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My friend is buying a boat, previous owner owes slip fees so...

4960 Views 56 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  bwaherne
My question is, if my friend buys the boat, is it now his responsibility to pay those slip fees that the previous owner owes? Or is that between the previous owner and the marina?
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I believe that the Marina's rights fall under Federal " Maritime" law and not state law. (Here in the U.S. at least) Not sure if it only applies to Navigable waters.
IIRC from my law classes 50 years ago, Admiralty Law (federal Maritime Law) only applies to documented vessels. If the state set up a boat registration system, and the boat is registered in one of those states, state, not federal, law applies. And as has been pointed out in earlier posts, property liens vary considerably from state to state. The differences between documented boats and state-registered boats have both baffled and enriched lawyers for decades.

And none of this takes into consideration the confusion of liens (or any other legal matter) against vessels outside of the country they are registered/documented in. Being a Florida registered boat (not documented) in the Bahamas in the '80s gave both Bahamian and US local Customs all kinds of consternation when I cruised the boat in the Bahamas. Canada just didn't care when I trailered the boat and cruised there.

Fred W
retired Coastie
Stuart Mariner 19 #4133 Sweet P
Yeopim Creek, NC
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Remember the principle, "Let the buyer beware." If you buy the boat or car or property without a warranty, you buy it as it is, and subject to any liens or defects in the title. That's why you buy real estate with a warranty deed, and not a quit-claim deed. You want the seller's warranty that there are no outstanding liens or legal claims against the property.
Having bought real estate in 4 different states over the years, I find this varies from state to state. In general, the mortgage company requires you to buy title insurance to protect against any defects in the title. In some states, a title search is done and you hope it was thorough (NC I believe follows this process). Some states allow you to buy a separate add-on title insurance policy (Colorado) at the same time the mortgage company gets insured against faulty title. And I have heard of the difference between quit claim and warranty deeds, but have not experienced it in my real estate transactions.

Fred W
Stuart Mariner #4133 Sweet P
Yeopim Creek, NC
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