So in Oz...Boats aren't titled property, and there's no chain of title needed? Anyone can just register as the owner of one, and proving ownership is...just "he says she says" ??
Yep, that's right. The only vessels required
to be titled are commercial ones - and those leaving Australian waters.
Everyone else is tied to the laws of the State you're in - which, if you have an engine bigger than an egg-beater usually requires the boat to be registered with the local Transport Authority (like a number plate on a car) but that isn't quite the same thing..
IIRC it harks back to the days of build-it-yourself in your own backyard. Anyone could build themselves a boat, buy one, sell one and do whatever they liked with it, but the second you put an engine in, the authorities wanted to make sure the engine, drivetrain and prop didn't kill anyone, so someone needed to certify it as being 'safe' and the only ones around were the Road Transport Authority.
At the same time, since the only people travelling offfshore were commercial ships and fishing boats - with Titles, Mortgages and the rest - a Federal department (now AMSA) looked after that, hence anyone intending to travel OS in a yacht needs to register it as an Australian Ship. Having been through the process, I can tell you the paperwork is exactly
the same whether you're buying a 6-ton yacht or a 50,000-ton ocean liner.
So there you have it. Officially, Gunny owns a 38-foot ship!!
..although it's odd that the registered length is different. Government departments don't fluff-up like that. Perhaps it's a HC32 instead??