Free Boat Bill of Sale Template

A Boat Bill of Sale documents ownership changes for watercraft like vessels and boats. Registering non-motorized or motorized vessels typically requires this document in many jurisdictions. Once the contract is signed, the transaction concludes, even if the seller hasn’t received funds. Hence, sellers are strongly advised not to authorize a bill of sale until full payment is received.

What is a Boat Bill of Sale?

A Boat Bill of Sale is a crucial document when deciding to sell your boat, serving as an official record of the transfer of ownership. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, this legal document is essential for a seamless and well-documented transaction.


This document is a formal agreement outlining key details of the boat sale. It acts as evidence that the buyer has made a payment in good faith and protects the seller from potential issues that might arise post-sale. Additionally, a Boat Bill of Sale is often required for registering both non-motorized and motorized vessels in most jurisdictions.


To ensure a comprehensive Boat Bill of Sale, include essential information such as boat specifics, buyer and seller details, purchase price, and transaction location. By having a clear and detailed Bill of Sale, both parties can proceed with the sale confidently, knowing that the necessary legal requirements have been met.


What Should a Boat Bill of Sale Include?

A Boat Bill of Sale is a detailed legal document designed to capture essential information about the boat sale transaction. To ensure a comprehensive and accurate record, the document should include the following key details:


Boat Details:

Clearly specify the boat’s make, year, title number, Hull ID (Hull Identification Number), and odometer reading. If additional items, such as trailers or motors, are included in the sale, provide relevant details for each.


Buyer’s Information:

Include the full name and signature of the buyer. This information ensures that the buyer is officially recognized in the legal transfer of ownership.


Seller’s Information:

Capture the full name and signature of the seller. This section is vital for documenting the seller’s consent and participation in the sale.


Purchase Price:

Clearly state the exact amount that the buyer is paying to acquire the vessel. This establishes a concrete understanding of the financial aspect of the transaction.


Transaction Location:

Specify the county and state where the transaction occurred. This information is typically included in the Certificate of Acknowledgment and is essential for legal record-keeping.



Determine and document the boat’s value to ensure transparency and agreement between the buyer and seller. Researching the current market value for the specific make, model, and year of the boat is advisable. Sites such as are highly recommended.


By including these key components, a Boat Bill of Sale provides a comprehensive and legally binding record of the boat sale transaction. It not only satisfies legal requirements but also serves as a reference point for both parties involved, fostering transparency and clarity throughout the process.


How to Sell a Boat


Selling a boat involves a series of strategic steps to ensure a successful transaction. Here’s a more detailed explanation of the key aspects involved:


List the Boat for Sale:

Decide whether you need the services of a broker. For boats valued at more than $40,000, hiring a broker from a local marina is advisable. They can list the boat at fair market value, present it professionally, and handle the sales process. For boats valued below $40,000, consider selling it yourself. Use reputable online platforms such as,,,, and to list your boat.


Presentation to Potential Buyers:

Enhance your boat’s market appeal by making cost-worthy repairs or employing a cleaning service. Before listing the boat online or with a broker, ensure it is in the best possible condition. Accessibility is crucial, so consider docking your boat at a location that’s easy for potential buyers to reach.


Concluding Negotiations:

Finalize the sale by having both the buyer and the seller sign a Boat Bill of Sale form, which should also account for the sale of any additional items, such as outboard motors. Provide copies of the bill of sale to each party involved. This step concludes the negotiation and sets the stage for the closing process.


Closing the Deal:

During the closing phase, both the buyer and the seller need to agree on responsibilities for sales tax. Ensure that the buyer makes the payment, and the seller transfers the title and any state registration paperwork. Additionally, discuss and agree on any applicable sales tax responsibilities, which are typically split between the buyer and the seller.


Registering the Boat with the State:

Following the sale, the buyer, in most states, is required to register the boat promptly. This typically involves submitting the Boat Bill of Sale and title forms, along with any necessary registration paperwork, to the state authorities. Depending on the state, there might be a sales tax obligation at this stage, even if the seller agreed to cover part of it.


By following these comprehensive steps, both buyers and sellers can navigate the boat-selling process effectively, ensuring legal compliance and a smooth transition of ownership.


Writing Instructions for a Boat Bill of Sale:


Creating a Boat Bill of Sale involves meticulous attention to detail to ensure a legally sound and comprehensive document. Below is a step-by-step guide on completing each section, providing clarity and transparency in the boat sale transaction:


Location of the Sale (County, State, and Date):

Clearly specify the geographical location of the sale, including the county and state where the transaction is taking place. Additionally, include the date on which the agreement is formalized. This information is crucial for legal documentation and record-keeping purposes.


The Parties (Name and Address of Buyer and Seller):

Provide the full legal names and addresses of both the buyer and the seller. This section establishes the identities of the involved parties, ensuring that the correct individuals are recognized in the transfer of ownership.


The Exchange (Method of Payment):

Detail the agreed-upon method of payment between the buyer and the seller. Whether it’s a cash transaction, bank transfer, or any other form of payment, explicitly state the terms to avoid any confusion or disputes.


Boat/Motor(s)/Trailer Description (Details of the Property):

Offer a comprehensive description of the boat, including make, model, year, title number, Hull ID, and odometer reading. If additional items like trailers or motors are part of the sale, provide specific details for each. This section serves as a detailed record of the property involved in the transaction.


Values (Agreed-Upon Sale Price):

Clearly state the mutually agreed-upon sale price for the boat. This figure solidifies the financial aspect of the transaction and should be clearly understood and accepted by both parties.



Address any applicable taxes and clearly indicate whether the buyer or the seller is responsible for paying them. Clearly define the tax responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings during the closing process.


Buyer and Seller Conditions:

Outline any specific conditions or stipulations agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller. This section can include additional terms, warranties, or conditions that both parties find essential to the agreement.


Authorization (Required Signatures of Buyer and Seller):

Provide space for the required signatures of both the buyer and the seller. Ensure that both parties sign the document in the presence of witnesses or a notary public to add an extra layer of legal validity.


Notary Acknowledgment:

Include a section for notary acknowledgment, where the notary public certifies the authenticity of the signatures on the document. This step further strengthens the legal validity of the Boat Bill of Sale.


By diligently completing each of these components, a Boat Bill of Sale becomes a robust and comprehensive legal document, providing a clear record of the boat sale transaction and ensuring that both parties are protected throughout the process.


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