Selling/Buying Boat Paperwork? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-09-2012 Thread Starter
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Selling/Buying Contract Necessary?

Hi all,

I have just entered into a verbal agreement to sell my C36. If the buyer pays cash can I just sign over the pinkslip and be done with it? Do I really need the multi-page contract and the use of a documentation service?

I own my boat free and clear and there is no issue with title or encumbrances. If it was a car, it would be that easy.

I am in California, if that makes a difference.

Comments and opinions sought.

Thanks, Bill

Odyssey, '79 CSY 44 Cutter
Channel Islands, CA


"There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage."
Mark Twain

Last edited by montenido; 04-10-2012 at 03:43 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-10-2012
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Re: Selling/Buying Boat Paperwork?

If your boat is documented you have to turn in the document to the CG.

If the buyer wants to document it he will need a CG Bill of Sale from you. If the boat has not been CG documented before he will need some builders paperwork, hopefully from you.

The decision to use a documentation service is up to him and at his expense.

If your state has a title you will have to sign it over to him.

You may or may not have to turn in your state registration depending on your state.

It is up to the buyer to satisfy himself re the status of any liens. If the boat is documented he can do a lien search with the CG for $25 online.

Last edited by sailpower; 04-10-2012 at 08:00 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-11-2012
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Re: Selling/Buying Boat Paperwork?

I would say you need to use a contract for your own protection. I assume the sale is "as is, where is", if so you should have that in writing, and the other protections that a contract gives you.

You can some contract discussion here include samples
Buying First Boat Advice Needed On Offer Process

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post #4 of 9 Old 04-11-2012
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Re: Selling/Buying Boat Paperwork?

I bought a state registered boat 2 years ago thru a broker, as far as I can remember the PO just had to sign the pink slip and hand it to me.
When I sold my documented boat it was pretty much the same, I just signed the transfer on the back of the document. In California BTW.

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Re: Selling/Buying Boat Paperwork?

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Originally Posted by capttb View Post
I bought a state registered boat 2 years ago thru a broker, as far as I can remember the PO just had to sign the pink slip and hand it to me.
When I sold my documented boat it was pretty much the same, I just signed the transfer on the back of the document. In California BTW.
You can treat buying and selling boats like playing craps, but just understand you will on occasion get snake eyes.

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post #6 of 9 Old 04-11-2012
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Re: Selling/Buying Boat Paperwork?

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You can treat buying and selling boats like playing craps, but just understand you will on occasion get snake eyes.
I don't understand how this applies to what is REQUIRED to transfer title, but it's a valid point.

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post #7 of 9 Old 04-11-2012
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In the state of California, a boat Is considered by the government just like a car. I buy and sell boats quite a bit and the title sign off is all that is needed. Just like a used car. Seller signs title over to buyer, buyer goes to the DMV and change over the registration. The seller is supposed to mail in an interest release form attached to the title but most people dont bother although they should. That form releases them from liability if the buyer never changes over title. That does happen, I got hit on a pickup truck I sold that was found abandoned by the highway patrol, I had to pay disposal fees.
Now if it's CG documented I know absolutely nothing about that stuff.

Last edited by benajah; 04-11-2012 at 04:24 PM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-13-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Selling/Buying Boat Paperwork?

Thanks for the replies. I am using a contract that spells out the terms of payment, as well as "as is, where is".

The USCG documentation does have an area on the back to release interest in the vessel. There is also a downloadable Bill of Sale on the USCG site. So it should be pretty straight forward.

BTW, the verbal agreement now has the above-mentioned contract and a cash deposit backing it up.

Thanks again for the great input.

Cheers, Bill
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Odyssey, '79 CSY 44 Cutter
Channel Islands, CA


"There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage."
Mark Twain

Last edited by montenido; 04-13-2012 at 06:08 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-13-2012
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Re: Selling/Buying Boat Paperwork?

Happy for you and your sale Bill lol
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