How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Boat

by S.F. Heron

A bill of sale documents the sale or transfer of a boat from the seller to the buyer, and serves as the buyer's proof of ownership. Write a watertight bill of sale by answering the following questions: who is buying and selling the boat, which boat is being sold, what the price is and how the boat is being sold, for example, with warranties or simply "as is." You'll be providing the bill to your state's boating license agency to get a title and registration for your boat as well as your own insurance agency for insuring the vessel.

Start With a Template

Instead of creating the bill of sale from scratch, start with a template. You can download a boat bill of sale from a legal or business forms website – just check that the template is compatible with the laws of your state before you begin. Write the current date and complete buyer address and driver's license information under the heading "Buyer." The seller's address and driver's license information should be listed under the "Seller" heading.

Identify the Boat

Identify the type and exact size of the boat i.e. the year, make, model, serial number and any unique markings under the heading "Description." Also describe any additional features being included in the sale in this section. For example, if the sale includes a boat trailer, this information should be added. Any other major equipment should be included under the description heading.

Include Registration Information

List the complete registration number for the vessel under the "Registration information" heading on your document. You'll find this number on the boat's title documents and printed on the hull of the boat. Make sure the numbers match precisely or you may run into difficulties when you try to register the boat in your name.

Mention the Money

Identify the sales price clearly under a separate heading for "Price." The price should include the total cost of the vessel. This section of the boat bill of sale can be broken down into components if a trailer or other equipment are being sold. It's important to get this section right as you'll need it for future tax purposes.

Write an Optional As-Is Clause

You have the option of transferring the boat "as is" or with express warranties regarding the condition of the vessel. Be sure to specify whether the boat is sold with or without a guarantee and stipulate any modifications that the seller will be making to the vessel.

Sign and Notarize

Allow space on the bill of sale for both the buyer and seller to provide complete signatures and dates of signature. Leave additional room to allow for notarized stamps if required by your state.