Best tips for buying a used boat

Table of Contents

  1. How to Search for a Boat’s History
  2. Finding the right information
  3. Searching the HIN
  4. Ordering a history report
  5. How to Search for a Title for a Boat
  6. Checking Boat Title
  7. Checking Title of Documented Vessel
  8. Checking Title of Undocumented Vessel
  9. Other Elements of a Pre-Purchase Title Search
  10. How Do I Verify There Are No Liens on a Boat I Want to Buy?
  11. Understanding Liens
  12. Coast Guard Search
  13. State Title Record Search
  14. Third-Party Online Searches
  15. A Bit of Detective Work
  16. How to Find a Boat Registration?
  17. Things you will require:
  18. Finding a Boat Registration
  19. How to Check a HIN Number if a Jet Ski Is Stolen?
  20. Understanding Jet Ski HINs
  21. Reporting Stolen Jet Skis
  22. Checking Used Jet Ski HINs
  23. How to Look Up Boats Using the Hull Number
  24. Locating the HIN
  25. Decoding the HIN
  26. How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Boat?
  27. Start with a Template
  28. Identify the Boat
  29. Include Registration Information
  30. Mention the Money
  31. Write an Optional As-Is Clause
  32. Sign and Notarize

How to Search for a Boat’s History

When you have a fresh boat in your life, and you like to know where it was, don’t be scared – searching a boat’s background is just like searching for a car.

Boats with hull ID numbers (HIN), just as cars have a vehicle ID (VIN) figure. Everyone can scan a boat’s background by searching for their HIN and reviewing the related public documents. might be your best value for the money for searching all the public databases.

Finding the right information

Select the boat HIN. It has 12 characters and is situated on the right section of the vessel, and should also include in the ships’ registry papers. A HIN’s initial two names suggest the country of registry of the boats.

This entire figure is unique to each boat, and it is necessary to look for it and ensure it is accurate before you purchase a boat.

Once you have identified the HIN, please write it down to be used for reference purposes.

Searching the HIN

This Report lists the age of the ships, their owners, and whether there have been collisions over the years. This might also assume whether the boat was licensed as robbed or lost.

While there are many ways to run a HIN, often against public documents to classify activities from a boat’s history, the best way to do it is by far online.

Sites such as the U.S. The Coast Guard, Boatfax, and Boat History Report help you check for the HIN of a boat and make more queries to collect the boat’s historical Report – and many records are often open.

Ordering a history report

Category the HIN of the boat and request a report on its history. At least several websites, such as Boatfax, will let you if the HIN is free.

And you would actually have to pick up the credit card to get the whole history report. For, e.g., the boat history report includes a single history report for $40 or five (for comparison) reports for $55. Check out for a better value for your money at 20$ per report.

After payment, the website server can load the boat’s Report (or reports) to view and print at once.

Reads the whole document to discover the vessel’s complete history to keep an eye on any red flags, including significant accidents and boat robbed incidents.

How to Search for a Title for a Boat

For a variety of purposes, you might want to inspect the title of a ship. For a recorded boat, the National Vessel Document Center may include an overview of the title. Go to the relevant state department for state-titled vessels.

When you intend to buy a boat, you’ll have to do far more than study the title paper.

You will have to check the boat’s ownership and history to ensure there are no unrevealed Lien on the ship.

Checking Boat Title

If you try to search the name of a boat to establish ownership, you can call the “abstract of the title.” the paperwork you’re searching for. If the Coast guard registers the ship, the job is straightforward.

The central registry shall register vessels of 5 net tons or more used in fisheries or maritime exchange.

Few countries include the registration and sometimes the title of a boat which use in its waters. Most states only control illegal ships, and others regulate recorded and unrecorded vessels.

Checking Title of Documented Vessel

An overview of the title is part of the Coast Guard records on a boat if you search the title on a recorded vessel subjected to a national registry.

You need the ship’s name and the authorized Coast Guard record number inscribed on the beam to get the abstract title.

When you recognize the hailing port, it can even be useful. Upon this transom of the ships, the hailing ports of boat customarily identified.

Users can access all recorded vessels’ information by using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) science and technical office’s online searchable database.

Insert the boat name and document number of the Coast Guard to receive the details.

If you have issues, you should reach the National Vessel Documentation Center for a boat title abstract.

Checking Title of Undocumented Vessel

What if the ship is not authorized regionally? Most countries demand the registry of ship owners or name ships within their territories.

Request if boat registration and flagging have finished. You may also consult with the State Office to decide which boats must be licensed.

In Texas, for instance, holders of a boat have to title all motorized vessels because of their length, any 14 foot or larger sailing boats, and all auxiliary motor-length sailboats.

Notice that the registration and titling laws for small boats and vessels without motors (such as sailboats, canoes, and rowboats) are generally not subjected to the registry.

Other Elements of a Pre-Purchase Title Search

Getting an abstract title will transfer you to the authorized employee of a boat. However, if you intend to purchase a yacht, your study can entail much more than that.

Besides checking the boat’s title, please ensure that the ship is free of Lien and obligations and read more about its past.

You can need to employ a boat recording expert or solicitor to gather evidence and review it.

It extended boat title research begins with the seller’s information and can include full details on the boat details and its title and license.

A seller will also have all pending linkage, problems, or charges against the boat and the boat’s record written.

The salesperson should prove such information as copies of the ship’s title, identification, Coast Guard records, and other financial documents.

You need to check Both registrations and title documents obtained from the vendor must be reviewed. Go to the departments directly to make sure they are correct and up to date.

Check at any recorded and non-lines containing pending boat bills, maintenance, and equipment related to the boat’s running.

These Lien can be hard to trace. When the deal is consummated, the prosecutor may incorporate wording into the purchase contract to keep the purchaser liable for any unsolved links.

How Do I Verify There Are No Liens on a Boat I Want to Buy?

If you have come upon the water or are a comparatively new enthusiast, it is still an enjoyable time to purchase your own boat.

This is also a necessary purchase that should be taken seriously and done with due caution.

Buying a boat with Lien is one of the classic beginner errors, so get ready to use a little patience and a few bucks to search the government and other third-party records and make sure there are no Lien with the boat you want to purchase.

Understanding Liens

A Lien is simply a loan or a statement towards the interest of the ship. One prominent example is that if you purchase an insured boat, the former owner did not pay the full debt.

Here are also other cases in which Lien can arise: an injury may result in a legal suit and a verdict against the former owner, for instance, or a high maintenance bill. Even an overdue motorized boat charge or fuel bill can result in a bond. Sadly, a bond is applied to the ship instead of to the owner of the boat.

If you take possession of the ship, you can also take ownership of the mortgage, whether you want it or not. It is your duty as a seller to make sure your pockets are not robbed to pay off your unpaid debts.

Coast Guard Search

That earliest position to search for Lien is in the U.S. The National Vessel Documentation Centre of the Coast Guard. Many boats above 30 feet in length and several shorter boats are licensed with the Coast Guard.

Please contact the Center via its site or toll-free telephone number and give the ship’s official hull number to search for liens to any licensed vessel. Ask for an overview of the ship’s title you’re engaging in and read it properly until you’ve got it.

This is a history of the ship, so to say, from the creation to the new owner. It will mention purchases, shares, leases, transfers of possession, and several other specifics of the boat’s record.

Check it closely to ensure that all named liens and mortgages have been discharged or employ a specialist to do for you.

State Title Record Search

This other way to review pending Lien is the state titling department for the country where the ship is actually licensed and, if separate, in the native land.

And if you’re not sure who to approach, the National Association of State Boat Law Administrators, or NASBLA, keeps a directory of all Boat Law Administrators by State.

First, search through the Titling and Registry chart. Not all States need the title of small watercraft, but you should be directed to the Secretary of State’s Office for the State concerned.

This is where you’re going to locate connections from the Internal Revenue Service, but it’s still worth the check unless you are prepared to pay anyone else’s tax bill.

Third-Party Online Searches

Not all vessels are licensed with the Coast Guard, and countries have wildly varying standards for the title and licensing.

The loss of clear records means that you will often have to search harder to locate connections to a particular boat.

Many firms provide searches to third parties who dredge other data points, such as the Uniform Business Code, in the hunt for pending debts.

However, one place, Marine Liens, is a kind of clearinghouse for Lien where disputes can be written, scanned, or resolved.

Running one of these third-party scans cleans up all of the existing potential points of connections, which may provide a fair degree of peace of mind, but there could still be undeclared Lien waiting in wait for the unaware purchaser.

A Bit of Detective Work

Unreported liens also emerge from ship service’s ongoing costs, such as mooring charges or fuel sales.

Since you have some doubts about the purchaser or the ship’s past, you may have to do some in-person inspection.

Ask nearby marinas and boating stores to see if the ship and its new owners have a record for low payment plans or non-payment.

And if so, you will need to make special efforts to make sure that you recognize all possible creditors and plan for the debts to settle before you sign off on your boat sale.

How to Find a Boat Registration?

If you’ve misplaced your registration papers or bought a new boat, the place of a boat’s registry is an effortless operation. You need some easy-to-use details from your ships.

Things you will require:

  • paper and pen
  • Hull license number
  • Hull registration character
  • Title paperwork
  • Picture Identity

Finding a Boat Registration

You can search for a boat registration with the following steps:

Step 1

Note down the state registry number on the hull. If your ship has licensed in some state in the history, it will have a state-issued hull registration number, generally in the direction of the bow.

Usually, the identification digits show country letters, preceded by four or six digits, and then two additional numbers or letters.

For instance, a ship in Texas can have a registry that reads: TX 1234 AB. Such figures come in prominent lettering on the boat, which can compare with the hull’s color.

Whether these numbers do not display somewhere on the hull, perhaps because your boat is fresh and never documented or too big, skip this step and continue to Step 2.

Step 2

Note about the hull identification number (‘HIN’). Any builder of sail and powerboat shall, by statute, permanently mark or affix a hull id number to its vessels.

Most boats in the centerline (back) of the port hull have such a quantity engraved. A figure may appear around the helm or on a fuse panel on bigger yachts.

This HIN does not surpass 6 or 7 symbols or digits, or 20 or more, depending upon manufacturers. The HIN on the boat is very close to the vehicle’s id number on the car.

Step 3

Collect your documentation description or loan papers. If you buy a boat or finance a boat, collect all your documents to show that you can use your ship’s registry or request a new registry.

Step 4

Please carry your details to your Motor Vehicle Department. If you have misplaced your identification papers, send all of the above information and documents, along with your picture Identification, and they will give a new identification to you.

If you licensed a boat for the first time or transfer a vessel to another territory, you need to apply your HIN, property documents, and id Card.

Once you’ve got a new license, make sure to keep it in a secure location on your individual or your ship, just like the registry on your vehicle.

Unsuccessful to register a ship can result in penalties if you have ever checked or “yanked over by the police or the Coast Guard.

How to Check a HIN Number if a Jet Ski Is Stolen?

A hull ID number, or HIN, is a particular digit that arises on any jet ski manufactured in the United States, and owners can use this number to record the robbed boat.

Again once you purchase a used speed boat, process the HIN into an online database and figure out if someone is willing to sell you thieves products.

Understanding Jet Ski HINs

Through 1972, federal legislation mandates any maker of commercial vessels to allocate a HIN to each boat constructed. It covers your sailboat.

That hull identification number is unique for each ship, a specific number that users to keep a record of the vessel. It’s a mix of letters and numbers in the U.S., with a total of 12 symbols. A HIN has 14 signs in Europe.

That figure is stamped on the boat above the waterline, although it is located on the aft part of the label personal watercraft. A lot of specific watercraft have a “Datatag” containing the principal identifying details.

In comparison, some countries allow ships to be licensed as vehicles. You need to log before you buy one.

And in Connecticut, for instance –, jet skis are one of the sailing vessels to be identified. Jet Ski Licensing helps keep confiscated vessels from being sold back to the country.

Reporting Stolen Jet Skis

Jet ski employees should note down the HIN of their sailboats and maintain this out of the vessel.

When a jet ski is robbed, the employee should ask the owner and the insurance agency.

It must also give HIN numbers to the local cops and asking that data be provided to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer.

A year, more than 5,000 sailboats are robbed, with the most extensive occurrence in Florida. Some of the robbers are taking watercraft in order to market them.

Checking Used Jet Ski HINs

Whether you plan to buy a used jet ski rather than a new one, you’ll actually pay less for the watercraft. So you wouldn’t want to buy a jet ski that anyone else robbed.

People can be compelled to give up the boat and get into problems with the courts, too. You may, of course, ask the salesman where he got the yacht, but it’s doubtful that he’ll say the reality if the jet ski was robbed.

Sometimes when you live in a place that allows you to license jet skis, you’re lucky. You will trace the licensing and see when your seller got the vessel and from where it came.

But you’re also going to want to process HIN into the database to see if it has been recorded stolen.

Your local cops may have a website like this, but some of them don’t. So even though they do, it might not be available to the press.

You can discover what you need without their support, and you can search more than one database online.

One of the first to be sought is the National Marine Database. Only type in the HIN numbers and hit the “search.” button.

You should try the HinDecoder site for a full history of used jet skiing.

This will run the HIN number into various state records and include a description of the ship’s record, including any collisions, Lien, and transactions, and any recorded robberies.

How to Look Up Boats Using the Hull Number

Any ship built-in or shipped to the United States shall have a particular hull identifying numbers identified as the HIN.

It would help if you used a database like the one run by the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure that a ship’s HIN is correct and discover the ship’s record.

Locating the HIN

That HIN is a 12-character quantity used to recognize a ship in the same manner as the vehicle registration number identifies a car. The number of the hull is a combination of characters and figures.

The hull identifying code must be written within state guidelines in two different positions on the ship’s hull.

A prime HIN must be located on the transom’s outboard corner at the edge of the transom.

If the vessel does not have a transom, the first HIN shall be fixed to the outboard starboard side of the hull, aft, within 1 foot of the stern, and near the bow’s peak.

With catamarans and pontoon vessels (mostly with hulls that are quickly detached and replaced), the primary HIN code should be fixed to the aft crossbeam within 1 foot of the starboard hull connection.

And the second hull authorization code must be positioned in a safe spot on the vessel’s interior. It can even be put under any hardware.

Decoding the HIN

You will hear a little about the HIN ship if you know how to decipher it. Every community of letters offers a variety of details.

There are three categories, the first three letters, the next five letters, and the last four symbols.

Its first set of three elements is the Production Index Code or the MIC. The next stage of five digits reflects the boat’s serial number, which can provide details about the vessel’s size.

Its last group of four figures shows you the year of certification and the ship’s model number.

In these, the first character tells you the month (A is January, B February, and so on and the next name lets you about’s final symbol of the year the ship was accredited. The last two digits of this will give you the model year.

For example, if the last category of four letters is A585, this indicates that the vessel was accredited in January 1985 for the model year 1985.

Looking up the boat with the HIN

You may like to check up the ship’s hull number to find it out, and you may need to see the record of the ship’s repairs to see if the type has been retrieved.

Identification is only required with the used ship. If a vessel has been robbed, the thief may attempt to prevent tracking by altering the HIN, even though it is a federal offense.

You will pick some trusted websites that will decode the ship’s HIN number for free. For example, you can type a HIN on to learn if it is an accurate figure.

And if it is, you will be advised. If so, tell you who made the vessel and its model, the serial number, and the date of registration. This will also inform you whether the model was subject to retrieval.

A UNITED STATES Coast Guard also operates a website for the Port State Exchange Of information.

This offers data on vessels, particularly leisure boats, sailing in U.S. waters. This index can be accessed online using HIN digits.

How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Boat?

The bill of sale records the sale or transition of a ship from the seller to the purchaser and acts as proof of possession by the purchaser.

Try writing a watertight bill of sale by asking the following queries: who owns and sells a vessel, which ship is being sold, what the cost is, and how the boat is being purchased, for example, with guarantees or “that is.”

You will send the bill to the State Ship Licensing Office to receive the title and licensing for your ship, as well as your own insurance provider to cover the boat.

Start with a Template

Rather than producing a selling bill from scratch, work with a blueprint. You can access a boat’s account of sale from a lawful or company form website – just ensure that the design is compliant with the rules of your country before you start.

Submit the latest date and finish the purchaser’s address and driver’s license details under the heading “Buyer.”

The seller’s location and the driver’s license details should be given under the “Seller” heading.

Identify the Boat

Recognize the form and correct length of the vessel, i.e., year, model, serial number, and any specific marks under the heading “Description.”

Further, explain any extra functions contained with the selling in this part. For instance, if a boat trailer is included in the deal, this detail must be included.

Any other big appliances should be provided under the heading of the description.

Include Registration Information

List the full licensing figure of the boat under the heading “Registration Data” in your paper.

You can see this figure in the ship’s title records and printed on the vessel’s hull. Be sure that the models meet precisely, or you can face problems when you attempt to record a boat under your name.

Mention the Money

Recognize the purchase price specifically under the different heading ‘Cost.’ That cost should involve the boat’s entire cost.

It’s part of the boat bill of sale can be cracked down into sections whether a trailer or other machinery is sold. It is necessary to get this section correct since you will use it for possible tax reasons.

Write an Optional As-Is Clause

You have the choice moving the ship “as is” or with express guarantees as to the State of the vessel.

Be aware to mention whether the ship is sold without a warranty and to mention any changes that the seller may make to the vessel.

Sign and Notarize

Enable the purchaser and seller room on the bill of sale to have full signatures and signature details.

Leave the necessary space to make notarized stamps, if needed by your country.