A legal document, a bill of sale serves as proof the boat (and the money paid for it) exchanged hands and outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party following the sale. The seller usually provides the bill of sale, but the buyer can (and should) prepare one if the seller does not.
Completing This Template
The bill of sale template can be completed on your computer. Once you have downloaded the template, navigate to each field and provide the required information. You can even save the template and complete it at a later time. Once completed, print and sign it, before giving it to the buyer (or seller, depending on which party created the document) for his signature. The buyer keeps the top portion while the seller receives the bottom. You can check out these helpful tips if you're having trouble downloading or saving the printable.
Purpose of a Bill of Sale
Not all states or lien holders require the buyer and seller to complete a bill of sale when selling and transferring a boat, but you should check with your state DMV office and lien holder, if any, for specific requirements surrounding boat sales. Even if a bill of sale is not required, it is in the best interests of both parties to complete one.
The bill of sale alone does not legally transfer ownership from seller to buyer. Ownership is officially transferred when the seller completes the title transfer and provides it to the buyer or, in states that do not require boats to be titled, the buyer registers the boat in his name. The buyer usually takes care of obtaining the new title and/or registering the boat with the DMV and should take the original bill of sale to the DMV to serve as proof of the sale, if necessary. The seller should also be prepared to help the buyer obtain the new documents if the buyer runs into problems.
What to Include
A boat bill of sale should include:
- Name and address of both the buyer and seller
- Hull identification number (HIN)
- Description of the boat, including year, make and model, and engine identification number, if known
- Purchase price
- Any aftermarket accessories included in the sale, such as extra engines, fishing gear or appliances
Both the seller and the buyer should sign and date the document.
Protection for Both Parties
The bill of sale protects both the buyer and seller in the event something happens after the sale is completed.
For example, the bill of sale states the seller owns the boat and has the right to sell it. If somebody were to come forward three months after the sale and claim he was the rightful owner, the seller would be required to defend the buyer against any action brought by the third-party against the buyer.
If the boat has outstanding tickets associated with it, the bill of sale allows the buyer to prove he did not own the boat on the date or dates the tickets were incurred and is therefore not responsible for paying for them.
Peace of Mind
A bill of sale can provide peace of mind to both parties by providing proof of sale and laying out the terms of the sale. If an issue arises in the future, either with the buyer's attempt to register the boat in his name or the seller being contacted to pay fees and tickets incurred after the sale, having the bill of sale ensures there's smooth sailing for both parties.