New Jersey Boat Bill of Sale Form


A New Jersey boat bill of sale form identifies a vessel, motor, and trailer when two (2) parties transfer property. Both individuals use the document to confirm the watercraft’s manufacturer, type, year, length, title number, and hull identification number (HIN). If the exchange involves a motor, they must also list its make, model, year, horsepower, engine hours, and serial number. Similarly, if it concerns a trailer, the person completing the form must disclose its brand, type, year, axles, vehicle identification number (VIN), and license plate number.

  • Statutes: §§ 12:7-23.1 to 12:7-87
  • Signing Requirements: The merchant must sign with the buyer to confirm the information within the document. Notarization is required when an individual transfers the boat from a non-title state into New Jersey.

What is a New Jersey Vessel Bill of Sale?

A New Jersey vessel bill of sale explains how a buyer and seller handled a boat transaction. Each person reveals their contact information, date of purchase, and payment details, such as the sale price and the method. By utilizing the form, both parties have a permanent record. Essentially, it is a glorified receipt, enabling the previous and current owners to prove the transfer happened. The buyer can show their newly obtained ownership, whereas the seller can verify their release of liability.

Did You Know?

Residents in New Jersey must have a Boating Safety Course Certificate and boat license to operate a powered vessel. Non-powered boats, such as kayaks and canoes, do not require a certification or license.

Interested parties must be at least sixteen (16) years old to take a boating safety course approved by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). If they are under seventeen (17) years old, they must provide a consent letter from a parent or legal guardian.

After passing the education class, they receive a certificate and license, which they must bring to their nearest motor vehicle agency for licensing. In addition, they must provide “6 points of ID” and pay $18.

How to Register a Boat in New Jersey (4 Steps)

Motorized boats in New Jersey require registration. The vessel only needs a title if it is longer than twelve (12) feet. Documentation must occur within ten (10) days of the purchase, or the owner must pay a $25 fine.

Step 1 – Exemptions

All vessels in New Jersey need registration except:

  • Out-of-state boats used in public waterways for less than 180 consecutive days;
  • Vessels from another country;
  • United States public vessels;
  • Watercraft classified as a ship’s lifeboat;
  • Boats without a motor used on private property (i.e., small lakes, ponds, etc.);
  • Motorless vessels with inflatable devices (i.e., canoes, racing shells, kayaks, surfboards, dinghies, etc.);
  • Watercraft without a motor less than twelve (12) feet long;
  • Racing boats (requires a permit from New Jersey State Marine Police); and
  • Tender or dinghy used only for transportation purposes between vessel and shore.

Step 2 – Title + Registration

Titling must happen within ten (10) days of buying a boat in New Jersey. Owners who fail to meet this requirement must pay a $25 penalty. Vessels twelve (12) feet in length or less do not need a title, nor do watercraft with documentation from the United States Coast Guard.

Residents must meet with their motor vehicle agency to complete the title and registration process. They must bring a Universal Title Application (Form OS/SS-UTA), Boat Registration Application Form (BA-51), and a properly assigned title or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Ownership (MCO). Individuals bringing a boat from another state that does not issue titles must submit proof of the seller’s ownership (i.e., registration) and a notarized bill of sale.

The registrar owes the requested amount by card, check, money order, or cash. They must pay for the title, which costs $60 for a standard document and $85 for financed vessels. Owners also must cover the registration fees and sales and use taxes.

Homemade boats require the owner to hand in the following:

  • Universal Title Application (Form OS/SS-UTA);
  • Boat Registration Application Form (BA-51);
  • Identification;
  • Receipts (originals) for purchased parts;
  • Notarized statement with the details of the vessel’s construction; and
  • HIN Investigation Report (Form OS/SS-10A)*

*Individuals can only obtain this document through a motor vehicle agency. The state only accepts it if a New Jersey State Marine Police officer completes it.

Step 3 – Numbers + Decal

Vessel owners must appropriately display their registration number and decal once they receive the information. They must paint or attach the number to each side of the bow. It must read from left to right in block letting that stands at least three (3) inches tall. The person applying the number must use a color that stands out from the vessel’s paint.

The registration sequence begins with “NJ” with four (4) numbers and two (2) letters following it. Each part of the number must have a hyphen or space between it. The owner cannot place any other information near the number except for the decal. Stickers belong on each side of the boat within three (3) inches of the registration number.

Step 4 – Renew

New Jersey boat registrations last for one (1) year. Owners must renew their tags before the expiration date listed on their documentation. Agencies send notices to registered individuals as a reminder to reapply at a motor vehicle agency, by mail, or online. During the appointment, the owner discloses information about the watercraft and pays the required fees.

In addition to renewal, the boat operator must ensure they keep their boating license up to date, as they cannot use the vessel without valid certifications. They may be subject to fines, penalties, or arrest if they do not abide by this law.

Individuals who lose their boat title or registration must obtain a new one at a registered agency. When applying for a duplicate title, they must bring 1) a finalized Universal Title Application (Form OS/SS-UTA), 2) the boater’s registration card or record, and 3) $60 for the title fees. If the boat has a lien, they must also bring a letter from their loan provider that includes the company or individual’s name, the HIN, and a statement verifying they do not have the title.

Owners needing a duplicate vessel registration must visit an agency with 1) identification, 2) a finalized Application for Vehicle Registration (Form BA-49), 3) the previous registration receipt or the title transaction, and 4) a $5 replacement fee. Vessels with a lien also require the applicant to provide a statement with the loaner’s name, authorization to carry out the application, and the HIN.