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Selling A Boat This Year?

Don't Forget These Four Critical Paperwork Tasks

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 BoatUS.com/MMSI.

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 BoatUS.com/Guide.


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