Mississippi Boat Bill of Sale Form


A Mississippi boat bill of sale form signifies the exchange of a vessel between two (2) residents. The deal often requires an exchange of funds; however, the transfer can also happen by gift or trade. The bill of sale form must educate the reader on the boat’s value and condition. It must also provide information about the payment method and whether taxes were included. Although not required, the buyer and seller can use the form for boat trailers and motors if the seller added them to the sale.

What is a Mississippi Vessel Bill of Sale?

A Mississippi vessel bill of sale supplies buyers and sellers with evidence of the transaction that occurred among them. While not considered a legal contract, the document has similar characteristics in that it binds each person to hold up their end of the bargain. In other words, the buyer must pay the seller the amount they discussed, and the merchant must hand over ownership of the boat. Notarization further authenticates the form and gives it greater power, particularly when law officials become involved.

Did You Know?

Minnesota enacted a law on July 1, 1997, stating that individuals born after June 30, 1980, must pass a Boating Safety Course before driving a vessel. The regulation extends to children twelve (12) years or under as they can only operate a boat if someone twenty-one (21) years or older is on the boat. Patrol officers can stop and fine or arrest anyone who disobeys the law.

Residents can sign up for online and in-person classes. The following three (3) providers offer courses to interested parties: 1) boat-ed.com, 2) boaterexam.com, and 3) boatus.org. Vessel owners that do not need to have a boating certification often apply for one to receive a reduced insurance premium. However, policyholders should discuss this process with a specialist to ensure they qualify.

The registration card must remain with the driver when operating the vessel. If the card becomes lost, damaged, or stolen, they must immediately apply for a new one through the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks (MDWFP) website.

How to Register a Boat in Mississippi (5 Steps)

Buyers must register their vessels within ten (10) days of the purchase or acquisition. Under all circumstances, owners must obtain a boat registration to use it. As of July 1, 1998, the state does not require residents to obtain a boat and/or motor title but gives them the option.

Individuals can apply for a Mississippi boat registration online or send the required paperwork to the MDFWP Headquarters in Jackson. When paying the fees online, the registrar must present a mobile payment, such as a credit or debit card. If sending by mail, they must use a check, cashier’s check, money order, or cash.

Interested parties can obtain a boat registration application form online, from a nearby tax collector’s office, at a boat servicing center or dealership, or from an MDWFP regional office or headquarters location.

Sellers must notify the MDWFP of the sale after transferring it to the new owner. This step protects both parties from legal claims and/or confusion. They can report the sale by calling (601) 432-2055 or online. The seller also has an obligation to give the buyer the registration before completing the sale.

Step 1 – Inspection

Homemade boats and vessels without serial numbers require inspection. The owner must complete a boat inspection application and send it by mail with a check or money order to the district office for $12.70. Once received, a Conservation Officer contacts the individual and provides them with a meeting time and location for the inspection.

After the officer inspects and passes the boat, they fill out a form and give it to the owner, who sends it to MDWFP headquarters by mail. If the person made the boat themselves, they must also provide a homebuilt boat statement in the envelope. This document allows the MDWFP to assign a serial or hull identification number (HIN).

A HIN is a twelve (12) digit number that represents the boat and makes it easily identifiable as no two (2) vessels have the same sequence. The first three (3) letters are the manufacturing identification (ID) code, while the next set of five (5) numbers is the hull’s serial number. Lastly, the following mix of four (4) letters and numbers is the date of certificate or manufacturer, or model year.

HIN Example: FJG96045C797

Step 2 – Registration

Owners must obtain a boat registration before applying for a title. They must provide the required documentation and payment to ensure proper processing. When completing the application, they must include the HIN. The boat must have a HIN before the registration appointment.

Certain situations call for specific forms. For insurance, if the individual purchases a new or used boat through a dealer, they must submit a copy of the sales invoice with the other documents. Owners who purchased the vessel from an out-of-state dealer must also provide proof of sales tax payment.

In- and out-of-state private sales require proof of the previous registration, the boat and/or motor titles (if formally titled in the seller’s name), and a witnessed or notarized bill of sale.

Provide the Following:

Step 3 – Title (Optional)

Mississippi gives residents the option of applying for a boat or motor title. However, the owner does not have a legal obligation to acquire a title. Nonetheless, the individual must have a registration before applying for the title. The MDWFP handles these matters, but they do not title boat trailers. Instead, this step must happen at a nearby county tax collector’s office.

The applicant must mail the completed, signed, and notarized application to the MDWFP Headquarters in Jackson. They can obtain the form from a regional office or online. The state accepts mail payments through checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, and cash.

Step 4 – Attach Number / Decals

After submission, the MDWFP processes applications. Approved individuals receive a registration card and two (2) decals by mail.

The state provides this information if the boat has never had a registration number. It begins with MI and contains four (4) digits and two (2) alphabetical letters thereafter. Each section of numerals and letters must have a space or hyphen between them for easy viewing. The unique number stays with the boat for its lifespan, not the owner. In other words, upon selling, the buyer would keep the number rather than the seller.

Furthermore, the owner must attach the number and/or decal to their vessel as they risk fines by failing to do so. During each renewal period, they must remove the old decal sticker and replace it with a new one. Per state law, individuals must follow the procedures listed below when labeling.

  • Paint or attach the registration number and decals to each side of the boat’s forward half (i.e., the bow);
  • Use block lettering at least three (3) inches tall and place the number so that it reads left to right;
  • Select a color that strongly contrasts the boat’s background (i.e., light on dark or dark on light);
  • Adhere the decal within six (6) inches of the number using proper alignment; and
  • Do not place any other information in this area as it obstructs others’ ability to see the number.

Step 5 – Renew

Mississippi boat registrations last for three (3) years. Individuals can find the expiration date by referring to their card from the state. Local regulations allow vessel owners to renew up to sixty (60) days beforehand as they also send out notices during this time. If they fail to renew by the specified date, the registration period changes, and may receive fines. Renewals can happen online, via mail, by phone call (1-800-546-4868), or at a location selling hunting and fishing licenses.

Owners who have an address change between renewal periods must notify the MDWFP immediately. They must also replace lost, destroyed, or stolen cards or decals. The state requires them to provide details about the original title, explain how they lost or destroyed the tags, and submit a statement for needing a duplicate.

Relevant Boat Forms:

MDWFP Regional Offices

North Regional Office


457 CR 36

Enid, MS 38927


P.O. Box 100

Enid, MS 38927

(662) 563-6222
Central Regional Office

Turcotte Lab

506 Hwy 43 S.,

Canton, MS 39046

(601) 859-3421
South Regional Office

1201 N. Clark Ave.

Magnolia, MS 39652

(601) 783-2911
MDWFP Headquarters

1505 Eastover Drive

Jackson, MS 39211

(601) 432-2055