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Hi, I am new to sailing and I am wondering which kind of paperwork is involved with buying a sailboat in california. I hear that boats need to be registered? I also hear that I should make sure that no liens are on the boat. How can I find out about this? What if the boat has more than one owner? Would that be on the registration papers? Do all the owners need to sign the contract?
 

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Boats in California are registered with the DMV just like an automobile. There is a title, "pink slip" just like an automobile. Transfer of ownership is signed off on the back of the title just as an automobile. All parties named as owners on the front of the slip must sign off on the back unless it is registered as John OR Jane Doe. In that case either party can sign off on the title and it is transfereable.

If the boat is Documented, i.e. NOT registered with the state but with the Coast Guard, then a bill of sale document must be prepared to submit to the Coast Guard.

Can''t give you any worthwhile advice on making sure there aren''t any liens are on the boat...always a possibility.

Fairwinds,

Jim
 

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When ever you purchase any boat there is always the part where you "unregister" it from where it was to where it is going to be. California is no different than any other state in the US.

US boats are documented with the USCG or registered with the state. You''ll need paper work to change either one that will include a notized bill or sale and an orginal title.

That will help you clear the old registration. The enxt part depends on where you want to take the boat. To move it out of the US you will need to consult the country you want to take it to for what they require.

In the US you apply to the state or the USCG as the case may be.

Make sure you understand the paper work you really need and have it all part of the purchase / closing process. I bought a USCG documented boat with a improperly registered Florida 8 ft. dinghy I''m into my 4th month with the State of Virgina over the stupid dinghy yet the sail boat through the USCG is all taken care of with new paperwork.

State registration processes are often pretty sloppy and you can get caught with poor paper work from the original state and have the new state catch all the problems. Be prepared and paitent. You want to figure out what you need first as your seller may take off and be hard to find after the fact. You may need new notorized documents prepared so do the homework before you close.

Also don''t forget about the dinghy! It is not automatically taken care of as part of the main boat registration / documentation. It gets it''s own paperwork too and never is registered with the USCG.
 

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IN California it''s easy. Just walk into any DMV office with a signed pink slip and a bil of sale. The bill of sail can be very informal and even just a hand written note "I Joe Saller sold BigBoat number 222 to Sally Buyer for $20 on May 19 2001" that''s it. If fact you don''t need the billof sale as you will sign under penalty of purgry a form giving the amount of the purchace price and then you will pay sales tax on that anount. You you just say you paid $50K and then write the clerk a $4K check. If they ever find out you realy paid $80K you are in big trouble. Basically it''s easy and very minilal paper work.

You should call and make an appointment at the DMV or you could have a long wait of well over an hour. With an apointment you will be an and out i under 45 minutes.

Tax is 8% and then 1% every year you own it.
 

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1% per year every year thereafter !?!

So on a $200,000 boat you''d have to pay another $2,000 a year to own your boat !?! And what does California give you back in maritime restoration or services for that $2k. sheesh...Thats ridiculous....

I''ll bet that revenue is not directly earmarked for boaters and most gets used for "pet" projects or handouts. If it directly goes to boating, then I guess your at least getting something for your boating taxes.
 

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tsenator,

The 8% is sales tax - called a "use" tax by the DMV. The 1% is personal property tax assessed by the county exactly the same way as property tax on a house is assessed. Buy a boat large enought to qualify for the IRS'' 2nd home qualification and you are able to write off the property tax but not the use tax. You are correct in that none of the taxes go to enhance boating in CA.
 

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>>So on a $200,000 boat you''d have to pay another $2,000 a year to own your boat !?! And what does California give you back in maritime restoration or services for that $2k. sheesh...Thats ridiculous....<<

That''s the price you pay for living under a socialist state government. If you are able to have "toys", then they want to distribute your wealth to the the "less fortunate."

Add in the 1% yearly use tax on your 50K auto, airplane or motorhome, and it can add up to some serious money.

Jim
 
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