Missouri Boat Bill of Sale Form


A Missouri boat bill of sale form refers to the details of a vessel transfer. Buyers, sellers, and co-owners (if applicable) fill out the document together, ensuring that each party gives accurate responses. The form allows inputting data about the boat, trailer, and outboard motor. Neither person needs to fill out inapplicable sections. For example, the seller can skip the trailer portion if the sale does not include it; however, they must provide information about additional parts and/or accessories. Otherwise, the state can turn away the bill of sale form, rendering it useless.

  • Statutes: §§ 306.010 to 306.080 | §§ 306.455 to 306.465
  • Signing Requirements: The purchaser(s) and merchant(s) must sign their names. If the Department of Revenue (DOR) requests notarization, both parties must sign in the presence of a notary public.

What is a Missouri Vessel Bill of Sale?

A Missouri vessel bill of sale declares the previous owner as the “seller” and the new owner as the “buyer.” It accompanies the title, which officially transfers ownership. The bill of sale is a supplementary form that includes additional information about the transaction. Furthermore, the Missouri DOR provides residents with an official document, also known as “Form 1957.” Individuals must use this specific form during vessel sales, which later allows them to prove the change in ownership.

Did You Know?

In Missouri, residents born after January 1, 1984, must pass a boater education course to operate a vessel on the state’s lakes (§ 306.127). Individuals fourteen (14) years or older can drive a boat without supervision if they have a certification card. Children under fourteen (14) years of age must have a card and adult supervision. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) offers online and in-person courses to interested parties.

How to Register a Boat in Missouri (4 Steps)

Missouri law requires individuals to have a title and registration for their vessel, outboard motor, and trailer (§§ 306.530 to 306.575). The outboard motor must have a “Year Manufactured” label if they purchase it on or after July 1 unless the manufacturer’s statement of origin (MSO) states the model and year. Additional instructions are on page two of the application (Form 93).

Without documentation, the owner can receive fines and penalties if law enforcement pulls them over while operating the boat. Paying close attention to regulations prevents misdemeanors and other legal charges. Furthermore, established and incoming residents must register and title their boat within sixty (60) days of purchasing. If they miss the deadline, they must pay the associated late fees.

Residents can obtain a temporary permit that allows them to operate their boat for up to sixty (60) days while they wait for their title and registration to arrive by mail. To apply, they must provide one of the following documents: 1) certificate of title, 2) manufacturer’s statement of origin, 3) bill of sale (Form 1957), 4) notice of sale (Form 5049), 5) application (Form 93), 6) abstract of title (CG-1332), or 7) documented vessel certificate of registration (Form 4086). In addition, they must complete and submit a special permit application (Form 1275). The owner must pay $19 – $11 for the watercraft and $8 for the outboard motor.

Step 1 – Exemptions

In Missouri, boats propelled by motors must have a title and registration. However, the state exempts certain watercrafts from this requirement. The following do not need documentation:

  • Out-of-state or out-of-country vessels operated in Missouri waterways for less than sixty (60) consecutive days;
  • Government-owned ships;
  • Boats manually propelled by oars or paddles (i.e., canoes, kayaks, etc.);
  • Sailboats (or sailboards) with a length of twelve (12) feet or less; or
  • Lifeboats on board ships for water rescue purposes.

Step 2 – Title + Registration

First-time applicants must make an appointment to register and title their boats at a Missouri license office. In addition to the general forms, the vessel owner must provide a notarized lien release (Form 4809) if they recently paid off their loan.

Registrars must also pay the associated title and registration charges, which include a state sales tax (4.225%), local sales tax, title fee ($7.50), decal fee, outboard motor title fee ($5), outboard motor registration fee ($2), and processing fees. The state provides an online sales tax estimator for residents to calculate the payment beforehand.

Residents and non-residents who fail to title and register the boat within sixty (60) days of purchasing or moving to the state must pay additional fines. A penalty of $10 accrues on the 61st day with increases every thirty (30) days after that; however, the state can only charge a maximum of $30 for late fees.

Provide the Following:

Step 3 – Certificate Number + Decal

A Missouri certificate of number identifies the boat like a license plate on a motor vehicle. No two (2) vessels have the same number and letter sequence, thus allowing law enforcement or state offices to pinpoint it. The registration number always begins with MO and has four (4) digits and two (2) letters following it (i.e., MO-5485-FI). It remains with the vessel for its lifetime unless it changes states.

Owners must attach the number to their boat so others can locate it near or far. It belongs on the starboard and port side of the vessel’s bow. The numbers must appear in a clear, clean fashion that strongly contrasts the boat’s paint. For example, dark letters should go on light-colored backgrounds, and light letters should go on dark paint. It should read left to right in three (3) inch or taller block font with uniform spacing of two (2) inches between each character. If desired, the owner can place a hyphen between each set of numbers and letters.

The state also provides owners with decals, which function similarly to tabs on a motor vehicle’s license plate. It goes below the certificate of number and lasts three (3) years. Once it expires or sells, the operator must remove the sticker so they or the new owner can replace it.

Following registration, the vessel owner receives outboard motor decals, which stay with them until they sell the boat or transfer states. They must attach it to the solid part of the motor’s metal housing. The owner must also have their pocket card when using the boat, which the state sends with the title. This document contains the certificate number and requires a new copy during each registration renewal.

Step 4 – Renew Every Three (3) Years

Missouri boat registrations last for three (3) years and expire on June 30 of the year listed on the decal. Only watercraft registrations need renewing – the state does not include outboard motors in this requirement. Once the state provides a motor registration, it lasts indefinitely or until the owner sells it.

The state does not assess penalties for late renewals; however, an owner cannot operate a vessel without a valid registration. Therefore, individuals should renew their registration as soon as possible to avoid fines from the boat patrol.

Residents and non-residents can renew at a license office, by phone (573-751-1957), or by mail. The state does not offer an online renewal system. Nonetheless, individuals can use the virtual renewal inquiry system, which lists the information needed to renew Missouri boat registrations.

Generally, to renew, the applicant needs their boat renewal notice or a completed and notarized application (Form 2686). They must also present a paid personal property tax receipt or statement of non-assessment. The state also charges renewal and processing fees, which the owner must pay at the time of submission.

If the boat owner loses their decals or pocket card, or it becomes mutilated or damaged, they must apply for new ones. Individuals cannot operate their vessels without their decals or registration information. To apply for documentation, they must visit a local office, send in the required paperwork by mail, or call the listed phone number (573-751-1957). The state requires them to provide a completed and notarized application (Form 2686), their most recent registration title receipt, and payment ($8.50 replacement fee plus $6 processing fee).