New York Boat Bill of Sale Form


A New York boat bill of sale form integrates the details of a transaction into a permanent reference sheet. Its design protects the buyer and seller, as it outlines the sale details and agreements between them. In addition to proving the purchase, the buyer uses the form to register the boat with the appropriate agencies. Overall, the boat bill of sale is an essential document for anyone buying or selling a vessel, as it ensures that both parties are legally protected.

  • Statutes: Article 48
  • Signing Requirements: Both parties must sign in the required box.

What is a New York Vessel Bill of Sale?

A New York vessel bill of sale form provides a comprehensive ownership transfer record. Buyers and sellers use it during a boat purchase, typically in conjunction with a payment. However, the transfer can also occur through gift or trade. If applicable, the person completing the form must note the transaction type and information about the traded vessel. Furthermore, it includes both parties’ full names and addresses, a detailed description of the boat, the sale price, and any additional provisions. Everyone must sign and date the bill of sale and retain a copy for tax and legal purposes.

Did You Know?

By January 1, 2025, all New York residents operating a motorized vessel need a valid boating safety certificate. As of 2023, anyone born on or after January 1, 1983, needs a license. Similarly, in 2024, individuals with a birth date of January 1, 1978, or later also require authorization. This law does not apply to non-motorized vessels, such as kayaks and canoes.

Children must be at least ten (10) years old to take the boating safety course. However, they must be fourteen (14) years or older and legally licensed to operate the vessel. The official class lasts eight (8) hours with online and in-person options.

Individuals can replace certificates online or through the mail. In addition, they can have an anchor icon placed on their driver’s license, which means they do not need to carry their certificate if they have their identification.

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

Boats with an electric or gas motor must have a registration in New York. Vessels that do not have an engine, such as kayaks and canoes, do not require tags.

Individuals of any age can own or register watercraft; however, they must abide by the age requirements for operating it. The owner does not need an insurance policy for the vessel, although the state encourages it in the event of an incident.

Step 1 – Exemptions

Boats that do not need a New York registration include:

  • Lifeboats;
  • Vessels registered in another state and used in New York for less than ninety (90) consecutive days;
  • Commercial boats with US or foreign documentation; and/or
  • Watercraft used in competitive racing.

Step 2 – Title

The state considers the boat title the document that proves ownership instead of the registration. Nonetheless, vessels registered with the US Coast Guard can use the registration forms to verify possession as they do not require titling.

New York owners must obtain a title if their vessel:

  • Has the model year of 1987 or newer;
  • Is at least fourteen (14) feet long; and/or
  • Has a New York registration.

In most cases, the resident can apply for a title during registration. However, if the two appointments do not coincide, the owner must schedule a separate meeting to submit the forms. Titling only occurs once during ownership, meaning the individual does not need to renew. The only exception is residents who lose their title document. In this case, they must apply for a duplicate by following the state’s standard procedure.

Provide the Following:

Step 3 – Registration

Boats with the model year 1973 and newer need a twelve (12) digit hull identification number (HIN) before registration. Vessel owners can obtain a HIN by completing and submitting the Parks and Recreation Application for a Boat (Form OPS-420).

Individuals must make an appointment with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to apply for registration. They must bring the necessary paperwork and payment to ensure the state’s approval.

Step 4 – Numbers + Decal

The registration number must appear in high block letters on the port and starboard sides of the boat eighteen (18) inches from the bow. This sequence must read left to right with the numbers being at least three (3) inches tall. Its color must stand out against the boat’s paint with a space or hyphen separating each set of letters and numbers (i.e., NY 8580 HW or NY-8580-HW).

Residents may not place other information in this area aside from the boat’s decal provided by the DMV. The sticker belongs three (3) inches towards the back of the boat aligned with the number. Vessel owners must replace the decal with the newest version after the previous one expires.

Step 5 – Renew

New York boat registrations last for three (3) years. Registrars must complete and submit a Boat Registration Renewal Reminder (MV-3B), pay the required fees, and present their identification. This process can occur in-person or online with accepted mobile payment.

Individuals who lose, destroy, or damage their title or registration while owning a boat must replace the documentation. They must contact their local DMV office for the official forms and make the payment for new information.