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Transporting newly purchased boat ... LEGALLY(?)

2709 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  merc2dogs
i was wanting to get a sense for procedures for trailering a newly purchased boat across various states to get it back home. Let's say that I am on a road trip and find a boat that I want to purchase in say Colorado, Arizona, or Texas. Is there some type of fairly standardized procedure for getting a temporary plate or something that would make it legal to tow the boat and it's trailer back to Indiana. That is without the hassle of driving back to Indiana, getting whatever I would need, then driving back to pick up the boat and trailer and of course towing it back to it's new home.

I realize there are boat transport or shipping companies. But I'm one with more time then money.

Thank you.

Have a Great Day,
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
How big a boat?
Not big. Most likely under 20 feet.
If you google temporary trailer registration there are different rules for each state BUT they all seem to allow at least a 10 day temp
Some states, like Alabama, don't license trailers at all. Very convenient.:D
You'll want to check with your insurance company, right?:)

I once had to drive a car from Arizona, where I did not live, to Washington state. When I walked into the insurance office and told him I just needed to insure it for the trip he GAVE me the policy!:)
Well it is proving to be a pain. I'll use boat in Alabama for case instance. Alabama does not plate trailers. As long as you have a Bill of Sale there is no problem. But pulling it in Indiana is. I called the local BMV and asked, "If I'm on a roadtrip and see a boat that I want to buy, how di I do it legally." Gal says go to that state's BMV. I respond I called and they say as long as a Bill of Sale no problem. She says that is your answer. I say in Indiana trailer plates are required. She says she can't address enforcement issues. So I call the local state police post. The officer says I have to register the trailer in Indiana. I told him I know that. I'm wondering about when I've just purchased the thing and taking it home. He says well if you are stopped just show the officer your Bill of Sale. So I said ... then a Bill of Sale is enough. To which he says that is up to the officer's discretion. He could either let it go or seize or impound it.

Talk about a pain!
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michigan allows you to transport a new trailer to your home state with just a bill of sale (the secratary of state even gives out fill in the blank sales papers that state this) most states should honor this
Yeah ............... unfortunately "should" is the operative word. Would obviously work in Michigan. Doesn't have to work in Indiana. Oh well...:confused:
Does your state have "3" day temp plates? Here in Wa st we have those, for $10 or there abouts. Buy one before you leave fill in the 3 days it will be in use when you hit the line and then head to the DOL when you get there in your home town with BOS. I think you will in reality find, most states, and patrol officers will be fine with this mode of operendi.

I'm guessing the same rules would apply to a trailer as they would to a motor vehicle being purchased in another state. In Indiana you have 31 days to get new plates. If you were stopped and had the bill of sale/title with a recent date I doubt you'd have trouble. My husband and his brother have bought boats and motorcycles from other states and never had a problem.

Where in Indiana are you? We're in Indy.
May be worthwhile to look into regular registration.

The plate for my 22ft boat's trailer was $75. (steep, but it's a lifetime plate here in mi, so it never expires.)
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