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Old 03-10-2008
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Lien Check in NY

I live in Ontario and I am looking at a boat (my first boat!) across the lake in New York. I have found good information on the required documents to bring a boat back into Canada but I have not found good information on how to fully search for a lien on the boat. Is there a single source in NY that has that information? It is a private sale so a broker will not be involved to handle this.
Thanks!
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Old 03-10-2008
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If the vessel is a USCG Documented vessel you can order an abstract of title.

USCG Order Abstracts of Title Online
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Old 03-11-2008
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You don't have to have a broker to have a title search and title insurance. I think I'd first register the boat in NY - completely, then do then the documentation via the USCG, then transfer the boat to Canada - it may be anal retentive but you'll sleep better.
http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/forms/mv821b.pdf

At a mininum I'd call a specialist in the NY area and engage them to do just that. At a guess-timate it would run you in the neighborhood of 500 or so american, and provide a priceless return on your investment. If you are taking a loan to pay for the boat your lender will insist anyway.
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Try these:

Marine Liens - Providing information about maritime lien activity
Used boat history reports search, boat history HIN check at Boat History Report

If you finance the boat, the lender will likely do a complete search for liens.
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USCG Abstract of Title

Be sure to have the USCG abstract of title run just before you hand over any payment for the vessel. An IRS lien was being placed on a boat we were in the process of buying the very day that we were going to wire funds to the boat owner who claimed that there were no liens on the boat. The boat was listed with a broker but he didn't necessarily have any knowledge of the impending lien.
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Thanks for the insights and advice!
Dave
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