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Boat Title

Discussion in 'Smaller Boats' started by jbreland, Mar 26, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. jbreland


    Joined Aug 5, 2005
    81 posts, 2 likes
    - -
    US Laurel, Ms
    Can anyone tell me on here if boats registered in florida have a title ???
    Here in Mississippi we don't have titles just registration and bill of sale.
    If it does have title and owner has it in hand, can you assume boat is free and clear etc..

    If I were to go into florida and buy a boat what is the recommendations /precautions I need
    to take to make sure the boat does indeed belong to the person selling it, and is free from leins etc....
    also any suggestions on the money changing... I don't particularly want to haul a large sum of cash with me and now days people will not take a check drawn on a bank (cashiers etc)
    I do under stand, cashiers checks use to be good as gold, and demanded, but now are counterfeited regularly.Everyone wants cash only, but I'm kind of nervous making the cash only transaction...
    I would need to purchase the boat on the weekend and banks are closed....
    any suggestions / advice....... go......

  2. Southpaw


    Joined Jul 19, 2015
    139 posts, 23 likes
    Beneteau 343
    US BVI
    If the boat is documented that takes the place of a title. If it’s not documented it should have a title. I would go through a yacht broker they can make sure it is clear of a liens.

  3. Don S/V ILLusion

    Don S/V ILLusion

    Joined Sep 25, 2008
    5,027 posts, 264 likes
    Alden 50
    US Sarasota, Florida
    The tax collector's office in Florida which deals withboat registration has a very user-friendly web site (tax and I encourage you to read the section related toboat ownership rather than take advice on any Internet forum where, although well-intended, some comments are wrong,misleading or incomplete

  4. Gunni


    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,077 posts, 958 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    An owner can have title and a bunch of liens and encumbrances on a vessel that you would be inheriting. That is why there are vessel documentation service companies. They process a title search and take on the liability of identifying clear title, prepare a Bill of Sale for registration/documentation.

  5. Kermit


    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,577 posts, 1,735 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    Asking the state government is by far the best course of action. But not totally foolproof. I keep getting a tax bill for a boat I sold 4 years ago. Sumter County says they get their information from the state. Our state DNR folks say they have no record of me still owning it. The dealer I sold it to says they submitted all the paperwork.

  6. isaksp00


    Joined Apr 27, 2010
    907 posts, 59 likes
    Hunter 23
    US Lake Wallenpaupack
    How big a boat are you talking about? Maybe for a day sailer that is like $1000 I'd consider cash, but anything much bigger, no, I would not. If it is through a broker, I have to believe they can take a bank check or something similar. If a private sale, and it is a larger amount, and they will only take actual cash, I'd look into having it go through a broker, even if you have to pay (some of) the broker fee. Maybe others here know of a way to steer through a broker without paying some sort of fee based on them having had to market it and find the buyer. Like a "buyer's broker"?

  7. Crazy Dave Condon

    Crazy Dave Condon

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    6,430 posts, 502 likes
    -na -NA
    US Anywhere USA
    Here is a start to go look at regarding titling in Florida.
    I cannot recall what boat you have but I would suggest advising the specific boat and length to include any registration. Then you will need to find out who owned it or in the case of buying to see if there is any liens against it thru the appropriate state dept.. Also advise if purchasing from or direct with an owner.

    Any boat under 16 feet not motorized is not subject to titling if I read that correctly.

  8. Gunni


    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,077 posts, 958 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Dave, have you ever had a state agency satisfy you regarding encumbrances on a boat? I ask because I have not.

  9. Crazy Dave Condon

    Crazy Dave Condon

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    6,430 posts, 502 likes
    -na -NA
    US Anywhere USA
    AS a former dealer, I dealt with many states up and down the east coast to include Florida. Not all the information on which boat, ownership and so on has been stated and I am out in the dark suggesting anything other than noting the website to start looking. Until then I am not going to comment any further until we know. One good point, if the boat is registered and titled, registration current and title in the owner's possession, then generally not an issue..

  10. MitchM


    Joined Jan 20, 2005
    625 posts, 79 likes
    Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32
    US Erie PA
    1/ if it's a STATE TITLE: ask the seller of your prospective purchase for a copy of his FL registration AND owners card AND FL title. advise that you need it for insurance binder to protect the boat with transport and hull value insurance from the moment it is yours. then once you get the documents, call FL department of title and boat registration -- ask to verify HULL ID number and manufacturer info shown on the docs your seller provided. 2/ If it's USCG documented you can verify by inspecting a copy of the federal doc certificate, which prospective seller should supply. call USCG to verify it is a legit certificate not forged. if all is in order pack the money in a coffee can in the trunk , and go.

  11. JamesG161


    Joined Feb 14, 2014
    2,750 posts, 751 likes
    Hunter 430
    US Waveland, MS
    I live in Mississippi and bought 2 vessels from Florida.
    The previous owner had Titles to the 2 vessels in Florida.
    I paid a "Document Company" to search the Titles, provide Title insurance and do the Registrations documents. [Even with the Coast Guard]
    I had to pay Florida Sales Tax or get a Sticker of "Tax Exemption", if I promised not to bring the vessels back to Florida within [ I forget... 6 mo?] Stupid law, since it kept my vessels out of Florida waters or no tourist trade.

    Also I have a "Bill of Sale" for both vessels.
    Using the "Bill of Sale", I registered with State of Mississippi and put on their Numbers on the vessels.

    PS: The only protections I had was the Title Insurance and a reputable Buyers Broker in Florida
    Also the "Closing Statement" Detailed the Sale and document fees.
    PSS: It took us 2 hours and Decal Remover to remove the Florida Tax Exempt sticker:mad:

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  12. ronkS2


    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    27 posts, 4 likes
    Hunter 240
    US South Florida
    Not sure where you stand today but here is some quick food for thought. I live here in Florida, and bought my Hunter 24 here a year ago. This size boat does have a title. Now in Florida at least in cars you have the choice of a paper title or electronic storage with the DMV, so it may be possible with a boat but not sure. As far as the trailers go for this size boat, on the registration from the state there is a part to transfer ownership. A title can be bought for a trailer that does not require one as I have done it for my Harbor Freight special.

    There is a lot of illegal flipping going on in this state. A lot has to do with the transient population of people moving in and out. I have wasted so much time that when dealing on Craigslist my emails now start with: IF the name on the title matches your drivers license I am interested in your car, boat. motor cycle etc...

    Suggestions on cash and carry. I opened up an account at TD Bank as they are open 7 days a week and use it only for occasions like this.

    Check with Dave Condon or another seasoned broker, but doing the cash transfer right at the court house is another option. You can have the teller look and see at least on their computer if there are any liens. One of my larger boats that I bought about 15 years ago (and was documented) I went to a boat dealer who charged me $50 to do a lien search so maybe that is also an option.

    Good luck