New Mexico Boat Bill of Sale Form


New Mexico boat bill of sale form binds the buyer and seller to the terms of a boat transfer between one another. It captures all the necessary details regarding the transaction, such as the purchase price, the boat’s specifications, and both parties’ signatures. Completing this form ensures that the sale of the vessel is appropriately recorded and will provide evidence of ownership. After finalizing the bill of sale, the seller must also give the buyer the valid title for the boat and a completed lien release form, if applicable.

  • Statutes: Chapter 66 Article 12
  • Signing Requirements: The boat’s buyer and seller must sign the form. Parents or legal guardians of buyers under eighteen (18) years old (i.e., minors) must also sign.

What is a New Mexico Vessel Bill of Sale?

A New Mexico vessel bill of sale form details the specifics of an exchange between two parties, including the terms, price, and names of the buyer and seller. All parties involved in the transaction must agree to and sign this document and supply all required information to complete the legal transfer of the vessel. The form must also include the date of the sale, the name, address, and driver’s license numbers of both the seller and the buyer, the boat’s make, model, year, hull identification number, and registration number (as needed).

Residents can use a bill of sale form for a variety of different purposes, including:

  • Establishing a chain of title for the sold item;
  • Documenting the details of the sale, including the terms, price, and names of both the buyer and seller;
  • Providing proof of payment for taxes or other financial obligations;
  • Documenting the specifics of transferred items or goods; and/or
  • Giving evidence of a transfer of ownership for insurance or security purposes.

Did You Know?

Most individuals operating a motorboat or sailboat in New Mexico must have a valid boater education card. This law does not apply to residents born before January 1, 1989, approved renters, registration-exempt government-owned boats, and non-residents using their vessels in New Mexico with an out-of-state license.

The state offers a thirty (30) day exemption to residents who made a recent boat purchase and have the bill of sale or vessel registration with the purchase date. After this grace period, the owner must have a boater education card. Similarly, new residents have forty-five (45) days to transfer their out-of-state boater education card to New Mexico.

Interested parties can obtain a New Mexico boater education card by taking an approved boater safety course. The course, supported by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), is taught remotely and in-classroom.

After completing the course, students receive a certificate of completion, which lasts for forty-five (45) days until the official card arrives by mail. Operators must have a paper copy (meaning they may not use an electronic version) to legally drive the vessel before the license comes.

How to Register a Boat in New Mexico (5 Steps)

All motorboats in New Mexico need registration. Boats longer than ten (10) feet also need a title. Residents must make an appointment through the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the Taxation and Revenue Department to take care of these matters.

The state requires a boat inspection and decontamination for 1) watercraft coming into New Mexico from another state and 2) vessels re-entering New Mexico. This examination checks for aquatic invasive species (AIS) to prevent spreading in local waterways.

Step 1 – Exemptions

Motorized boats in New Mexico do not need registration if they are:

  • Owned and documented by the U.S. Coast Guard;
  • Registered and/or titled in another state or country and operated in New Mexico waterways for less than ninety (90) consecutive days; and/or
  • U.S. Government- or State-owned.

Step 2 – Title

Owners of boats over ten (10) feet long need to obtain a title. However, owners of vessels under ten (10) feet long can title it if they pay the required fees and excise tax.

Individuals can apply for a title by completing and submitting an Application for Vessel Title and Registration (Form MVD-10003). The state must receive the documentation within thirty (30) days of the sale to avoid penalties.

Step 3 – Registration

Per state law, vessels propelled by machinery or sail must have valid tags. The registration card, or certificate of number, must always be on the boat, along with a validation decal.

Owners must provide a completed Application for Vessel Title and Registration (Form MVD-10003) and pay the required fees, which depend on the vessel’s length. Once registered, the tags last for three (3) years.

Step 4 – Numbers + Decal

Once the owner receives their certificate of number and decal, they must display the information on the vessel. Individuals cannot legally operate their boats otherwise.

Residents must paint or affix the number on both sides of the boat’s front end (bow). It must have block letters no less than three (3) inches in height. Others, such as boaters and law enforcement, must be able to see the display from at least one hundred (100) feet away.

The current registration decal also belongs within six (6) inches of the number on the port (left) side. Each renewal year, the owner must remove the previous sticker and replace it with the new one.

Step 5 – Renew

New Mexico boat registrations expire on December 31st of the third year. Residents must have valid tags to operate their vessels, meaning they must reapply within the required timeframe. If they fail to renew, law enforcement can ticket them. Individuals can submit the paperwork online, by phone (1-888-683-4636), or by making an appointment at an MVD office.