Please select your home edition
Maritimo 2023 S-Series LEADERBOARD

Selling a boat this year? Don't forget these 4 critical paperwork tasks

by BoatUS 5 Mar 09:32 PST

The spring boat-buying season is upon us, much to the delight of boat sellers, some of whom may be eager to unload their boats after racking up off-season storage bills.

However, when a boat is sold, sellers need to understand - sometimes for safety reasons - that they aren't in the free and clear until critical paperwork is done right. Here is a seller's paperwork to-do list from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).

  1. Cancel the boat insurance policy: This is the first thing most boat sellers do right. It's super important to cancel a vessel's insurance policy once the sale goes through. Not doing so potentially adds unnecessary risk and potential liability to the seller. Also don't forget to cancel any automatic bank payments that were set up to pay policy premiums.

  2. Release the DSC-VHF radio's Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number: If you're selling your boat, remember a key fact about MMSI's: Once issued, the MMSI number stays assigned to the boat (installed VHF radios). The emergency contact information, among other data, requires updating. If a seller forgets to release the MMSI number to the buyer, a future mayday distress aboard the vessel could delay first responders. BoatUS members can release or update an MMSI for no cost at

  3. Have an EPIRB aboard? A seller will need to ensure an Emergency Position-Indicating Rescue Beacon (EPIRB) attached to the boat is updated with new owner contact information. To update an EPIRB go to NOAA's Beacon Registration site and change the status to "Sold/Transferred." Once this happens, the new owner can register the beacon in their name with their own emergency contact information.

  4. Contact the state boat registration agency to advise them the boat was sold: Sending a letter by mail or email to your state's boat registration agency acknowledging the boat has a new owner may help prevent future misdirected registration renewal notices. In some states it is a legal requirement to report any change in vessel ownership status within a certain number of days with the name of the purchaser, purchase price and date of sale.

To help make buying and selling easier, BoatUS offers a free Boat Buying and Selling Guide and other helpful resources at

Related Articles

Are boaters doing better when it comes to safety?
Just-released U.S. Coast Guard stats show decrease in fatalities, accidents, but problems persist ?The recently released U.S. Coast Guard 2023 Recreational Boating Statistics shows some good news on the boating safety front, with fatalities falling by 11.3% to 564 Posted on 15 Jun
BoatUS Foundation opens Grant Program
For $7.5M effort to remove ADVs from nation's waterways From June 10-August 12, organizations are invited to apply for grant funding to clean up their local waterways Posted on 10 Jun
‘Extremely active' 2024 hurricane season expected
BoatUS helps boaters prepare Colorado State University's (CSU) Tropical Weather and Climate researchers, long known for their annual hurricane forecasts, are calling for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season to be "extremely active". Posted on 30 May
Boating season begins on Lake Texoma
Prepare with affordable 3-hour powerboat training courses It's boating season on Lake Texoma, and as boaters return for a summer of fun on the water, are they ready? It's important for every boat operator to be confident behind the helm. Posted on 25 May
BoatUS Spring Commissioning Checklist
Be sure to follow all manufacturer recommendations for your specific boat, engine and accessories The recreational boat owner's advocacy, services and safety group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), has help for all types of boat owners with its highly popular Spring Commissioning Checklist. Posted on 3 May
7 practical boating tips for a safe, fun summer
Ahead of National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24 How can you make your summer on the water a safe one? With National Safe Boating Week coming up May 18-24, the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water offers seven practical tips to keep you boating safely all summer long. Posted on 1 May
Affordable 3-hour powerboat training courses
TowBoatUS Jordan Lake, N.C. make it easy to boost confidence behind the helm If you've always wanted to try boating, or you're a safe boat operator with a desire to grow your powerboat-handling skills or give yourself a boost of confidence behind the helm, now is your chance. Posted on 24 Apr
BoatUS offers for Earth Day
Does your boat 'say' what it's supposed to? Every new boat comes adorned with a plethora of warning labels for just about everything from obvious hazards to what a tow pylon should be used for. Posted on 17 Apr
Boating season begins on Lake Hartwell
TowBoatUS Lake Hartwell and BoatUS Foundation make it easy to improve boat-handling skills Springtime on Lake Hartwell means recreational boats begin to make their annual migration from winter hibernation on the hard to launching into the lake, bringing to mind the importance for every boat operator to be confident behind the helm Posted on 12 Apr
Free online course meets Brianna's Law Requirement
Boating Safety Course can help state residents meet mandatory boating safety education deadline Brianna's Law was named after Brianna Lieneck, an 11-year-old Long Island girl who was killed in a 2005 boating accident. Posted on 19 Mar
Maritimo 2023 S-Series FOOTER