How to License a Boat Bought in Missouri With No Title

by Teo Spengler

If you plan to buy a boat in Missouri, but the owner has lost the title, she must first obtain a duplicate title from the Missouri Department of Revenue by filing an Application for Missouri Title and License. Once you complete the purchase, you must file your own application for title and registration.

Obtaining Duplicate Title

In Missouri, a boat owner must have the title to a vessel before she can sell it. She needs to sign off on the assignment of title. Any sale that takes place without a properly assigned title is invalid.

If the owner has lost the title, or if the title was destroyed or mutilated, she must apply for a new one before she can sell the boat and before you can buy it. To do this, she has to file an Application for Missouri Title and License (Form 93) with the Missouri Department of Revenue.

On the application form, there is a block labeled "DUPLICATE" near the top. The seller must check this to indicate that she is applying for a duplicate title. She must also fill in the reason she needs a duplicate title and sign the application in front of a notary. If that reason is that the title was mutilated, the remaining pieces of the title should be attached to the application. The seller must also pay the application fee. Once the seller is able to replace the boat title, she can complete the sale of the boat to you.

Titling the Boat in Your Name

Under Missouri law, all privately owned motorboats, as well as sailboats over 12 feet long, must be titled and registered. You will have 60 days from the day you buy the boat to obtain a title in your own name. Fill out Form 93, titled Application for Missouri Boat/Vessel or Outboard Motor Title And Registration.

Form 93 requires you to input identifying information about yourself, the vessel and any lienholders. Then you must date and sign the form under penalty of perjury. This means you are certifying that the information is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.

You will submit the signed application to a Missouri license office. You'll also need to submit a few other documents to prove that you bought the boat. These include: the prior owner's certificate of title signed by her to assign ownership to you.

You also must submit proof that you paid personal property tax on the boat, unless it is exempt. This could be a paid personal property tax receipt listing the boat or a letter from the county tax collector stating that the taxes have been paid. Alternatively, if the boat is exempt, you must submit a statement of non-assessment from the county tax collector or assessor. If liens were released as a part of the sale, submit a notarized lien release as well.

Finally, you will pay a state sales tax of 4.225 percent plus any local sales tax (from the place you live) on the purchase price of the boat and outboard motor, if any. You'll also owe the boat title fee, the boat registration fee, the outboard motor title fee, the outboard motor registration fee and any processing fees.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Spengler splits her time between French Basque Country and California.