction permanent and serves as an added layer of protection for the previous and new owners.

Each person needs to add their up-to-date information, including their full name, home address, phone number, and email address. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources can potentially contact the seller during registration and titling to verify their identity and approval of the transaction.

Did You Know?

Residents can operate a motorized boat (ten (10) horsepower or more) beginning on their twelfth birthday. Anyone between twelve (12) and seventeen (17) needs a Kentucky Safe Boating Certificate Card. If they do not have the card, they need a certificate proving they passed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)-approved boating education class. Interested parties can call 1-800-858-1549 for more details or visit the online resource.

How to Register a Boat in Kentucky (5 Steps)

A merchant has fifteen (15) days from the purchase date to give the buyer the completed title. They also must notify the state of the sale within this timeframe. If they do not meet this deadline, the county clerk can ticket them. In addition, state officials can hold them liable if the new owner obtains fines or damages the vehicle.

Individuals from another state can use their boat in Kentucky for sixty (60) back-to-back days. After this time, they must forfeit their out-of-state title and registration to obtain an in-state one. This process occurs at the person’s nearest county clerk’s office.

Boaters must have their registration certificate on board whenever they operate it. Failure to abide by this law can result in fines and suspensions. Individuals renting vessels from a boat livery or marina must also have their lease agreement on board.

Step 1 – Qualifications

Mechanically powered vessels must have a Kentucky registration and title. Non-motorized watercraft do not require documentation. Examples include sailboats, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and other boats without an engine.

Step 2 – Title

The seller must transfer the title to the buyer within fifteen (15) days of the sale. Merchants who lost the title or damaged it must apply for a new title before selling the boat. They must also sign for it to hold value. The title includes the entire ship, such as its body, motor, and mechanical parts.

To apply for a Kentucky boat title, the buyer must provide: 1) the completed application (Form TC96-184), 2) proof of ownership, and 3) photo identification (ID). The owner must include a hull identification number (HIN) tracing if submitting a bill of sale or affidavit of ownership. Furthermore, they need another license or form of ID if the name on the person’s driver’s license differs from that on the legal documents.

Step 3 – Registration

Registration can occur once the owner has titled the boat. The owner can also register and title their vessel simultaneously to avoid multiple trips to the county clerk’s office. Individuals must ascertain they have the filled-out paperwork and payment method ready before their appointment. This step ensures the county clerk does not turn away the owner.

Provide the Following:

Step 4 – Decals + Number

Kentucky Registration Number Example: KY-4856-FI (or KY 4856 FI).

The Kentucky registration number and decals must appear on the boat’s front half (i.e., the bow) on each side. Individuals can paint the number on the vessel or have a custom sticker made to attach. Each set of numerals and letters must include a space or hyphen.

Per federal law, the owner can only use block-style font three (3) inches or taller. If the boat has a dark color, the number must appear in a light color or vice versa. Essentially, the sequence must stand out so that others can see it from a distance.

When attaching the decals, the owner must place them on each side of the boat six (6) inches away from the registration number. Each renewal year, the individual must remove the decals and replace them with the new sticker. Registration numbers do not change unless the owner moves out of state or sells the boat.

Step 5 – Renew

Kentucky boat registrations expire yearly on April 30th. State protocol allows each county to have unique registration and titling laws. Boat owners must learn of their county’s requirements to provide the documentation by the deadline. Most jurisdictions accept the information online, by phone, and through the mail. However, the registrar must visit the office in certain counties.