Maryland Boat Bill of Sale Form


A Maryland boat bill of sale form encompasses the terminologies of a vessel transaction. It generally involves two (2) parties, with one person being the seller and the other being a buyer. However, additional co-owners must have involvement if the title lists their name. Neither party can alter the form after its completion; therefore, the buyer and seller must create a new bill of sale if they need to change the information.

  • Signing Requirements: Merchants, purchasers, and co-owners need to print and sign their names.

What is a Maryland Vessel Bill of Sale?

A Maryland vessel bill of sale contains the necessary fields for a buyer and seller to demonstrate a transfer of boat ownership. The state mandates residents to use the form created by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). New owners must present a completed version when registering and titling their watercraft.

The document requires the following information:

  • Boat’s hull identification number (HIN), manufacturer, length, and year;
  • Motor’s serial number, manufacturer, model, and horsepower;
  • First, middle, and last names of the purchaser, seller, and co-owners;
  • The mailing address of the purchaser(s) and the seller(s); and
  • Date and signatures of the seller(s).

Residents can obtain a vessel that the previous owner never documented or numbered. Under these circumstances, the form must include the date of the sale, the former owner’s name, and the reason it never received a number or documentation.

Did You Know?

Anyone born after July 1, 1972, needs a boating safety education certificate to operate a boat in Maryland legally. Once the person obtains the certification, they do not need to renew it; however, they must have the document with them while using the boat. If they cannot present the card to an officer upon request, they receive a $25 fine for the first offense. After that, the law enforcer can ticket them for up to $500.

How to Register a Boat in Maryland (5 Steps)

Maryland boats need a title and registration. Residents have thirty (30) days to obtain documentation after purchasing a vessel. Non-residents can use their watercraft in Maryland for no more than ninety (90) consecutive days between January 1st and December 31st of any given year. After this time, they must register and title their boat with the state. Registration and titling can occur in person or by mail to an authorized location.

After transferring a boat to a buyer, the previous owner must inform the state of the transfer within fifteen (15) days. They can visit an office in person or send the information by mail or fax. The state requires them to submit the date of the purchase, the sale amount, and the buyer’s name and address. Sellers must remove the decals from the boat before selling and send them in with the application. If they need a refund ($12) for the second year’s registration fee, they can also complete an application for a refund (Form 158-A).

Step 1 – Qualifications

Boats that use primary or auxiliary mechanical propulsion need a registration. In addition, the owner must use the boat in Maryland most of the days during the year. This law applies to both in-state residents and out-of-state visitors. In addition, U.S. Coast Guard boats do not qualify as exempt from excise tax.

Step 2 – Excise Tax

Maryland requires boaters to pay an excise tax before they register and title their vessel. The state assesses a 5% tax on the purchase price or fair market value. They charge a minimum of $5 and a maximum of $15,600.

Owners must pay the excise tax within thirty (30) days of purchasing a boat to avoid interest and penalties. If they do not meet this deadline, the state charges 10% of the excise tax due and an interest rate of 1.5% per month.

Individuals must complete a Certification of State of Principal Use (Form DNR-B-110) to prove they use their boat in another state (i.e., not Maryland) most of the time. This document, if approved, exempts the person from paying Maryland excise taxes.

Step 3 – Title + Register

Residents can title and register their boat during the same appointment. They must ascertain that the submitted documents include the boat’s hull identification number (HIN) and assigned boat number. Otherwise, the state can reject the documents.

Currently Titled in Maryland

Boats currently titled in Maryland by the previous owner require the following documents:

  • Certificate of title with sections two (2) and four (4) through seven (7) completed;
  • Original signed and notarized bill of sale (if the title does not include the purchaser’s name, sale date, and purchase price); and
  • Lien release if the seller has a recorded lien on the title.

Owners that need to provide the bill of sale form must ensure it contains the required information. It must include the names of the buyer and seller, the date of the sale, the seller’s signature, the purchase price, and a description of the vessel (i.e., its year, manufacturer, HIN, and current registration number).

New Vessel

The state requires owners of new vessels to send in additional forms. They must provide the application (DNR Form B-240) and the original manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO). If the MCO does not include the purchase price, date of the sale, and signatures, the buyer must provide a bill of sale instead.

The bill of sale must have each person’s name, the purchase date, the seller’s signature, selling price, and boat description. It must also have the following statement: “I declare and affirm under penalty of perjury that the facts in this bill of sale are true and correct.”

Used Vessel (From Title State)

Used vessels that come from a state that issues titles require an application and title with the purchase’s name, seller’s signature, the date of the sale, and the selling price. If the title does not have these details, then the notarized bill of sale must include it. A lien release must accompany the paperwork if the title shows a lien holder.

Used Vessel (From Non-Title State)

If a used boat comes from a non-title state, the new owner must present an application, out-of-state registration card, and a notarized bill of sale. They must also provide a lien release card if the vessel has a loan on it.

Step 4 – Decals + Number

After receiving the registration numbers and decals, the new owner must print the information on the boat. They must have the number made into a decal to stick on the vessel. Otherwise, they must use paint to display it.

The sequence must read left to right on both sides of the ship in lettering at least three (3) inches tall. It must use bold, block letter text and have a color that makes it easy to see against the vessel’s paint. Each section must have a space or hyphen so that it does not appear bunched or overcrowded (e.g., MD 4856 HF or MD-4856-HF).

The decals must go on each side of the boat aligned with the number. It must stay three (3) inches above, behind, in front, or below the number. Per state law, the individual cannot place other numbers, letters, or stickers near this area so that it does not interfere with its visibility.

Step 5 – Renew

Boat registrations last for two (2) years, with the expiration date on December 31st. Since it takes about ten (10) days for the new registration card and decals to come in the mail, the state issues a thirty (30) day temporary. This pass allows them to operate the boat until they receive the new information legally.

The individual must have their HIN and vessel number to renew successfully. They can submit the documents online, in-person, at a kiosk, or through the mail.

Owners can complete their online registration using eMVA. In addition, they can opt to renew at a regional service center or a motor vehicle administration kiosk. As a final option, they can submit the documents by mail.

To renew by kiosk, they must have a current active registration (i.e., not expired) and previously completed a transaction for the boat within the past two (2) years. They must also have a valid mailing address and customer and vessel record without restrictions.

Mailing Address:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401